Deadlines: The latest time or date by which something should be completed-compliments of Merriam Webster.
Completion often translates to accomplishment, but with so much to do and so little time to ourselves–what are we really accomplishing? Is it worth it? And do we really rest after we meet our current deadline or are we already dreading the next one?
An accumulation of time constraints can cause our adrenals (the little glands above our kidneys that regulate stress) to work on over drive. This can physically manifest into feelings of lifelessness.
Recently the little guys hanging out above my kidneys have some serious beef with my schedule. As a result I have found myself fatigued and moody. I have taken more rest days then my training program allotted for, reacted in deeper frustration towards traffic, and created problems that did not exist within my relationships.
Sharing this reflection (and apology) with one of my victims: my relationship-iron-man boyfriend, he posed the following question “How often do you think each day?”
It was a trick question that I naturally answered with “most of the day.” Based on a lecture from my honey’s former professor, on average people think for five minutes each day.
Stop and take a moment to consider the last time you sat down or laid down and simply pondered. No brownie points if you were plugged into any medium of distraction-laptops, TV’s, phone, book–nada.
When I considered my apparent lack of thinking, I pulled out my planner to consider what time I even had to think. Mind you it is not unusual for me to have a one day weekend, but this month’s schedule looked a bit off. I started counting workdays. 1,7,12….20 days of work in a row by Wednesday in addition to training for a half marathon.
Am I crazy or am I crazy?
With this observation came the epiphany (better late than never) that we–yes ALL of us- need moments to ourselves to simply think and be without the burden of an upcoming deadline or commitment later that day. As my once again incredible relationship-iron-man boyfriend has kindly reminded me–I am not super human as much as I may want to be. Then he tells me sweet dreamy things that make up for me not being super human. Yet.
Bottom line, resting is a concept that society has forgotten and devalued. Resting to regather our strength and mental juju is different than being lazy. Most people in Western society cannot fully absorb this though it is evident in all walks of life.
The demands on students and working adults are growing. At this point one internship, working, and studying is hardly a guarantee at a job after college. The financial burden of success is daunting and discouraging as is the divorce rate. And the result of this busy trend is broken families, depression, mental illness, a rise in sickness such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, oh-and thriving pharmaceutical companies and many wealthy doctors that advocate adderall for children that cannot sit still (wait that isn’t normal?) and overworked students who cannot focus. Are the magic light bulbs appearing or do we need to get you a pill for that too?
Recalling conversations at work I remembered a client and former Microsoft employee telling me he enjoyed his new job because at Microsoft he had been accustomed to working past 7pm at night and on weekends.
Speaking to my mother about my 20-day work trend her response was “Isn’t that a good thing?”
I would argue that no, it is not a good thing. I would venture as far as to say that it is unhealthy.
In the words of my idol, cancer thriver and wellness activist Kris Carr,
“The greatest ideas and the greatest aha’s come from moments when I am not working…The downtime is really when you’re going to find the idea that makes you your first million… If we’re back to back to back with our programs, problems, time commitments you bleed yourself dry. ”
Meditate on this juicy wisdom and stay tuned for more on how to “let it go.”