Dealing with productivity guilt

Moral of the story: we should all give ourselves some grace.

Have you ever felt a rush of satisfaction after finishing a task? You’re not alone. The act of completing tasks and goals causes your brain to release dopamine, one of the feel-good chemicals, which in turn motivates you to work harder and keep going.

While this feeling is great after a productive work day, what about those days where you rest all day and then feel bad for resting? Isn’t rest supposed to be restorative and help you recharge so you can be more productive later on? Why do we sometimes feel guilty about rest?

The balance between rest and productivity

The other day I found myself feeling guilty because my work was moving slower than I expected. Then I remembered the bigger picture- that it is summer, and some people are literally in Europe right now. That didn’t help. But I realized that it wasn’t helping to be so hard on myself. And stressing over aspects of work outside of my control was not doing anything either.

Today, I came home early and then proceeded to take a two-hour nap. It was the kind of nap without any dreams but when you wake up, you’re wondering what day it is. I immediately felt guilty for sleeping longer than I had anticipated. But this was my body’s way of telling me that I needed that rest.

Listening to your body

The next time you feel guilty for either not working enough or for resting, think about how both are necessary for well-being. You cannot have all of one without the other. Give yourself some grace for doing the best you can. Especially now.

Your self-care cup may have changed

Think about the ways your life has been impacted by the pandemic. I know we hear the word “unprecedented” too much, so I’ll find another word from the thesaurus. We are navigating bizarre times. Your previous coping mechanisms may not be working the way they used to. Your 100 percent effort may look different day-to-day. With these in mind, applaud yourself for surviving this pandemic in the best way you can, and think about how you can support yourself going forward.

My feelings about taking a long nap inspired this post. Be kind to yourself. Go take a nap without any shame ❤

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