Do you ever feel guilty when you’re not working?

You’re sitting on a terrace having a coffee and catching up with a friend, or perhaps on your living room floor playing with your kids. Or maybe it’s Sunday (the Official Day of Rest and Hangovers) and you’re just chilling out on the sofa. Whichever of these scenarios it may be, you should be fully in the moment and enjoying yourself, but instead there’s this nagging feeling at the back of your mind.

There’s a persistent thought that doesn’t go away and keeps on poking at you. A feeling of guilt. A sense that you shouldn’t be doing whatever it is you’re doing, and that you ought to be working instead.

It may not be the time nor the place for work, but you can’t help feeling that working would be a more ‘useful’ way to spend your time.

Sounds familiar? So annoying, right? It’s not like you’re not already working a lot, so why does it feel like it’s never enough?

Let’s see what’s behind this guilt and how to get rid of it, because frankly the only guilt worth having in life is of the (musically) pleasurable kind.

Whether you’re an artist, freelancer or employee, you’re not the only one feeling this. In fact, it’s something many people in the music industry experience. Even after you’ve clocked up your 40+ hours, the small amount of time you’ve got left for leisure, self-care, rest or non-work related fun can often be secretively spent wallowing in guilt: guilt for not working on your business, your music, or attempting to hack away at your monstrous inbox.

Why is that?

You may be ambitious and want to succeed, to ‘get ahead’ because you know that competition in this industry is fierce. Additionally, modern-day culture, with its focus on busyness, productivity and external achievements doesn’t encourage you to live holistically - although the paradigm is finally changing.

You may have worries and beliefs (more or less unconscious) that push you to think that working more is the only or best option if you want to achieve your goals and solve your problems.

 
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The first step in getting rid of this unnecessary guilt is to become aware of the impact it has on your life.

What’s it like to live with this constant low-level anxiety? How is it to feel like you’re never, ever doing enough? How does this impact the quality of your relationships? (Even if you try to dissimulate it, the person you’re with can intuitively feel when you’re not really there).

How does never switching off impact your creativity and productivity? When does time off stop being time off? As in, does it actually count as time off if you’re thinking about work or worrying that you’re not working?

As you may already know, the whole universe is made up of vibrating energy. Everything that appears to be material, as well as the thoughts and emotions you have and the words you use, are made of energy vibrating at a certain speed.

Guilt has been shown to be one of the lowest emotional vibrations, scoring even lower than fear or anger. Low vibrations, of course, don’t produce positive outcomes.

Feeling guilty is not only bringing your vibe down, it’s also not getting you anywhere (other than on the road to burnout).

Next, figure out what’s at the root of your guilt.

  • Is it a belief such as ‘The only way to succeed is to work more’ or ‘I’m only productive when I work’? If so, how much truth does this belief hold? (Just because you believe it doesn’t make it true!). How is this belief helping you or getting in the way?

  • Is it that you worry about your future, and ease your stress by burying yourself in more work? If so, how else may you reduce your stress and anxiety?

  • Is it that you forgot what makes you happy and what’s important to you? If that’s the case, ask yourself: what would I start doing immediately if I had one year left to live?

  • What else could be behind your sense of guilt?

 
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Now, imagine living without this guilt, and enjoying your free time without worrying that you should be working instead. Picture yourself being 100% present and connected to the people you’re with, and what would change as a result of you being so. Experience what it feels like to be fully immersed in the activity you’re doing, digging every minute and losing track of time.

Envision feeling great about spending time resting, playing or doing something that nurtures your soul - before coming back to work refreshed, full of ideas and motivation.

Sounds good? Well, it’s totally possible. All you need is a bit of self-awareness and some specific techniques to help you shift your mindset.

It’s about time you stopped feeling guilty when you’re not working. We cover this topic, and much more, in my Thrive programme for Artists and Execs .

Book a free consultation now and start enjoying your time off - remorse free. Not because you deserve it (you do), but because this will actually help you achieve the success you desire.

As Alan Watts said: ‘No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now

Kick your guilt to the curb and #LoveToLoveYourLifeBaby. Every moment of it.

Ariane x