We live in a world of more. The dominant mindset (at least for most Westerners I’ve encountered) is one of being more efficient, acquiring more stuff, accomplishing more goals, all the while lamenting that we don’t have more time to do more! All of this, ironically, seems to be exacerbated during the holiday season. Gotta pick up more gifts, spend more money, attend more parties, make more pies! Instead of winding down at the end of the year to reflect on all that we’ve done up to that point, we tend to gear up for one final push to see how much more we can squeeze in before the calendar flips to January.
I say all this with a heavy dose of conviction in my own heart. Historically, I’ve been a grievous culprit of the “more” mentality. There’s so much I want to do in life and time is neither limitless nor guaranteed, right? We hear so many messages telling us not to waste our time, our lives. Be productive. Accomplish much. Have something to show for all your hard work when the end comes. I’m not saying productivity or setting and accomplishing goals are intrinsically bad. They’re not! They are good habits to practice—in moderation.
The point I’m trying to make here is a simple one. It’s one you’ve undoubtedly heard many times. My saying it won’t be novel; it won’t come as a shocking revelation (probably). The best way I’ve found to master the monster of More is to rest. Take a break. Give yourself a sabbath regularly. Make it a priority to take a longer sabbatical once in a while. Self-care is so incredibly important for leading a holistically healthy life. I know it feels so counterproductive to the messages we receive when we look to the world around us and compare ourselves to others. Let’s be honest, though—the lives we’re comparing our own to (especially on social media) are heavily curated. They are carefully constructed images meant to create an impression, not reflect reality. Rarely do people talk about the mundane day-to-day. That doesn’t bring in views, likes, or subscribers. If someone has the choice of posting about accomplishing some incredible task or about watching the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy in a single sitting (an incredible task in its own right by my standards), they’ll likely pick the one that makes them look better, even if both are true. So, stop kidding yourself! Everyone needs time off and most people do take it, even if they don’t promote it.
Is taking a break really that big of a deal? I don’t know. Does the risk of burnout sound like one you want to take? Even the things we love most in life can become tedious, burdensome, or downright unpleasant if we don’t allow ourselves moments of respite to break up the monotony.
I love that I get to be a part of the voiceover community. I love that I get paid to run my mouth. I love that I have the privilege of helping others tell their amazing stories. The past year has been one of exciting discovery as I’ve explored the wide and wonderful world of VO. There is always more in this industry. More auditions to submit. More coaches to work with. More clients to network with. More seminars to take. More conferences to partake in. More subscriptions to take advantage of. More equipment to test out. More software to dabble with. More. More. More! I’ve been learning and growing to the point of being overwhelmed and overcome by the More Monster.
During my recent trip back to the US for my sister’s wedding, I was unable to bring my recording equipment, so I essentially took two weeks off from most things VO-related. Sure, there were still things I could’ve done to connect with new potential clients or market myself. I likely missed out on some opportunities. But it wasn’t until I stepped away for a breather that I realized how hard I’d been running myself. I was keeping so busy that I didn’t realize there were aspects of a job I love that I was coming to resent and dread. A change of pace and some new perspective did wonders for me. I was able to think through some of the habits and routines I’ve been forming, isolate the parts that don’t seem to be working well, and make plans to try things differently going forward. It may not have reared its ugly head for months or years, but I’ve been setting myself on a course for burnout. Taking the time to clear my head and give myself wholly over to something else for a while restored my joy and excitement for getting back in the booth and likely saved me from a premature crash and burn.
Running ourselves ragged will only ever guarantee us being run ragged. Perhaps it will yield impressive results for a while, but no one can sustain that pace of life for long. Take a break, friends. Schedule margin into your life and prioritize it, protect it. Listen to your body and your mind. If you’re feeling more stressed or weary or self-critical than usual, don’t push yourself to reach for more. Give yourself permission to be a human being and take some time to care for you. Not only will you feel better and have the energy to continue accomplishing your goals when you get back to it, but your family, your friends, your business, and so much more will benefit from you being at your best as well.
Until next time, friends, keep telling stories! And may they include seemingly mundane stories of rest and rejuvenation from time to time!
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