Yep, you read that right. I really did write a blog about not working but hear me out.
Although I consider myself lucky to love what I do, I am ALL about downtime, rest and rejuvenation! When I come across an article that speaks to the importance of disengaging from work, I get pretty excited and now I want to share some of that excitement with you. You can access the full article here—which I highly recommend—but for now, here are some of the top takeaways.
Take a minute to consider what it means to actually stop working. Don’t talk about work over dinner, ruminate over scenarios as you lay in bed or worry about how much work there is to do tomorrow. Consider how technology has extended our working hours and made it that much easier to check email just one more time. Research is showing that the investment of so much time and effort towards work is impairing other areas of our lives.
Toughing it out is not effective. Based on our physiology, the entire concept is actually scientifically inaccurate. Spending too much time in the work—or performance—zone and rallying our resources to continually ‘power through’ increases exhaustion and risk for burnout.
The Key to Resilience is Recovery
Our biology is designed to continuously seek equilibrium. Remember that science lesson on homeostasis? Essentially it’s the ability of our brain to constantly restore and sustain well-being. Therefore, actions that have homeostatic value can help create balance and well-being in the body. When our body is out of alignment, we expend considerable physical and mental resources to re-establish balance before we are able to move forward.
Recovery Needs to be Intentional
In order to build resilience and allow our system the rest it requires, we need adequate periods of recovery. By strategically stopping work and engaging in activities that instill a state of balance, we begin to give ourselves the resources to be ‘tough’ in a new way.
Internal And External Recovery Are Equally Essential
Internal recovery refers to shorter periods of relaxation taken within the work day or work environment. Take ten deep breaths, go for a walk around the building—or just to the bathroom and back—and shift your attention to a different task for a few minutes.
External recovery denotes the actions that take place outside of work. Note the word ‘action’ here. External recovery entails more than just evenings, weekends or vacation… although who doesn’t love a good holiday! Be intentional about giving your body and your brain a break. Spend time outside with loved ones, read, watch movies, knit, meditate or take a nap. Whatever makes you feel rejuvenated is the right action to take!
The benefits of intentionally taking time off are widespread. Engaging in recovery not only raises productivity but also enhances health and quality of life. Furthermore, by focusing on recovery we can collectively become more resilient and successful.
What better time than summer to take a dip into your recovery zone so you’re ready to be your championed, awesome-self come September!