You find it so hard to relax because you’ve convinced yourself work matters more than your mental health. Your success is external and your peace of mind is internal, so it’s easier to judge whether you’ve been doing a good job at work than it is to judge whether you’ve been taking good care of yourself. You can’t measure happiness. You can’t measure peace of mind. And even though it feels like you can, you can’t actually measure success.
You find it so hard to relax because you’ve been conditioned to believe taking a break is a sign of laziness — when really, it’s a necessary competent to success. You need to take time to recharge yourself, otherwise you’re going to burn out. You’re going to collapse. You’re not going to be able to continue at such a fast pace forever, so you might as well slow down when you feel yourself losing steam. You might as well take a break, because it’s going to happen one way or another, so you should make it happen on your own terms.
You find it so hard to relax because you don’t want to fall behind. You’re worried that, if you slow down, then someone else is going to take your place. You’ve already put so much work into your career and your relationship and your friendships and you don’t want it all taken away from you. You feel like you have to keep going or something bad is going to happen. You feel like, if you aren’t constantly working your ass off, then you don’t deserve what you already have.
You find it so hard to relax because a part of you doesn’t feel like you deserve a rest. You see how hard everyone else around you works. You feel like it would be unfair for you to complain when other people are doing the same amount of work as you, maybe even more, and aren’t slowing down. You compare yourself to the strangers you see on your social media feeds, and get down on yourself when it seems like they’re accomplishing more than you in a day.
You find it so hard to relax because you’ve been told your hard work will pay off. You’ve been told to think about your future. You’ve been told it takes effort in order to reach your dreams. While all of those things are true, you can’t underestimate the importance of self-care. You can’t forget to stop every once in a while and treat yourself. Taking a day off doesn’t make you a slacker. Relaxing doesn’t make you lazy. It’s dangerous to spend every waking moment working. You have to set aside some time to relax, to unwind, to let yourself think about something aside from work.
Even though there are goals you’re passionate about reaching, even though it’s good that you’re so dedicated to reaching your dreams, you cannot focus so much on the future that you forget about the present. You cannot let yourself burn out.