Why you aren’t resting & recovering properly…
The kids are in bed. The dishes are done. And you’ve just switched the tv over to something you like.
The average person’s relationship with rest and recovery is toxic.
We see rest as lazy and recovery as weak.
This mindset tends to kick in when we set goals.
Just like our digestive system needs a break from digesting food (intermittent fasting). Our brains need a break from thinking, remembering and consuming.
We also confuse distracting with resting.
As much as distractions help us forget about worries in the short term.
They don’t help you rest and recover.
You are still taking in information.
You are still being stimulated by dopamine.
And if you are being stimulated you aren’t resting and recovering.
The same way you know the consequences of over stimulation with caffeine or sugar. (Cravings, drops in energy).
The same is with mental consumption.
Rest is when you feel comfortable enough to switch off and be present.
You switch off your computer or car, so you can restart it and use it again.
Why would your brain be different? Especially if you struggle with overwhelm, overthinking and burnout.
If you aren’t working, you’re thinking about what to do next.
If you aren’t thinking about what to do next you are dwelling on what’s already happened.
You are never going to have more energy, perspective, and peace if you don’t get better at slowing down and becoming present.
When you get better at this you will:
- Have more focus when your brain is switched on.
- Rest on a deeper level which will lead to more energy.
- Sleep better because you won’t be overthinking before bed.
- Enjoy the smaller things in life because your brain will be more receptive to stimulation when it’s awake.
Before I tell you how I’ve got better at rest and recovery.
I want to tell you that sleep isn’t always a time where your brain is resting.
Often your subconscious mind is trying to process many of the things you haven’t addressed.
We call these dreams and nightmares.
Your body might be resting on a certain level but not necessarily your brain.
The reason we’ve become so used to overthinking and overworking is because we’ve been told if you don’t, you might drop the ball.
You might lose your job, make a mistake as a parent or simply just not be good enough.
All these thoughts are tied together in potential guilt.
It hasn’t even happened but the thought of it alone, brings up fear in anticipation.
So, your natural response is to try and stay on your toes all the time. Over work, check emails and stay glued to your desk.
Which isn’t practical.
And if you can stay in fight/flight all day there’s some heavy mental costs as well as physical.
We can’t keep rationalizing 2-3 holidays a year as a reset for another 4 months of stress and below average recovery.
Is the goal to do as much work as possible or to be as effective as possible?
Because the two aren’t always mutually exclusive.
How to get better at recovery:
- The first thing you want to do is to separate times between work and play. When you are working that’s what you should be doing and not dipping your toe into other things.
The same when you are playing or having time off, you should be fully having time off.
We’ve all got excuses for why we can’t NOT check emails. But the bottom line is.
There’s always more work to do, more emails to check.
If you don’t set boundaries around your well-being nobody else will!
But the same people who’ll be frustrated that your performance has dropped, won’t realise that they are making it hard for you to be at your best by not respecting your boundaries.
So you're damned if you do damned if you don’t.
So please yourself and set some boundaries!
Set time blocks throughout the day. Work for 45 minutes – Go outside for fresh air 10/15 minutes repeat.
Find your rhythm and you’ll be a lot more effective undistracted.
- Schedule in things you enjoy and love and if you don’t know what that is yet experiment.
When we are having fun, we are present. In that moment nothing is more important than the fun.
Because of the fun we are having we become more playful and creative.
Which increases your energy and carries over to your perspective to challenges in life.
Sometimes our problem-solving needs creativity and the ability to think outside the box.
So, step away from the challenge do something fully engaging and get your cognitive juices flowing.
- Multitasking is the enemy of mindfulness.
Many people overthink the idea of mindfulness, so to simplify it I will explain the opposite.
Multitasking is jumping from task to task as quickly as possible and saying that you are multitasking.
You aren’t doing the two at the same time. You are just going from the computer to your phone back and forth.
The cost of this is that your brain has to readjust every time you shift focus.
Which is tiring and leads to overwhelm.
Mindfulness is the opposite.
It’s feeling the depth of what’s going on in the moment.
Focusing on one thing at a time which leads to effective thinking and calm.
Feeling the temperature of the coffee cup. Feeling how the coffee tastes on your tongue.
Listening to the sound of the birds in the morning. The temperature of the wind on your face when you step out the house.
Mindfulness is through your senses.
What you see, feel, touch, smell, and taste.
It's not what you "think!"
When you aren’t experiencing through your senses you are thinking steps ahead or in the past.
Both have a time and place.
But if you are never present and always thinking, thinking, thinking.
You lose perspective, mental clarity, and waste energy.
Take moments in traffic to be mindful of how you feel, how are you breathing. Deeply or shallow? Does it feel peaceful or stressful breathing that way?
This is why some people say they’ve automatically drove to their old workplace or to the wrong place without thinking.
Because they are thinking but they aren’t present.
When you are thinking you should be aware that you've chosen to do so.
- The last tip I’ll give you is to follow the 3.2.1 rule.
Don’t eat 3 hours before bed.
Don’t work 2 hours before bed.
Don’t watch screens 1 hour before bed.
We warm up for workouts.
So why not wind down for sleep?
This will massively improve the quality of your sleep.
It’s next to impossible to say to yourself, ok sleep now.
Prepare yourself for sleep by coming out of thinking and consuming mode.
So that when you want to sleep your mind and body is ready for it.
When you sleep better because of this you will be so much more focused and present the following day.
Which will make you happier and give you more energy.
This is how you recover properly so you can do more of what you want to do.
If you want my help implementing this whilst getting fit. Drop me a message I’d love to help 😊
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