When I lived in New York, I worked as a pastry sous chef at a busy restaurant on Central Park South. There was no “balance.”
It was get up, go to work, unwind, work, and then do it all again. Sometimes this cycle went on without a break for weeks at a time.I know this isn’t uncommon. I know this is what makes or breaks people in cities like NYC.
But, I also know I was incredibly unhappy and unfulfilled. And I always felt like I wasn't doing enough. If I was working 90 hours a week, the other sous chef who I looked up to was working 110. I didn’t like the person I was becoming. I didn't like the friend, coworker, or manager I was being.
If I did get a day off, I would spend it wandering around the city full of anxiety and end it by binging on food in my room in an attempt to cope (this was also done due to under-eating during the weekdays). And at the end of all this, I still didn't feel like I was doing enough.
This wasn’t the only time this pattern showed up in my life. Feeling like I wasn’t doing enough, wasn’t pushing enough, couldn’t BE enough has seeped out in big and small ways throughout my existence.
When you constantly live with that feeling of not being “enough” it can be hard to courageously say yes to rest. It can seem like the best choice is to push harder and prove more in order to meet the high expectations of your mind and society.
The reality is, exhaustion is a slippery slope. There are absolutely times when the push is needed, but when you wake up day in and day out unhappy with your life; is the exhaustion really worth it?
It takes courage to say enough is enough. It takes courage to realize that maybe someone else CAN do more than you. Or to consider that maybe that someone else is doing more than you, but they're miserable and not showing it.
I understand it takes privilege to have the choice to rest. Not all of us in this country can afford to do that. And for that reason, it's even more important for those of us with that privilege to courageously step forward and say enough is enough, to change the societal norms of overworking, overstressing, burning out, always doing more, to create healthy boundaries, to CHOOSE rest.
Put down your phone. Say “NO." Realize that some days your best has to be enough. The rat race is real. There will ALWAYS be more to do, more to get done.
But at what cost? Where do your values lie? When do you prioritize yourself? Are you pushing because it is needed or are you pushing in an attempt to prove your worth?
This post was originally posted on A Life Nourished by Kaitlin Bolt-Lovett. It has been edited slightly for this site. You can visit the original post here.
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