Many of us have a mindset that performance in any area is an on and off switch. We work hard. We play hard. We have a belief that “we’ve got this” and that leads us into thinking we can skip requisite mental, emotional and physical needs. We keep going even when we should stop, rest and take care of ourselves. When we push our brain to its limit our well-being and performance suffer. We need to give our brain a rest from being constantly being switched on.
The way to address is through active recovery. Active recovery is different from passive recovery.
Passive recovery is the typical default—think cat videos on social media, Netflix, the glass of wine or scotch. While we all need to experience the joy of doing absolutely nothing (I love Netflix and a glass of wine too!) there is a difference between this type of passive recovery and active recovery.
Active recovery is easier than you think. It’s whatever feels best for you. If you like stillness you can consider box breathing. Breathwork is popular and is one of the simplest ways to relax the nervous system and refresh your brain with oxygen. If you prefer movement you can walk, hike or spend time in nature. Other ideas include restorative yoga or a creative activity that puts you in a flow state.
If you have trouble creating time for active recovery in your life, consider scheduling this for yourself. Most high performers are excellent at planning and organizing their work committments but forget to include space for rest. If this is the case, planning and scheduling recovery is a good way to get ahead of it.