Stop the hustle. Sometimes the best thing you can do to succeed is nothing

If you send a text message to the top five people in your contacts list asking them how they are doing, I guarantee at least four will reply using the word ‘busy’. It’s highly unlikely that anyone will reply complaining of boredom. I’m a member of The Busy Club myself. But I’ve decided I want to rescind my membership.
My body has not been happy with me recently. Mostly we have a good relationship but occasionally we veer into irritable sibling territory. The source of contention: divergent interests. My mind wants me to leap ahead with #allthegoals now now now but my body is demanding rest. It does so through what I’ve come to recognise as its fuse-breakers: skin breakouts, a cold sore (gross) and waning energy levels. These are red flags for me to stop and rest; if I ignore them, my life comes to a grinding halt and may refuse to restart for quite some time. You would think, then, that it would be a good idea for me to give my body what it needs.

I’m just not very good at doing nothing. I will sometimes allow myself an afternoon nap at weekends, but I’ve got so much on my plate right now, that doing something “unproductive” such as colouring- in or watching a DVD feels like time wasted (nope, I’m not a Capricorn – I’m actually a Scorpio). Relaxation, I tell my body, is something best done when I’ve done all the other stuff I need to get done. Which is about as likely to happen as Taylor Swift’s next album containing zero references to Calvin Harris. When you’re juggling multiple freelance projects, a blog, social media channels, not to mention a gym program, friendships and a relationship, there is never nothing to be done. Few people, I suspect, would regard that as a problem... and THAT is the problem.
We’ve started to glorify busyness as if it were the default setting instead of just a semi-regular, short-term event. If you’re not crazy-busy and stressed out, there’s something wrong with you. Wait, what?
We’re all about the ‘hustle’ and the ‘slay’. It feels like every second social media post is affirming that the only way to succeed is to kickarse tirelessly, striving ahead with everythingeverything alldayeveryday. I saw a post this morning that declared “now is the new later”. Instead of motivating me, it only made me feel really, really tired.
That’s the thing. All this running around doing everything at once and being everything at once – while looking at our phones – is exhausting. Plus, it’s counter-productive. We can’t excel at anything if we’re trying to do everything. Even the ocean is still sometimes.
We seem to have forgotten that we’re human BEINGS not human DOINGS. It’s not hustling that helps us learn and grow – that is what happens in self-reflection. 
I’d like to propose a radical alternative to all this busyness: hopping out of the driver’s seat regularly, and checking into a rest stop.
Taking time out to relax has the practical benefit of not only allowing the body to recharge, in preparation for your next adventures, but also allows you to take your emotional temperature. Just like a pilot checking in with air traffic control to make sure they’re still on track for their destination, self-reflection helps you think about where you’re heading, as well as the challenges you’re wrestling with and your overall life-satisfaction levels. 
It also creates space for the Universe to step in and help you. Arianna Huffington wrote: “Life is a dance between making it happen, and letting it happen.” Dreams and goals are not meant to be a constant struggle. Mostly, they’re a partnership with the Universe – 50 per cent listening and 50 per cent action. If you’re hustling hustling hustling but making no progress, maybe you’re holding on too tightly to how you think things should be; the Universe may have a better idea for you, if you stop and give it room to make that happen.
I stumbled upon a great quote recently (because let’s not forget that social media can be really helpful!) that has reinforced my suspicion that I need to make a point of stopping regularly instead of constantly surging forward. It’s about bringing back a greater sense of balance, for the sake of my body and my soul. The quote was: “Grace will take you places hustlin’ can’t.”
I love this. Grace is what happens when you stop to find stillness amid the haste – and instead of feeling guilty, you feel fulfilled. Grace is when you listen to your body and give it what it needs – not kombucha or trendy foods, but simple, good-quality nutrition, exercise and sleep. Grace is being present in this moment instead of focusing on what’s coming up. Grace is about stepping out of struggle and surrendering to the Universe, instead of trying to control everything. Grace is checking out of The Busy Club.
Grace is what I’m doing right now. Curled up on the couch on a Sunday afternoon in my pyjamas with a blanket, watching Pride and Prejudice. Aaaaaand writing this post while simultaneously replying to Instagram comments, admittedly. Hey, I’m a slow learner.

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