I have a confession to make: I LOVE to nap.

Napping is how I was able to teach 8-15 yoga classes per week, take 3-5 classes per week, assist with teacher training, and still maintain a freelance ghostwriting business for nearly five years. 

And despite living by my naps, I constantly found myself overworked and feeling guilty about saying no when someone asked me to sub a class and I wanted to rest instead of teaching. I had a hard time saying no when I took a full-time job and my freelance clients insisted no other writer would do.

It’s nice to be in demand, but my inability to say no also lead to lots of burnout and overwhelm. 

no gilt no grind culture
Photo by Joice Kelly on Unsplash

Rest is not a luxury; it’s a necessity and the only reason you feel guilty is because capitalism has trained you to think your worth is in productivity.

Say it with me: The guilt is a lie.

Grind culture is dead and no is a complete sentence. 

Saying no and setting boundaries creates space for you to live the life you want to live. Even as I type these words there’s part of my brain screaming that living your best life requires action; it requires work.

It’s true: You will have to work, but the important work isn’t where you think it is. The most important work you can do is learning to love and trust your own instincts about what will bring you the most joy and peace in your life. It’ll come from embracing the inherent abundance of the Universe.

And you can’t be your best or live your best life if you’re sleep deprived or burnt out because you haven’t set aside time to recharge. 

Here are a few things to explore relating to feeling guilty about rest:

Establish a Mantra

My mantra is “the guilt is a lie.” I don’t even accept the guilt over resting as a thought or feeling that actually belongs to me. Instead I see it as social conditioning that doesn’t serve me. What mantra could you create for yourself to remind yourself that you deserve to rest? You’re welcome to use my mantra, but I find that mantras I create for myself hit different from mantras suggested by someone else. Take a moment to tune into your breath and tune into your internal wisdom to find your own personal mantra. 

Go Back to What Really Matters

No matter what we’ve been told, we can’t do and have it all. Trying to do and be everything at all times will leave us exhausted and dissatisfied. I find that when I’m all over the place and not getting anywhere, I need to return to what’s really important to me and let that be my guide for what to say yes to. 

Put it on the Calendar

I often joke that if something isn’t on my calendar it doesn’t exist. That means if I don’t have it on my schedule, I’m probably not going to do it. Sometimes things get added, but I tend to feel less guilty about saying no to something when there’s already something else filling that space on my calendar. During my busiest teaching season, I was disciplined about reserving a minimum of two days where I didn’t do anything work related and it was on my calendar. Maybe you don’t have two whole days; that’s fine. I am an advocate for the 20 minute power nap. Whatever the amount of time, just put it on your calendar.