I was SUPER productive today. Like so super productive.
I did all the boring stuff. I emptied the dishwasher, did the dishes in the sink, killed the house centipede hiding in my dishes, started laundry, cleaned the bathroom, made more cleaner, swept all the floors, I mopped the whole house three times (it was just that dirty), taught yoga, AND kept my kid alive. I did it ALL.
It was great. I'm on a productivity high at the moment, but I know from past experience that I will crash tomorrow. Chances are high that I will suffer a HUGE productivity hangover.
As great as productive days can be, here's the danger—our brains love to use them against us.
On those listless post-productivity days when it's difficult to summon the strength to even put on our other sock, our brains use super productive days as shining examples of what we're capable of, but not in a good way.
Our brains like to use these days as evidence that just because we did that once we should be able to work like that all the time. "See? You were productive yesterday. You should be able to be productive today too." "See? You can be productive. You're just being lazy now." So instead of resting, you just spend the day feeling guilty for not living up to your potential.
According to yoga teachings, there are six attributes of the universal and one of them is Spanda which means pulsation or vibration. It's expansion and contraction, inhale and exhale, tide in and tide out, sun up and sun down. It's a rhythm.
I have lived long enough now to know that a productive day will be followed by an unproductive day. I will be spent. This isn't a problem; it's a rhythm, and it's a rhythm I'm not going to feel bad about anymore. I need to learn to rest.
My ADHD coach, Kristen Carder, wrote a workbook on How to Rest that I'm working through, and as it turns out, I'm shit at resting.
Here are some of the ways I am terrible at resting:
-When I have unexpected free time, I tell myself I need to do _____(insert random task here)_________ first and THEN I can take a break, but that task ends up taking up all of my free time
-Mistaking avoiding work and scrolling through Instagram as an actual break
-Only allowing myself to listen to fun audiobooks when paired with other 'worthwhile' work (laundry, dishes, cleaning the bathroom etc.)
-Attempting to read in my backyard, but stressing about the emails I still need to reply to
-Practicing yoga, but thinking about how I haven't posted any Instagram content in a while
-Forcing myself to keep working because I haven't been productive enough
-Feeling guilty about resting if Daniel (my husband) is working in the house
-Telling myself I'm not a contributing member of the household if I watch a TV show during the day
-Feeling guilt if I don't use my free time to contact friends and family
A lot of my drama surrounding rest is tied up in ideas of productivity and my self-worth. I still need to work on that. I think a lot of us do.
In theory, I know that restorative rest actually contributes to productivity. In theory, I also know that I am inherently worthy AS I AM. But in practice it seems both of these concepts need some on-going work, and that's okay.
My coach, Kristen, explains that rest is mental and emotional refreshment and recovery. This can look different for everyone. For you, rest may be active or inactive, indoors or outdoors, solitary or social. The important thing though is by the end you feel RELAXED physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Yes, I have stuff to do tomorrow, but if its harder to accomplish than usual, I'm not going to beat myself up about it. I'm going to remind myself how productive I was today and remember that it makes PERFECT sense that I'm feeling depleted and if I need to rest, well, I'll rest.
It doesn't make me lazy or undisciplined. It just makes me okay.
PS. My membership takes care of ADHDers' bodies, minds, hearts, and souls! Seriously. SERIOUSLY!
-Yoga classes for all levels with time for questions after each class
-Mindfulness practices and pose tutorials in a HUGE recorded library
-Body doubles so you can work along side other ADHDers to help you do the hard/boring things
-Powerful live guided journaling practices
-Special events to help you set intentions and follow-through
-ADHD-friendly supports to prevent any shame surrounding consistency
-And membership to a non-judgmental, supportive, loving, and hilarious ADHD Slack community (Seriously, I love them SO MUCH!!!)
Follow me at @adhd.yoga and check out my online studio at adhdyoga.ca.
About the author
ADHDer here! I'm a certified yoga teacher and ADHD coach-in-training. I empower ADHDers to take care of themselves through movement, breath, and the occasional f-bomb. Follow me at @adhd.yoga and check out my online studio at adhdyoga.ca.