I recently had the pleasure of talking to a group at Deloitte with regards to the need for recovery when training in sport and how this is directly relevant to your working career (even if it is already sport).
The talk was part of a presentation by Rob Stephenson about Heart Rate Variability and measurement of stress in the workplace to help prevent.
In summary I aligned the recovery I would have after a race (say the 10k last weekend) in the following few days/week to that of having just closed out a busy end to a quarter or project at work.
Both put you and your body under stress so in the same way I would have some easy run sessions, stretch, a massage over the following few days the same should apply in the workplace (just replace the run session with an easier day in the office, perhaps a massage or maybe even do some exercise).
One thing that seemed to resonate with the audience was the need to have a culture and environment where this is promoted. Personally speaking my running coach, Jonathan Davies, promotes this in the same way my employer at Passle does too.
Here are a few of my own tips to help mitigate stress at your workplace:
- Manage high periods of intense of work with necessary down time after I.e. time off, or shorter days
- During high periods of intense work try and take time off during the day to walk outside, perhaps take the long way round to retrieve your lunch. I also find this useful to just refresh my perspectives on the work I am doing!
- Start your day with a simple task (I favour emptying the dishwasher) and try to resist the urge to check your phone/tech for the first 30 minutes (or when convenient)
- Build any recovery in with your team to help accountability amongst each other and also look out for those around you who might need support
- Be understanding that the work needs to actually be done!
- Do not neglect your personal relationships and if these have been stretched make sure you go back to a healthy position when the stressful period is over. Walks and chatting is a good way to readdress the balance.
- Keep talking! As soon as you struggle to talk then it should be a red flag and slow down.
- Keep a near term and long term goal in mind so when you have a hard day you know what you are aiming for.
I was in a high-pressure role and I lacked the tools to understand and manage the prolonged stress I was experiencing. I eventually got to a breaking point and burned out. Luckily, I had a very special mentor who helped me realize that I needed to focus on my personal well-being and recovery from burnout. Then she helped me define my professional goals and truly discover who I wanted to be. That’s when I put together the business case for investing in well-being and brought it to Deloitte leaders. In 2015, I became Deloitte’s inaugural Chief Well-being Officer. Since then, I have been working to empower Deloitte’s people to make their well-being a priority and to focus on their body, mind, and purpose.