Permission Slip to Rest and Give Yourself a Break

Aaron McHugh

I want to share what I’ve learned about rest.

Resting and being lazy is not the same. People like us can be pretty driven and focused. We can quickly feel like we are lazy when we stop down to rest or take a break. I used to think rest was for other people-tired people, older people, and weaker people. I thought, “I’ll rest after I finish this (project or task)”

The problem was that my list never shortened enough for me to feel like I could rest. So I kept driving hard instead.

Permission slip:

This email is your permission slip to cut yourself some slack. Take a break. Take a day off. Skip school. Skip work. Wear flip-flops. Punt on a meeting. Say No. Don’t go. Stay home. Call in sick. Be late. Take a nap. Do half as much and call it good enough. Tell “perfection” to take a flying leap. Go on a two-week vacation. Use your floating holiday tomorrow. See a movie at lunchtime. Stay in your jammies all day. Order pizza. Watch Netflix all day. Sleep in.

Schedule a meeting in your work calendar titled “Strategy planning” and go take a walk outside. Take a nap in your car at lunch. Let the kids do their laundry. Order takeout. Cancel plans with friends. Don’t attend the school fundraiser. Turn your phone off and let it go to voicemail. Go off the grid. Catch your breath. Be kind to yourself and say “enough, I’m tired.”

If you wrote yourself a permission slip for rest, what would it say?

Where do you need to let go? Drop? Quit? Pause?

Go ahead and write down a few things. It will be insightful to read the unedited list of stuff you’d like to shake free.

I uncovered the culprit behind my fierce alliance with driving hard. I had a core belief that I couldn’t rest because the seemingly important stuff wouldn’t ever get done.

Here’s a big idea, everything shouldn’t get done. Only the vital few and the rest may never make it on your list. Before we get to determine what is and isn’t important, you first have to permit yourself to let a few things go.

Once you allow yourself to rest, then you will be a lot more gracious with yourself in making the time to relax.

Micro rests have become my secret weapon as a regenerative energy source. Here are a few examples of how I’ve learned to Micro rest.

  • Take a 15-30 minute nap most afternoons
  • Take a walk outside between conference calls
  • Make a cup of coffee out of the trunk of my car at lunch
  • Schedule 15-30 minute blocks in my calendar between meetings

The objective is to do nothing during these Micro rest blocks. The goal isn’t to use these slivers of time to get more stuff done. People like us need our engines to slow down from living at high RPM’s and slow to an idle.

Trust me; you could use some rest. You’ve earned it.

Keep going,

Aaron