Rest, renew, relax, restore…these words are abstract for many high achievers who primarily focus on productivity – how to get more done!
If you are an athlete or a fitness enthusiast who knows physiology, you have heard from a trainer/coach that you actually get stronger, faster, better when you recover, not when you train. When we work out hard, we stress the body, we impose intentional demands on the body in order to get stronger, have more endurance and more power.
In work-life performance, the law is the same. The issue is that most high achievers do not follow this law. They press, they take more, they chase more and higher goals and work harder, long hours 6-7 days a week.
We put this pressure on ourselves. When many of us want to stop to take a nap, or take a day to relax, the voice in our heads, the judger says:
“You should be working”, “You should be doing more”, “Don’t be lazy”, “Winners out work everyone”, “There is no time for resting”…you are familiar with this voice.
I have coached many high performers like CEOs, entrepreneurs, managers, lawyers, realtors, and the theme of their stress is the same. Anxiety, overwhelm and emotional/mental fatigue are part of their every day living.
One simple reason you might feel this way, YOU ARE TIRED! You need to balance your life between DOING and BEING. You need to schedule your resting, renewal, restore times just like you schedule your work meetings, because the super power of any happy, healthy and fulfilled achiever is RECOVERY.
Recovery resets the body and the brain for the next day, next work out, next challenge.
This is common sense but not common practice.
Recovery involves deep sleep, at least 7 hours. I vote or 8. Recovery means time and mind away from work. It can be in the form of playing, listening to music, watching a sunset, laughing with friends, meditating, having a massage, walking in nature…anything that allows your mind and your nervous system to relax, to let go the “have to” and the “shoulds”.
I have worked with many clients who did not know how to relax anymore. Actually stopping to just BE brought more anxiety. The autonomic nervous system is locked in the sympathetic mode – that is the stress response, the fight or flight mode.
This response is awesome, it is a perfect design for when you are in danger, to save your life. Or to push in the last mile of your race, or to thrive under prssure at work when there is a deadline. You become laser focused, you feel energized from the adrenaline and cortisol, and your perform at high levels.
Perfect design to use for short periods of time and not a design to be “ON” all the time. The expression “burn out” comes from being in that “Stress on” state for a long time. it is like interval training, push hard and rest.
Chronic stress is the kryptonite of high performance. Getting more done in a day is not high performance. Being busy is not high perfomance.
High performance is showing up at your best with your energy, full presence and a calm state. You are creative, you are relaxed and alert at the same time. You focus on one task at the time, you get into the flow state.
The result that you experience at the end of the day when you perform well is joy, satisfaction and a sense of success.
To create greatness every day you need clarity, focus, energy, presence and recovery. I call these the pillars of high performance.
In the trainings I present to the work force, I talk mostly about recovery, in how to reset our energy through the day and after work so we can repeat it the next day and get great results.
As we get older, we start really thinking more about joy, vitality, balance, longevity and sustainable performance.
I am inviting you here to evaluate how you are living, working every day. Is it bringing you progress, growth, joy and energy? Or you feel mostly depleted, irritated, tired and overwhelmed? Or worse, you feel that you are not living your potential.
If more the latter, it is time to value RECOVERY my friend. I bet your body is talking to you. Maybe is the whisper of a mild back pain, or tightness in the solar plexus, or headaches. Our body also talks to us via our emotions. Anxiety, depression, overwhelm are ways for the body to tell us we are in PAIN. Pain is a teacher, and it can be a gentle teacher or it can feel like a hard one.
Don’t wait for a crisis, for your body to get sick, for your relationship to dismantle. Pay attention to the signs of fatigue, poor sleep, mood swings, low motivation, back/neck pain, digestive issues, low emotional capacity to listen to others, poor concentration, irritation, high consumption of sugar, alcohol or recreational drugs, etc.
Take that nap for 20 minutes, take the night off to play and be with the love ones, unplug from your emails and texts, take a bath, make your Sundays sacred for deep physical, mental and emotional recovery, be with friends, have more fun, meditate for 20-40 minutes daily, be in nature weekly, get a massage, take 3-4 days off every 3 months, take yearly vacations…honor your body, honor your LIFE.
Working all the time is no longer cool and sexy. Being more and doing less is the new cool and sexy.
Much love, Alex.
P.S.: Picture of my sacred Sundays with my tribe healing, listening to great music and recovering with cold therapy. That was 4 minutes!