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How To Tap Into Rest/Recovery Daily In The Midst Of Change?

Updated: Mar 14

When you're already working towards long-term systems and sustainability to incorporate rest/recovery into your personal/professional lives, it can be hard to be in the current state before all those efforts accumulate. So, consider this your in-the-meantime kit. Today, I'd like to introduce you to something I learned about when I was working with an ADHD coach. (Yes, these tools are helpful for neurotypical folk, tool.) These are 'brain breaks' and 'body breaks'. These help you recharge your batteries on a consistent, ongoing basis before depleting . They're an alternative to pushing past and pushing through your nervous system cues to one day 'catch up on' rest.

The invitation here is an important one: work with your body and your brain instead of against them. If you're a high performing leader managing a team, chances are that there's lots of emotional and mental labour involved as you help your people navigate through change, challenge, and opportunity. By practicing brain and body breaks consistently over time, you can accumulate rest/recovery in your everyday rather than waiting for the weekend, the vacation, or the day off.

Disclaimer: these aren't meant to be a substitute for necessary, extended periods of rest. They're meant to be a complement to long-term strategies to build rest/recovery into your definition of performance, sustainability, and success.

  • 'Brain breaks': activities that give you a break from thinking, analyzing, actively learning, and strategizing. Key idea: it's a break from thinking.

    • These are meant to give your mind a preventive break before overthinking or spiraling. They're also a helpful tool if your mind has already gone there and you need to disrupt the pattern. Need some ideas? Let's say you're preparing for a meeting or working on a report.

    • If you're at the office, maybe that looks like a five minute break to refill your water, doing a breath practice, grounding by noticing your environment, reading about something unrelated to your current task, or listening to music you love on your commute home.

    • If you work from home, it might look like visiting your pet, doing your dishes, dancing to a favourite song, or watering your plants.

  • 'Body breaks': activities that give you the chance to tune into your physical needs. When navigating high-stress environments, relationships, or experiences, it's particularly easy to lose track of your body's whispers until it screams.

    • Based on poly-vagal theory, an estimated 80% of the information telling your vagus nerve whether or not you're physiologically safe or unsafe comes from the body up.

    • These breaks are an invitation to treat yourself like a plant. Key question: have you had enough water, food, rest, and mental/emotional/purpose/physical nourishment?

      • If you're someone who loses track of time, these might look like working with a visual timer with timed focus time and break times

      • If you're someone who struggles with recognizing hunger cues, it might sound like setting an alarm to remember to eat, snack, and/or drink water

      • If you're someone who experiences visceral overwhelm/anxiety/fear, it might feel like hugging a loved one, going for a walk, taking a moment in front of your office window to breathe some fresh air, or setting up time to connect with a trusted person

For more on navigating change, challenge, and opportunity, check out existing blog articles!

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