How not to feel guilty about slowing down in the summer

All year round we only dream of one thing: lying in the sun with a book on a soft towel, toes fanned out, ours make list relegated to a double-locked drawer. The idea is to weep with envy, especially when the November stratus clouds cover our mood like a gray curtain. Then why is it so tedious to unhook yourself completely when the time comes? Why do we feel guilty even at 35 degrees for not doing chores or postponing ours? be crazy rest in the cool?

The question turns out to be quite complex, especially in summer, the holiday season, etc idleness. Because sometimes in moments of doing nothing we realize how hectic our everyday life is, how hard we try to accept the idea of ​​doing nothing. Yes, it’s about accepting it, without self-flagellation, if a day hasn’t produced twelve jars of homemade jam, a yoga class, an online class, and a shirt-press.

“I have the impression that this is due to very early learning at school or in our family,” explains FSP psychologist Sarah Bezençon. We are conditioned to be agents of production by many different compulsions. It also represents a social legacy, knowing that older generations were trained to work long hours and that paid vacations were not legalized in many western countries until the 20th century.

Guilt is an illusion of control

Thus, despite its essential nature, rest is pushed into the background and less valued: “Work is an institution and in our society it gives people value,” continues the psychologist. We sometimes disproportionately identify with it, forgetting that our persona is not limited to one job. For example, when you meet someone at a party, the first thing you do is ask them what their activity is.

That could explain the little guilty voices that echo through many of us as soon as we sit on a lounge chair with the intention of letting ourselves live. “We are also conditioned to feel guilty when we break the norm,” says Sarah Bezençon.

Our society is increasingly forcing upon us a certain way of life, a certain ideal. As soon as we feel we’re doing something that doesn’t fully respect this, we feel guilty.

But this harmful feeling runs deeper than we think: alongside very high demands from society and from ourselves, it can represent a denial of our need for rest: “It is sometimes a way of fighting against the feeling of powerlessness because we persuading through guilt that we could have acted differently, that the situation was ours and that we were in control, notes the expert It’s a way of denying the fact that we’re not inexhaustible machines.

How to fight against this mechanism

Fortunately, although this has been a ingrained thought pattern for years, it is possible to uproot this conditioning. However, Sarah Bezençon specifies that this will require an effort at the beginning: “It is about changing our inner language by recognizing the situations in which we tend to feel guilty.

For example, instead of repeating what we could have done more, better, or differently, it might be beneficial to repeat to ourselves that we did our best.

To return to the origin of this conditioning and to better understand what part of these reflexes was instilled in us through facial expressions, the psychologist suggests three questions we should ask ourselves: What voice is echoing in our head when we blame ourselves for we relax? What behavior are we copying or which person are we unconsciously trying to make proud? Which part of these reflexes belongs to us and only us?

On the other hand, this process must go through a form of acceptance: “It is also about adapting to the rhythm of the seasons, accepting that in summer our organism needs rest and time to get used to the heat, explains Sarah Bezençon. Likewise, over the course of a single day, it should be understood that certain times are more productive than others. And that’s totally normal!”

The underestimated importance of daily breaks

Normal, yes, and even absolutely necessary. Our expert points out that the brain works with shifting rhythms: if you concentrate for a period of time, a natural moment of stillness should follow. “Our physiology is based on this sequence of phases of attention and phases of inattention. These are very important because our brain needs these quiet moments to sort information. When we fill those downtimes with constant stimuli, it becomes harder to recharge, learn, and adjust to what’s happening on the day.

For this reason, occupational psychologists often repeat that rest is an essential part of work.

In 2022, moments of stillness and genuine pauses are becoming increasingly rare: social media, AirPods, and other streaming platforms constantly bombard us with stimuli…to the point where we miss them if we evade them for a few minutes ! “Since the invention of the smartphone, we’ve become so multitasking that it’s addictive,” regrets Sarah Bezençon. Even if all they have to do is hang out laundry, many people think they should use this time to study, listen to a podcast, or music while folding their laundry… This can make us more nervous or anxious about losing the essentials getting out of the habit.

So when we finally lay down on that fluffy towel this summer, we’re only going to keep a stain on ours to-do list: Turn off the sound, take off your headphones and listen to the rustling of the leaves, the chirping (cackling) of the seagulls and the cooing of the doves. Maybe that’s the voice of luck.

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