rest written in sand on beach next to ocean

The Habit of Rest

creativity habits rest songwriting Jun 18, 2024

Ok. I'll admit it. I'm a chronic workaholic. For the longest time - and honestly it still happens - I equated my worth with how busy I am. 

Anyone else? 

It's something I have to consciously work at and something I have needed to form new habits to even start finding time to rest. But I've also had to define what work is. Because honestly, nothing that I do really feels like WORK. It's just FUN. But it's still work...or is it? 

I go back and forth with this. When I'm teaching classes on songwriting, I'm technically working, but it really doesn't feel like work. When I'm sitting here writing a blog for SFME, it doesn't feel like work, and when I'm practicing and writing songs, it definitely doesn't feel like work. But it all kinda is WORK. 

So instead of thinking about what work was, I started thinking about the things I do that are definitely NOT work: hanging with my husband, reading fun novels, working out, taking long contemplative walks, drawing and painting, knitting, streaming shows and movies, cooking...etc. And I started trying to lean into them more. To take time to really DO them - and in some cases even schedule them into my days because well, honestly? I would forget and just keep doing the FUN WORK that I love. 

Here's what I noticed. When I made the not work things a higher priority and spent time doing them, I was more fulfilled in the work things I was doing. I was more engaged. More energized. More creative. More present in the moment of things. And mind you, I haven't actually figured out how to take an entire day off each week (working on it...working towards it), but I have found a happy place where I take some time every day to do, as my voice teacher calls it, 'zombie time'. Where I just do nothing. And it's glorious.

So, if you're reading this and you're like me and you struggle to stop working, consider the things that you definitely do NOT consider work. Make a list. Start incorporating them into your week. Schedule the darn things into your life if you have to at first (every habit has to start somewhere). And then revel in the amazingness of just BEING. Revel in how you feel. Let go of the guilt that says you should or could or would be...doing anything else (it still shows up for me too...but I'm getting better at having it be quieter). Revel in how it amplifies the work things you do in a completely different way. 

Write a song. Write ten songs. Draw a picture with a crayon. Paint with your fingers. Take a walk and notice the colors and then come back and draw or paint them. Knit a scarf. Binge watch your favorite show. Listen to music without thinking about the form....or anything - just listen....


Now how can you make it a habit? James Clear (Atomic Habits) writes:

  1. Make it obvious 
    1. Want to write more songs? Keep your writing instrument ready!
  2. Make it easy
    1. Set a time of the day when you know you will have time
  3. Make it attractive
    1. Make the space something that you want to create in, make your work something you look forward to
  4. Make it satisfying
    1. What is your reward?

Granted, songwriting is my job, but you can apply this to just about anything. Want to read more? Download books onto your phone or kindle or buy them and make a giving yourself a gold sticker for each book you read - or even joining a book club! 

You get the idea. 

What happens? 

What shifts?

What might you discover? 

I dare you to find out!