One reason why people don’t prioritise rest and relaxation is that they struggle to see the value in it. Rather than seeing relaxation as an investment, perfectionists might see it as a ‘distraction’ from their goals. Instead, they would rather remain productive and in active pursuit of their high standards. The problem with this view is that it’s very short sighted. In the long run, unmanaged stress can lead to decreased motivation and burnout, which ultimately takes us further from our goals.
Taking time out allows us to recharge, so that we can perform at our best when we need to. In this way, it actually promotes high performance. To use a metaphor, think about the way a car functions. If you run a car continuously, without filling up the fuel, changing the tyres, or servicing the engine, it would eventually break down. If you take the time to maintain the car, it will ultimately get you from A to B faster and more efficiently. Our bodies and minds are no different, they need to be looked after in order to perform well.
Relaxation helps the body regain balance and is linked to other benefits, including:
- Enhanced creativity
- Better sleep
- Lowered fatigue
- Improved immune functioning (less prone to illness)
- Improved concentration and focus
- Improved learning and memory function
- Improved mood
- Clarity in decision making
- Reduced muscle tension and chronic pain
- Reduced blood pressure
- Reduced anger and frustration
- Feelings of wellbeing
As you can see, that’s a long list of reasons to prioritise rest and relaxation! All of these benefits have flow on effects to performance, whether it be at work, in your studies, or on the sporting field. So next time you hesitate at the idea of taking some time out for yourself, remember that you’re making a long-term investment. Returning to the car metaphor, you need to fill up your tank if you want to complete the journey in good time.