How do you know when it’s time to stop working? Do you start to feel the need to nap around two or three in the afternoon? Or is that when your energy starts to kick in?
I recently finished reading Loving Yourself to Great Health by Louise Hay, Ahlea Khadro, and Heather Dane. One of the main themes of this book was developing a strong sense of intuition; learning to listen to what our bodies are telling us. This line in the book jumped out at me:
Ask your body when it’s ready to stop working for the day.
I was immediately excited by the prospect of actually doing this in my own life. You mean I have the power to quit when my body has had enough?
This book is the antithesis to what so many of us have been taught or coerced into by all kinds of outside forces all our lives. We are called by marketers to buy products that we don’t actually need to solve problems that don’t really exist or have more simple solutions, by our employers to push ourselves past the point of healthy work-life balance, and by ourselves to prove to everyone that we are better and can take on more than humanly possible.
Stop working when we feel like it? Is that even an option?
Maybe not. Yet. But, maybe a variation on the concept will do just fine for now. You might already have an idea in mind of when your energy takes a severe dip in the day. For me, I have noticed lately that it is around two or three in the afternoon. I have all kinds of energy and feel productive earlier in the day, but once the early afternoon rolls around, my focus and energy start to take a turn.
This is about the time of day when I make a yummy peanut butter banana smoothie, by the way.
In recent months, I have been envisioning a lifestyle where I am able to be finished working in the late afternoon. I am not just talking “work work.” I mean everything: the laundry, checking email, running errands, cleaning the house, washing the dogs – anything that isn’t relaxing or making dinner is done by about 4 p.m.
I am working towards this vision. For now, I am simply paying more attention to what my body is telling me, and figuring out ways to respect that by not pushing myself too hard after a certain point.
As much as I would love to take a 20 minute nap every afternoon and used to be a great napper, now I find that if I lay down I end up sleeping for an hour or more and wake up feeling worse than before.
I am considering adding in a second meditation session in the afternoon, since meditation is so restorative and energizing. It took me years to develop my morning meditation practice, so I don’t expect myself to get this right away. For now, I am simply paying attention and working to pull back on working so much.
Maybe stopping work for the day at two or three or whenever your witching hour occurs isn’t realistic today. But simply asking ourselves when we are ready to stop gets us moving in the right direction.
Having a vision of your ideal day can be very motivating. Starting to get an idea in mind of when you would like to stop working for the day doesn’t mean you have to stop working at that time today, but, might be fun to start thinking about. If nothing else, it is a good exercise to start tuning in to what our bodies are telling us, rather than always being tuned in to what the noisy rest of the world wants us to do.
What time of day do you need to stop working? Do you currently stop working when your body is telling you to? Please share your thoughts!