A Time to Work and a Time to Rest

By

Annelie Fouche

A Time to Work and a Time to Rest

A Time to Work and a Time to Rest

By

Annelie Fouche

There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest.
Use both and overlook neither.
Alan Cohen

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has officially recognised burnout as a medical diagnosis.

The condition now appears in the organisation’s International Classification of Diseases, or the ICD-11, in the section on problems related to employment or unemployment.

Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed, the WHO said.

It is characterised by three dimensions:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  • Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job;
  • Reduced professional efficacy.

Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life,” the WHO said.

You can read more about this topic in an article by Business Tech, citing survey results in South Africa.


Rest and relaxation

We are often pushing harder towards the end of the year to get to that dangling carrot - the promise of an extended break! Here’s why we think a period of rest is SO important:

To wind down - dolce far niente

Rest is the only way to engage the part of our nervous system that allows for relaxation. It is literally vital for our physical and mental health.

Introduced in Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia, the dolce far niente is a chance for you to do nothing--without any guilt, stress, or overwhelm. It's time that you set aside for you and you alone, to do as you wish, whatever that may be.

To reflect

It is difficult to look in a mirror when you are constantly running past it. The ability to reflect on an unprecedented year requires us to pause for long enough to take a long, hard look in that mirror.

Look back on and celebrate your milestones and victories, but also take the time to mourn your losses - heaven knows there were many of those the past year.

To look ahead

Once your body and mind have had a chance to rest, it becomes much easier to think clearly about your future and the next steps you need to take toward it.


Rest as a lifestyle

Our culture is not one of rest. Let’s not believe the norm that rest is only reserved for one long holiday per year. Make rest a priority throughout the year, so that your long summer holiday can be a slow cruise to a beautiful destination and not an emergency handbrake stop for your chaotic life.

Schedule regular rest

We schedule everything else - make sure you schedule time to rest and time to do something you love into your yearly planning. This may take some coordination if you are married and have children, but then this is all the more important!

Take a walk

You will make time for what you prioritise. If you don’t have time to walk after work, schedule a quick walk, run or cycle during your workday - park your car a bit further at the grocery store - play with your children after work, but get moving because it is vital to your health and mental state.

Eat a good meal and drink plenty of water

It seems obvious, but diet is often the first thing that lacks when we are constantly on the run. Make sure to fuel your body with the good stuff. A bad diet, centenary lifestyle and constant stress are all recipes for a health disaster.

Practice gratitude

Fear and anxiety also lead to fatigue and other health problems. It is hard for fear and anxiety to thrive where gratitude lives. Like anything else in life, this is something we need to put into practice, and not just ‘say’ for the sake of saying it.

Keep a gratitude journal, listing three specific things you are grateful for daily (don’t just say ‘I am grateful for my family’ - say what you are grateful for about your family or a family member), then list three things that will make your day great should it happen (one of these things should ‘scare’ you). At the end of the day, write down three things that made your day awesome!

What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. - Ecclesiastes 3:9-11
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