Working Harder Isn’t the Answer: How Prioritizing Rest Will Help You Accomplish More

By: LUMO Leaders

- Publish On: September 17, 2021

She may be a cultural icon who has inspired the nickname, “Queen Bey” but even Beyoncé feels the pressure of working motherhood:

I think like many women, I have felt the pressure of being the backbone of my family and my company and didn’t realize how much that takes a toll on my mental and physical well-being. I have not always made myself a priority.

But I know that to give the best of me, I have to take care of myself and listen to my body.

It’s not about productivity. It’s not even about self-care. It’s about well-being.

In her candid interview with Harper’s Bazaar, this working mother who is famous for her grinding work ethic, candidly shared that it’s taken her years to understand that in order to give her best, she has to prioritize her own needs.

“My health, the way I feel when I wake up in the morning, my peace of mind, the number of times I smile, what I’m feeding my mind and my body — those are the things that I’ve been focusing on,” she said.

Her new approach to making mental health and self-care a priority is exactly the message the women, especially working mothers, need to hear right now. What are the top three areas of your life where you’d like more structure and support? Making your own well-being a priority not only increases your productivity and helps you accomplish more goals, it also even more importantly gives you the capacity to access the joy and satisfaction that should accompany your accomplishments.

Well-being is the access point for everything you want in life: love, abundance, joy, energy, patience, generosity, connection, and success at home and at work.

For many women a commitment to their own well-being lands squarely at the bottom of the to-do list, if it even makes it on the list at all. While some see self-care as an indulgence or a thing to dabble in in one’s “free time,” a commitment to well-being is a foundational necessity when it comes to “Results,” with a capital “R.”

Without a solid baseline of well-being, achieving the results you desire becomes nearly impossible. Your foundational self-care must be solid or else you’re building a house on sand, and it won’t stand for long. Rock solid well-being gives you the gift of more space and energy for friends and loved ones, for the activities you most enjoy, as well as a greater bandwidth when challenges and breakdowns arise.

Well-being is an individual practice. It’s person-specific. Everyone takes care of themselves in different ways, and it’s important to remember that what works for someone else, like Queen Bey, might not work for you.

To begin to identify what does work for you, ask yourself:

  1. What does well-being mean to you?

  2. What is the current state of your well-being?

  3. Without any financial or time limitations, what would your ideal version of self-care be? (Dare to dream big!)

  4. From your “blue sky” ideals above, what can you see as a possibility for additional self-care practices in the reality you’re living in right now?

And then begin tracking your well-being in these three categories: Body, Mind, and Connection. When all three of these areas are handled, you have more access to joy, power, and meaningful relationships.

Maybe even imagining a shift in possibility feels hard for you because the obstacles and “why not”s in your mind. Pay attention to your “why not”s — they are messengers of your unmet needs.

Perhaps you’re unconsciously doing things that keep you from success. Are you staying up late? Overcommitting or getting distracted by social media and Netflix? Generating awareness helps you identify the stumbling blocks and create actions (ie. setting a bedtime and sticking to it, setting alarms for TV and social media use, learning to say “Let me check my calendar” before making commitments) to remove them.

Start prioritizing sleep by setting a nighttime routine. Create a regular schedule of bedtimes, rise times, and rituals that allow time for winding down at night. Take note of what changes for you. Sleep deprivation not only leads to fatigue and irritability, it can impact your ability to focus and remember. And maybe you’ve noticed that it reduces your sex drive. (I bet your partner has!)

In addition to creating a nighttime routine, start a morning routine too. First thing in the morning, check in with yourself. Ask yourself, “How am I today? What do I need?” Here are a few of my early morning greatest hits: Jotting down five things I’m grateful for or excited about, stretching on my yoga mat with (gasp!) no instructor, five minutes in silent meditation, spooning the dog. Feel free to grab one of those if it’s supportive for you.

Well-being is a lifelong journey. It isn’t a “one and done” or a box to check. It’s a way of creating and recreating your relationship to yourself as your life evolves. If you become committed to integrating well-being into your life you will be well on your way to accomplishing your goals and celebrating your wins, and you’ll be high on your own supply when you discover that the real secret to foundational well-being comes from inside of you.

Ladies, if Beyoncé needs to take a beat to put her needs on her list, I don’t want to see you giving yourself a hard time about it. How else will girls be able to run the world?

LUMO Leaders

LUMO is full of the most passionate people in the parental leave movement. We believe developing a company's most important asset – its people — is key to unlocking success. And you know what? We’ve learned this because we’ve lived it. With a combined 50-plus years of expert experience in employee retention, working parent development, and DEI training, our collective of LUMO Leaders have the tools, insight, and fervor for helping organizations cultivate inclusive culture.

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