In most areas of life, we need cycles. Grow then decline. Over and over. The stock market cycles between highs and lows. Our bodies need to be broken down before getting stronger. Yet I find it hard to implement cycles in my life when it comes to working. I usually work as hard as possible until I burn out, then I spend an entire week or two doing nothing but binging shows and movies. It feels horrible, and I know for a fact that it's not optimal, yet I still do it.
A pretty simple solution is to just take a day off, yet that's easier said than done (at least for me). My brain talks to me like this: "You better be doing something productive for every waking hour, and if you don't, I'm going to spend any free time you have making you miserable by reminding you why you shouldn't be relaxing. That way, you'll never feel calm." Stupid brain.
There are two reasons for this:
The current salve is distracting my brain with instant gratification: watching shows and Youtube on my breaks, or scrolling through Reddit and Twitter. Instant gratification is fine once in a while, but it's not fulfilling or something I actually want to do. They calm my brain from nagging me. When I try other things that are less about instant gratification and more about learning, it gives my brain time to remind myself that I'm not being productive. Here are some activities I would rather be doing:
The new cycle I want to implement is a 4-day sprint, then an entire day off. This way, it'll be more relaxing yet useful, and it'll give me a pause from the barrage of aggressive thoughts I typically have. The obstacle with doing this is even if I know it's a day for me to relax, I'll still have those thoughts about why I'm not accomplishing my tasks. Like I said before, these activities don't activate dopamine instantly. So I have to find ways to get my brain to stop telling me that I'm being unproductive. Honestly, I'm not entirely sure how to go about this, but here are some ideas I'll try out: