Rest between sets.
A few days ago, I hit a personal best for my front squat one rep max. The set right before, I failed and dropped the bar. I was about to dive back in when one of my coaches stopped me and told me to rest for a minute or two before trying again.
That little bit of rest made all the difference.
When I decided to commit to building out my coaching and creative practices, I immediately had a panic attack. My body was quick to remind me of the previous times I had built out professional practices and the stress it had caused.
This time needed to be different. I have hospitalized myself once from overwork and can’t afford to put my body through anything close to that again. What’s more, I am simply tired of wearing myself out in the service of what I’m making.
It’s unsustainable and not the point of pursuing a creative way of living.
As I settled into the work I had set out to do, I discovered that I was most anxious about the moments of rest I had built into my schedule. Everything from going to the gym to taking a walk at lunchtime to reading in the evenings.
Taking rest always felt like I wasn’t working hard enough.
As someone who seeks out the stories of other creators and creatives, I am aware that I sometimes feed the narrative that good work is overwork. It’s staying up until the wee hours of the morning, getting very little sleep, and then working a day job that’s a grind to get by.
While this may very well work for some people, I know this doesn’t work for me. Still, I worry that if I’m not going all out in this way that I am somehow setting myself up for failure.
In an attempt to sidestep my old behaviours and beliefs around how I approach my work, I am paying attention to what I’m checking for to know if it’s time to work or to rest. Which requires a certain amount of faith—that I’ll know what to do when the time comes—that was not available to me in previous iterations of my professional practice.
I am hoping that the right amount of rest at the right time will make all the difference.
So, what are you checking for to know if it’s time to work or to rest?