Humans are designed to work. Humans are designed to rest. There is an optimum cycle, and being constantly ‘on’ and working is not healthy. It is also not very productive. A recent article in Inc. Magazine called working more than 40 hours per week ‘useless.’ I know very few people who truly believe that. We (Americans at least) are a culture of workaholics and looking busy is a badge of honor. Aren’t you tired?
Rest does not look the same for everyone, though there are some minimums (like sleeping at night for example). For those who do physical work all day long, sitting on a deck, reading a book may be the best medicine.
I tell my kids that my job is to delete and reply to email, so rest for me looks more like:
- Mowing the lawn – yes, making straight lines is a ‘thing’ for me 🙂
- Wrestling with my kids
- Bike rides
- Playing guitar
- Playing basketball
- Watching a movie with my wife (*added post-publish)
I see a theme of play for me. Naps just make me stay up too late at night. What does rest look like for you? Can you really disconnect from work?
Photo by Dan Cederholm
I consciously know that I need to disconnect from work, but my subconscious doesn’t give up easily. Naps don’t do it for me either. I prefer to read books, walk or hike, play board games with my wife, and make meals and eat with my wife. Sometimes my wife and I will watch an episode of something or part of a movie, but we spend little time in front of the TV.
Adding the “watch a movie with my wife” to my list, as that is one of our methods as well. It is rare to have time, but restful when we make time. Heading to the 4th Bourne movie this Friday actually!
Rest for me is sometimes like a fair-weather friend. Variables can factor into the day that affect the quantity and/or quality of rest. With that being said, I prefer being outdoors or at least indoors with all of the windows open. Yard games, frisbee golf, badmitton, baseball practice, bike riding are all great hour plus activities I like to do with my family. Ping-pong, playing a board game(with sports on TV in the background), attempting a musical instrument are also fun and relaxing. I also like to to read, meditate, contemplate, pray, and have some real quiet time. Some of those actually get accomplished while mowing the lawn. Day trips or an afternoon or evening with just my wife is also awesome no matter where we go.
Those are some great additions to my “should do” list, Ken! And good point, that mental state definitely affects the quality of the rest.
Your mention of Inc. Magazine reminded me of another Inc. article, Stop Working More Than 40 Hours a Week. In many European countries, it’s illegal to work over 48 hours a week. I’d rather give individuals the freedom to work as long as they want, but it’s interesting to consider the ramifications of a shorter workweek.
The Huffington Post published a Countries With The Longest And Shortest Workdays infographic showing the number of paid and unpaid hours worked each day in several countries.
Interesting! I think some of my “rest” activities might count as unpaid work in the Huffington Post example.
Friday is almost always popcorn night for us! A good movie or TV program works well.