Why you should allocate time for yourself

“Except in sleep the conscious mind is never allowed to lie fallow while subconscious

thought matures its gradual wisdom. The result is excitability, lack of sagacity, irritability,

and a loss of sense of proportion. All these are both causes and effects of fatigue”

Mathematician and philosopher, Bertrand Russell, in his work “The Conquest of Happiness,”

described fatigue as a source of unhappiness, and rest – even from those things we enjoy – as

being essential for happiness. (Russell, 1930).

In all our strivings, for economic gain, for greatness in the arts or physical prowess, for love

and acceptance, even that striving for our very survival, we are human, finite in our capacity

and subject to burnout. Even if the striving is personal; simply trying to be someone we are

not, suppressing something within, we become susceptible to ego fatigue and “relapse” back

into what we are or, what we tried to deny rather than deal with (Lewis, 2015).

In our culture there is at times an emphasis on productivity at the expense of humanity, and it

is the denial of humanity that also denies rest. Work unalloyed with rest forfeits the good

wrought by each.

It is even common, through conditioning, for this emphasis on work to be integrated into

someone’s personality. In Transactional Analysis’ theory, this person is known as a

“Responsible/Workaholic” – Responsible being at the positive end of that personality’s

spectrum, and Workaholic being its negative potential (Stewart, I & Joines, V 2002). At the

Workaholic end, this person may return to work the day after the death of a loved one and

never stop to grieve, not necessarily as a means of distraction & temporary relief, but from a

sense of duty at the expense of their own wellbeing.

“The eternal problem of the human being is how to structure his waking hours” – Eric Berne

I have been inclined to see rest as the antithesis of structure, as chaos, as a hinderance to my

work which must necessarily be minimized. This attitude, however, caused me to objectify

my own body, to deny my own humanity. In my experience, particularly among working

class individuals, there is almost a pride in being able to say you have worked yourself into

the ground, to say you have given an ungodly number of hours to the job. There is not so

much pride in cessation, which promotes healing and recouperation.

In my opinion, human exploitation aside, it is no coincidence our very planet is being

destroyed by activities such as overfishing and over-farming for the sake of industry. The

Earth is alive, and she herself must rest. This respect of the need cease from constant output

starts with how we treat ourselves and others.

Some practice meditation and mindfulness, others observe sabbaths or take holidays. How

people decide to honour their right to freedom from strife & labour is the prerogative of the

individual/community. My hope is that we all develop enough self-love to do so.

Mental Health Awareness Week was approximately 2 weeks before the writing of this blog.

Simply taking a step back, allocating time to reflect, to breathe, and to recover, is one way we

can all take care of our own mental health from here on.

If you are struggling with the stress of life, with anxiety, or with burnout, The Arts of Change

Trust has a team of Therapeutic Clinicians who are here to help. You can request a referral

form by calling 01384211168, or by emailing support@theaoc.org.uk.

Please become an AoC Champion, helping others benefit from the gift of therapy with a kind

donation of £10.00 each year. This will go towards keeping our frontline and vital services

supporting the community. If you wish to do this please see the link below:

https://donorbox.org/the-aoc-trust

Thank you for reading, from the Arts of Change!

References:

Russell, B. (2015) ‘The Conquest of Happiness’, Taylor & Francis

Lewis, M. (2015) ‘The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not A Disease’, Scribe

Publications Limited

Stewart, I & Joines, V (2002) ‘Personality Adaptations’, Lifespace Publishing

Berne, E. (1964) ‘Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships’, Penguin Books