If you think that, by pushing yourself to complete your work or a piece of art, even if you are tired, would make you a diligent person, well think again.
When your mind is blocked, it is your body's way of telling you that you need to rest or sleep, even a nap for just 15 minutes.
I never thought I would say this, but for someone who supports the idea of a balanced work-play life, I find myself not allowing myself to rest.
I wasn't aware of this at first until recently, when my schedule became tight and I started getting active in the community. Mind you, I even have a day job to juggle as well. Everyday, I would try to complete my tasks at work as much as possible (which seems endless), go home, have dinner and attend to my chores, and then start my other work. Whether I am doing my freelance projects, blogging or crafting, I am basically working day and night.
I moon light. Then I would go to bed.
At first I was happy; the term "busy is good" means you know you have an active lifestyle. I thought "Okay, yes I have an active lifestyle plus I enjoy what I do," but as I go on this way, I started to forget about the most important thing in my life: Me. (which sums up for rest, self-pampering, etc.)
It came to a point that, even when I am going to bed, my mind is filled with thoughts, "I have to do this tomorrow.... pay the bills... don't forget your meeting... reply an email..." it goes on and on and on...
I love what I do, yes, but I was not kind to myself at all because I was not giving myself the chance to rest.
Suddenly, sleep or even just a nap has suddenly became precious to me. I have learned that, no matter how much you fuss & rush to complete your tasks, it never ends. It will never end until you say stop. And when you try to complete it when you are tired, in a long run this habit snowballs.
I find that, there's just no way to force yourself to complete something when you are completely drained out.
Sadly, in Asian culture, we don't encourage the idea of resting during our lunch break at work. The phones will never stop ringing, and as long as you are at your workstation, that means you are still plugged in to work-mode. So, we get out of the office for lunch, but the hustle and bustle outside won't do any justice either for us to completely rest our minds.
Up until now, I am still trying to cope with the night & day tasks. Unfortunately, it is end year and that means plenty of projects lined up. BUT, through this experience, I did learn something, which is how to allow your mind and yourself to take a break.
1. Literally walk away or sit away from your desk to avoid anything that will remind you of things to do. Come back to it 5-10 minutes later.
2. Tired after work? Give yourself a break by plonking on the sofa and watch some TV even if it makes you lazy. Sometimes, lazy is good, trust me because I am quite anal myself especially when I see the house messy when I get home.
3. Long shower with music playing and sing along with it. I can't explain why, but surprisingly this really works. Maybe it is because being alone in the bathroom allows you to step away from reality for a bit. Music is therapeutic and water has a natural calming effect, which it is good to practice cleansing with salt and water or with aromatherapy body wash every once in awhile to de-stress.
4. When you are not in the mood to do your work, then don't. Step away from it and don't force yourself to work on something when you are not feeling it. Forcing yourself to complete your tasks when you are not inspired can cause mistakes or unable to deliver good results. Especially if it is a piece of artwork; never ever paint or craft when you are tired.
5. Meditation, quiet time, reflection, silence, stillness, whatever you want to call it- this truly helps a lot. I regret to say that I have stopped this method for awhile, BUT I am going back into it. All you need is to be quiet and still with your eyes closed for awhile. You don't have to block out any thoughts, noise or sound; they are there on their own, and you just need to watch it pass by like a passerby.
6. Finally, this is important: Sleep. I have learned my lesson that sleep is important. If you need a nap, then do it. I was never a nap-person ever since I was a kid, and that affected me a lot because now that I am older, I find it difficult to fall asleep. But I am trying very hard to break free from that pattern and trying to get good shut eye as often as I can. Of course, it helps with going to bed early (ironically, I am a night person, and I get ideas when I stay up. Haha!)
Have a good weekend.