horses racing

Rested Horses Win Races

I first heard this quote when I was starting out in business.  At the time I was about a year into running my own business and had bought into the cultural brainwash that making a success of working for yourself meant ‘being on’ 24/7. 

In truth, the concept that I could be more successful by taking regular rest and rejuvenation was both a revelation to me and a challenge.  Or perhaps it was the other way round, it was a challenge to me to take a break and a revelation to me after I took it! 

It was just a long weekend, a bank holiday weekend, but I decided to do that experiment, to see what difference it would make to my work if I took some time out.  I shut down the computer and did nothing work-related for three whole days.  I slept late, hung out with my husband and kids, watched some tv and caught up with some reading. 

The result? I loved it!  And I think it was what saved my business at that stage.  I came back refreshed, mentally clearer, more enthused and ready for action! 

And while life still gets out of whack and I can still overdo the work-thing, I’ve never really forgotten about the importance of rest and relaxation and this coming holiday weekend in Ireland is a timely moment to share the importance of this with you too.

There’s lots of research evidence to support this.  The Centre for Creative Leadership regularly writes about the importance of rest and relaxation and sleep in order for us to be able to lead well.  Martin Walker had a runaway best seller a few Christmases ago with his book Why We Sleep

Rest and relaxation has been demonstrated to restore our energy, repair our bodies, calm our thoughts and enhance our mood – what’s not to like?!

And if, like me, you run your own business, or simply have multiple things that you are responsible for in your life, from the work you deliver to the people you lead to the families you support and the friends you lift up, regular R&R helps reduce any potential overwhelm in all of that and reduces resistance to the things we know we have to do and want to do that also require an investment of our energy.

After 16 months of a pandemic experience, with lockdown in place for much of it, we have perhaps fallen out of the habit of a regular rhythm of rest and relaxation and intentional breaks.  When there’s been no where to go and no one to go there with, we might as well just work right?  Wrong!

Never has it been more important to take a break, rest and rejuvenate and recharge those batteries.

So what would play and rest look like for you this coming holiday weekend? 

Is it time in nature, getting out for a hike (Carrauntoohil anyone?!), time in the garden, a bbq with some close friends or family (within guidelines of course), a movie marathon, a take away meal, catching up with friends or reading, crafting, starting a hobby or picking up one you’ve neglected?  What would you love?

Make a commitment to yourself to take some R&R this June Bank Holiday Weekend.  I’m getting this blog out to you in good time for you to think about it, block out the time in your diary and make a date with yourself or with some people you’d love to spend some downtime with. 

Get that fun time scheduled and rest assured.  In that process, you are readying yourself to win some races! 

Photo Credit: Pietro Mattia via Unsplash