As a mindfulness teacher I often hear people saying that they struggle to find the time in the day to nurture themselves, or just simply take time out to rest and recuperate. It’s as if they are saying that they are constantly on the go, unable to stop, and demands on their time are out of their control. What is more, when they do eventually take a break, they continue to be busy, for example by engaging with social media or making telephone calls, rather than taking the time for a proper rest.
Such an approach to life is sadly not uncommon and may eventually lead to stress, exhaustion or even burn-out.
So how do we get off this incessant conveyer belt of constant doing?
From a mindfulness perspective, our health and well-being are our first priority. Loving-kindness meditation practice, for example, teaches us to be much more of aware when we working ourselves too hard, and to learn to go more easy on ourselves.
This does not mean we neglect what needs to be done. What it does mean is that, as we learn to be kinder to ourselves, we begin to strike a healthier balance between activity and non-activity.
With regular practice, we may find that we are taking the breaks that we need and become more forgiving of ourselves when we fall short of our own expectations. This can often lead to more meaningful engagement with our work life, enhanced energy and concentration, and ultimately, better productivity. We all know that we are at our best when we are rested and contented.