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September 2019

Five tips for better rest and recovery

Five tips for better rest and recovery

Eight hours of sleep doesn’t guarantee sufficient rest and recovery in our hectic day-to-day lives. The speed at which we have to absorb new information and how our work days often leave us feeling scattered doesn’t help. A proactive stance toward rest and recovery is beneficial, just as it is with exercise and in other areas of personal development. Building our recovery routines actively and systematically develops our recovery skills and leads to long-lasting results.

When we talk about change, turning everything upside down all at once rarely leads to the best outcome. As several studies have concluded, micro-actions lead to lasting changes in behaviour better than extreme U turns. Building sustainable, healthy habits is key. But where do we begin when we want to add rest and recovery into our everyday lives?

A good place to start this journey is to avoid alcohol, junk food and negative stress. We should also pay attention to the quality of our sleep, physical activity and eating energising foods. In order to assume a proactive attitude toward recovery and mental well-being, we should also consider the following.

  1. Attitude and motivation

Sufficient recovery and rest requires that our motivation is well founded and based on genuine desire for change. Everything starts at the roots. If our roots aren’t grounded we risk falling during the first storm.

Commiting to change remains shallow if we don’t admit the necessity of change and accept that our well-being is at stake. Making changes without sincere commitment often leads to a temporary spurt and then we return to our old ways quickly. In order to find our inner motivation, we have to let go of outside expectations and focus on our personal needs. No one else can do this for us, we have to be responsible for our well-being first.

  1. Taking responsibility and letting go

What does being responsible for our well-being really mean? Be resposnible for our well-being doesn’t only mean owning our actions or accepting their consequences. Taking responsibility also includes our attitude toward the surrounding world.

Every day we choose how we react to morning traffic jams or an annoying colleague. The way we react is up to us.

When we understand and accept we can’t always affect our surroundings or other people, we can let go and stop using our resources on them. This enables us to focus on what’s important and relevant to us, and as a result it improves the balance of our day-to-day lives. 

  1. One step at a time

We don’t need to do everything all at once. In fact, we shouldn’t even try to. When we haven’t taken enough time to rest and recover, and our pace is based on maximising achievement, we often take on too much at a time. Overwhelming ourselves with too many things makes us ineffective, which in turn makes us feel even more overwhelmed. It quickly spirals into a vicious circle of insufficient rest, a heroic-like attitude toward achievement and inefficiency.

Today’s working life also requires more self-determination from employees than before. Individuals are increasingly in charge of their own work methods and schedules. The change in culture and attitudes has been so fast that leadership and management are also facing completely new challenges.

Timing your tasks into a calendar is a step in the right direction. By assigning slots for tasks we don’t have to try to remember everything all the time and can trust tasks will be completed in time, as long as we adhere to our calendars. It’s also easier to slip up on our tasks if they only exist in our minds or personal to-do lists. By using a shared calendar with our organisation our colleagues can see when we’re busy, and unnecessary interruptions decrease and coordinating our joint time becomes easier.

  1. Listen to yourself

Sometimes we just have to stop, or at least just slow down. Wearing yourself out doesn’t benefit anyone. Let’s remember to take a 5-minute break during the work day to do a breathing exercise. Let’s take a walk around the block and listen to relaxing sounds. Let’s run up and down the stairs to the office.

The best way add restful moments to our day to listen to our bodies and minds. Constant achieving and punishing yourself for not meeting someone else’s standards is useless. Sometimes that calm walk in the forest does more for your well-being than an hour-long gym workout. Let’s be kind to ourselves and do what feels right.

  1. Ask for help

If we reach a point where exhaustion and hopelessness feel like unbeatable obstacles, let’s ask for help. Signs of burnout include constant fatigue, a feeling of meaninglessness, loss of passion toward your work, decreased ability to take initiative and other stress symptoms. 

About 25% of us suffer from a burnout at some stage in our lives. The earlier we react, the easier it is to start healing. Sometimes just a good conversation with a friend can do wonders for our minds. At other times we may need help from a professional.

Letting go of being responsible for things we can’t affect is a commendable leap toward better recovery and a healthier balance. In addition, we have to have the courage and will to prioritise the well-being of our mind. No matter where we are in life, which field we work in, the sufficient rest and recovery of our bodies and minds is a prerequisite for our well-being, ability to work and coping with stress.

AlvinOne is a personal tool for employees to track their well-being. AlvinOne’s machine-learning algorithm predicts future risks. The AlvinOne Health Analysis depicts users’ current state of health and provides feedback on how they can improve it. AlvinOne may also send its users recommendations to use services offered by the employer  based on the results from the AlvinOne Health Analysis. Alvinone provides anonymised group level analytics for HR and management to support data-driven decision-making. Book a demo here.

Author: Johanna Varje