backing off beats burnout: dirt path in wooded area

Backing Off Beats Burnout

Welcome to the final instalment in our SNAP series about Cadence, the key to high performance. Cadence is a simple, four-step approach to managing energy that works. Part one was about the first phase, predict. And we asked, “When are your Wimbledons?” When are the big events coming up for you, both professionally and personally? Part two was ‘prepare’: what small changes will you make to get ready for those events, and stay ready for the unpredictable stuff? We call that ‘building your bulletproof’. For part three, we talked about ‘perform’: getting it done, but respecting those red flags; making sure you’re not going too quick. Which leaves us with the final, perhaps most important phase, ‘recover’. Because backing off beats burnout!

Slivers of recovery

Now, by ‘recover’, I don’t mean big swathes of time, such as sabbaticals, long weekends, four day working weeks. I’m not knocking any of those things, either. I’m talking about small opportunities for rest that you can take throughout the day. We call these, ‘slivers of recovery’. And they could be a minute, ten minutes, whatever you can spare between tasks or meetings, for example. Personally, I like to get out walking in the woods with my dog. That’s a big sliver of recovery for me, a chance to take a moment to connect – both with Kami and nature! And there are all kinds of health benefits associated with this activity, often referred to as ‘forest bathing’.

slivers of recovery ideas

Energy radiators

So, a sliver of recovery could be a ten-minute brisk walk. If you also have a dog, it could simply be going over and giving them a stroke. In fact, studies show that human-dog interactions can help to boost oxytocin – also known as the happiness hormone. As a result, this can trigger stress-lowering responses such as reduced blood pressure and cortisol levels. And it’s not just dogs – we can get more oxytocin from human connection, too. Which is why another great sliver of recovery could be chatting to someone who lights you up. I believe that strong social relationships are the next frontier of wellbeing.

Alternatively, think about other things that light you up – we call these energy radiators (as opposed to energy drains). Perhaps breathwork or meditation might work for you. Or it could be as simple as daydreaming – just looking out the window and thinking of nothing in particular. 

The Aggregation of Marginal Gains

Although one, five, or even ten minutes doesn’t seem like much, it really can make a huge difference. Because backing off beats burnout. These slivers of recovery, when done consistently – every hour, two hours, or as frequently as you need – can have a huge impact on your ability to relax the nervous system, and prepare to go again. It’s all about the aggregation of marginal gains.

So, what will that sliver of recovery be for you? We’ve produced a tonne of content on slivers of recovery, but it really could be anything that relaxes you. One of my clients even found knitting between meetings to be a game-changer!

Interested in sharing the message of Cadence with your teams?

Leanne’s wellbeing keynotes are ideal for conferences, senior leadership meetings, and sales kick-offs. If you’re interested in having her along to talk at your next corporate eventget in touch.

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