With bills to pay, mouths to feed, and a hasty society to please, it feels like there is a growing expectation to engage in productive pursuits the majority of the time. Do you feel a paralysing sense of guilt the moment you find yourself not busy? Do you measure your self-worth against how much time and energy you invest into getting things done daily? Most people will answer these questions with a lethargic “yes”. Participating in the rat race to keep up to speed with our ever-demanding society can be exhausting, debilitating, and potentially detrimental to our health and well-being. The answer may lie in slower living in a fast-paced world
The catalyst behind the speed at which the world moves today is technology. While we appreciate the convenience and immediate solutions it provides us, it places unreasonable expectations on the capacity of human beings to deliver 24/7.
As our self-care plummets, as a result, technology is looking increasingly disenchanting. The masses feel a high degree of urgency where everyone’s everyday lives feel too rushed even to grasp. It begs the question: is instant gratification costing us our long-term health and peace?
The general aim for most workplaces is to find a means of expediting all work processes and activities while simultaneously delivering value. This is, in fact, counterproductive in the distant future. Producing something of value dwindles so long as a toxic culture that glorifies long working hours and deems time off as laziness persists within the work environment. At this point, allocating time for rest and activities that recharge one’s spirit feels like something out of a Utopian novel. However, do not feel dismayed; you can do something to correct this, and it starts by changing the narrative around rest and recovery.
Since the advent of faster living, we have been indoctrinated to believe you are failing if you are not busy. Rest is for the weak and is synonymous with laziness. Your triumphs depend solely on how many hours you are willing to put in and the sacrifices you are prepared to make. This story has been damaging and continues to damage. It is difficult to unlearn a story that has been repeatedly retold and deeply ingrained within us. But it is possible.
Shift your views
A good starting point is shifting negative views on rest to positive ones. For example, instead of saying: “rest impedes my chances at succeeding”, you can flip it to the inverse and say: “rest is productive and ensures that I not only do my job, but I do it with great success”. Writing it down or expressing it aloud to yourself and others – regularly – will slowly alter your thought patterns and increase your ability to invite more rest into your life effortlessly.
They say that moving is better than standing still, except this belief requires some tweaking. By all means, you should avoid entertaining stagnancy for too long. However, it would be best if you assigned the time to stand still to see where you are going and what you need to do to get there in a way that does not come at the expense of your well-being; then, your attempt at moving poses some issues. The current structure in which the man-made world operates entirely defies the natural world. We are amid a patient famine, with Mother Nature being our most significant source of understanding and relief to overcome it.
Reconnect with Mother Nature
Considering that society’s fast-moving approach to life is flawed, it seems natural to turn to Mother Nature for a lesson or two on adopting the opposite. We should assume her pace and method of getting by, which is slow and flowing, respectively. She teaches us the value found in the in-between stage of where you are now and where you want to be.
She allows things to unfold without force or resistance, and in doing so, everything is still accomplished; the outcomes are never sullied. In practising patience, only good grows from it. To truly grasp Mother Nature’s wisdom, we must spend time with her.
Accessing nature in some way, as often as possible, opens the floodgates of inner renewal. Go outside, whether it be in your garden or a nearby park. Immerse yourself fully in the process of disconnecting from work. Spending time in nature is not exclusive to forest bathing, though. If you cannot visit nature every day, bring nature inside. Consider housing some plants with foliage of different shades of green in your home and office. Studies have found that indoor plants may reduce stress levels, accelerate productivity, and improve focus. Additionally, you can trade in a workout at the gym for one outdoors or organise a group hike with some friends to behold the beauty of a green space of your choice. Nature is available to us at any time at our behest; we must prioritise it and carve out the time.
The collective struggle against a hustle-inclined culture raises the need to re-evaluate humankind’s priorities. The idea that rest is unproductive is a fallacy, and hopefully, carrying out regular practices that reconnect us with nature and ourselves will drive this misconception into oblivion. Rest is conducive to, and will optimise, work performance and overall well-being. For this reason, you must pursue it unapologetically. Work and breaks are not mutually exclusive and can co-exist for the greater good of all people. May the world abolish its harmful commitment to operating in the fast lane and work towards the revival of slower living in our fast-paced world.
Do you feel guilty when you are not busy?Are you in favour of slower living in a fast-paced world? Can you see yourself shifting your views and reconnecting with Mother Nature?Please let us know what you think in the comments below.
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