Get Your Energy Back!
By the time we make it through our action-loaded marathon to summer, some of us are quite exhausted. If you live a Mediterranean lifestyle, the big break from work happens in the months of July and August. So, if you haven’t had yours yet, I bet that you are now gasping for the final summer holiday and wondering how to get your energy back.
I can already hear my friends and colleagues telling me about their summer adventures. For the past years, I have listened to the recurrent statements:
“it was really nice, but also I’m really tired from our holiday. There was so much going on.”
If you are used to a fast work-life, it is incredibly hard take time off, and step into “being” rather than “action.” I remember my last holiday in Fuerteventura. It took me whole three days(!!) to slow down and adapt the rhythm of the island. Which meant I only had another three days left to actually step into the island vacation vibe.
“Balancing both stress and recovery is critical to high performance both individually and organizationally”
Jim Loehr, Tony Schwartz
Preserving your rhythm to get your energy back
Rhythms are important. We are biological creatures – though we tend to strive for and live through high cognitive abilities that make us forget about our most basic nature sometimes.
You may know about distressing cases of workers that suffer from constant stress. Arguably, one of the most extreme stories come from Japan where 30% of adults work up to 50h weeks, resulting sometimes in Karoshi, which basically means death from overwork.
You may think that’s far away and doesn’t concern us here in Europe. But beware our number on burnout and stress-related diseases are high!
Quantitative work demands, which are considered to be an important source of stress, are concurrently affected by two reverse trends: a positive one, shorter working hours, which would be likely to reduce stress prevalence (in EU15); and a negative one, greater work intensity, which generates higher stress levels.
In the EU25 countries, in 2005, fewer people (on average 14%) were forced to work long hours (a working week of 48 hours or more) than in previous years. At the same time workers were being asked to work faster and to tighter deadlines. Although generally the required speed of work is increasing, there is substantial variation between various Member Countries. In 2005, Sweden, Finland and Denmark had the highest percentage of workers who reported high-speed working “around half of the time or more” (85%, 77% and 76% respectively), whereas Ireland, Poland and Latvia had the lowest percentages (42%, 40% and 40% respectively).
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, from Stress at Work — Facts and Figures
You can also check Burnout in the Workplace, published by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.
If you haven’t read last year’s blog post about Employee Engagement, I highly recommend taking a peek. As you can see, I can’t help but cite Schwartz & Loehr wisdom again here when it comes to stress management and the importance of recovery.
“Without time for recovery, our lives become a blur of doing unbalanced by much opportunity for being”
Jim Loehr, Tony Schwartz
The importance of taking breaks
A branch called Positive Psychology, the base of books like Martin Seligman’s Authentic Happiness, argues, among other things, that it is crucial to take a break every 90-120 min for high performance.
So, if you work hard for too long you deplete your energies, and your performance will suffer.
Bigger companies that rely highly on the knowledge economy have realised the importance of taking breaks as part of a productive rhythm and support their employees in this constant struggle to find work-life balance.
However, part of the responsibility lies with you. Ultimately, you are responsible for taking care of yourself and finding some ways to fully recover from mental, emotional and psychological stress.
The power of feel-good moments
A great start to recover and get your energy back is by focusing on your physical wellbeing, as research has shown that physical exercise stimulates cognitive capacity. The most common reasons for burnout and stress are sleep deprivation, poor nutrition and a lack of exercise.
But, in reality, there’s even more to it. Stress and burnout also come from NOT making time for friends and loved ones on a regular basis.
When bringing your energy levels back, make time for feel-good moments. Creating positive experiences that stimulate gratification is a great recipe for a healthy recovery.
“Relationships are one of the most powerful sources of emotional renewal.”
Jim Loehr, Tony Schwartz
Martin Seligman also points to the fact that “any activity that is enjoyable, fulfilling and affirming serves as a source of emotional renewal and recovery.”
In order to provide this feeling of gratification, the activity will need to be challenging, requiring skills, and must have the following components:
- We concentrate
- There are clear goals
- We get immediate feedback
- We have deep, effortless involvement
- There is a sense of control
- Our sense of self vanishes
- Time stops
Some examples of these activities are:
- Group sport such as Volleyball, Badminton or Football
- Gaming (whether virtual or face-to-face)
- Playing with a child
- Cooking together
To help you navigate through the challenges you may face at work in your leadership role, we create monthly worksheets with simple, yet hands-on 5-min and 10-min activities. Simple exercises help you get on track and stay focused at work. Take a sneak peek below.
We offer these worksheets for free!
Check our full library of practical worksheets here. In our section on Motivation, you can download this month’s Boost Performance, with activities to implement right away and practice every day. Browse the library to find extra exercises to improve motivation, lower stress, and increase productivity.
**Quick peek into our WORKSHEET**
_For you, if…
- You feel that you can be back in top shape!
- You want to increase performance & productivity
- You want to simply feel good about your own rhythm
A) Snapshot your Energy Levels
Take a quick look at our ebook Bounce Back, page 12, and (re-)discover your own daily biological “energy” rhythm. We all have highs and lows, and most likely at slightly different times. Start by reflecting on a typical 24h day. Then extend to a typical week, month, and year. You’d be surprised by your own chart if you share that exercise with a colleague or friend.
_Take it further!
…take it further and deepen the learning by doing all the exercises suggested on our worksheet. Sign up below with your name and email to download the complete worksheet.
Always keen to know how you are getting on!
Executive Coach. Consultant. Trainer. Facilitator.
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