Rest - the new performance kid on the block
What about how I am feeling? We all hear and chat about how we want to build towards a better future, as individuals and as a community. We have explored how resetting focus on doing ‘the right things’ is a great ‘A’ game mentality – okay so we have the skills and capability – tick, will it be enough to be able to perform, are we engaged, can we deliver, do we have the energy?
Over the last year we experienced more change in our lifetimes that ever before, we were always on. Pivoting by the week, or even by the hour between uncertainty and hope. We are reading frequently about the ‘sleep’ issue experienced across the globe in 2020. No wonder we are tired! What is happening is a normal response, it is not just you! In building our better future, we need to change what we value in how we work. In the words of Katy Leeson, overworking needs to stop being glamourised, being carried as a badge of honour. Burnout and exhaustion are not to be applauded.
In walks the new kid - rest.
Why it matters? A healthy mind and body to go hand in hand with skill, engagement, focus and purpose – that drives performance. If we desire our businesses and communities to go from good to great, well-being needs to become a valued capability. In building resilience to remain focused in environments serving up uncertainty, it starts with leadership - genuinely caring for teams, being the coach, and not forgetting the power of leading by example, investing in our own well-being.
Sounds good, now what?
Active rest & recovery – Whilst sitting in front of the TV with the latest Netflix binge sounds like the perfect anecdote when that wave of exhaustion hits, building in ‘active’ recovery activities into your schedule can really help refresh and revitalise your mind and body. You may be familiar with this approach, regularly used by personal trainers in fitness routines, it introduces low intensity workouts as 'active rest' in between highly strenuous workout spurts, rather than stopping completely. Also used by those recovering from an injury, the same thinking is applied to organisational wellness against burnout.
An organisational approach Many organisations are recognising they need to be active in helping their people be able to focus and reduce burnout. We are seeing examples of companies from all sectors building in ‘active’ recovery time into schedules. For many they are becoming as essential as attending the weekly WIP. Building in rest, mindfulness, and recovery. These range from group sessions through to individual time.
We have seen annual ‘wellness days’ introduced, where team members are given a day to unwind away from the office. Each team member locks in their date with their leader and both are then accountable that it stays locked in. Meetings are not scheduled on that date and the day’s wellness plans are openly discussed and celebrated.
Other businesses' have introduced walking groups, yoga, meditation sessions in the office.
The usual suspects All the stuff we know works; exercise and that hit of outdoor Vit. D, diet, sleep routines (and building in time to unwind especially) and the draw of screen time and that crazy habit of one last look at emails or social media prior to going to bed.
Keen on better sleep? This is a great article from the NYT:
Importantly, you know you best – do what feels right for you.
The Nanna nap Listen to your body, it knows what you need but you need to make it happen! Start building rest into your daily routine, whether at work or at home (which is more often the same these days!), music, reading, creating, podcasts and a big one – the nanna nap. If your body is telling you it is tired, the best thing you can do is listen and act, or it will become a bigger problem. Build in time each day as a team and keep each other accountable for taking it.
Extended rest Book a weekend away, a staycation or time off – something you can look forward to.
Philanthropy Volunteer days for community work helps give purpose, balance, and perspective, all important in recharging the mind. Helping others in any form bring us greater wellbeing and improved mental health, and is one of the most effective mental health activities you can do.
Remember to have fun! Yep, it's scientifically proven - a happy, cheery disposition and approach significantly reduces levels of stress and illness. Maybe laughter really is the best medicine.
The secret for me each day is to ‘do one thing right’, one step at a time in a positive direction. It is also more likely to become sticky, and if one thing is not working for you, try another!