Some people don’t like their jobs and want to change careers. Others don’t like their jobs because there’s too much stress at work. If you’re in the second category, then making sure that you have active recovery periods every week is key. It can be a waste of time and energy changing jobs to avoid something like stress - because you could just walk into the next job and have even more stress there. In that case, you haven’t really solved the problem, you’ve just changed the location of where it happens.
The alternative is to learn how to deal with stress better - active recovery is one way to do this. In the context of work, I define active recovery as any method of disengaging in thoughts of work and actively engaging (mentally, physically or spiritually) in other areas of your personal life, that will allow you to have a mental break.
Here are some examples of what active recovery is NOT:
- Going home and complaining about work
- Watching TV and thinking about work
- Meeting friends socially and venting about work
So by doing these things, you’re never really finished work. You never get the mental break and it feels like you’re always there. But it’s worse than that still - you don’t get paid for it! As simple as it sounds… “when you work - work! And when you don’t - don’t!"
Here are some examples of what active recovery is:
- Going to an event, concert, gig or show
- Playing sports in a team or group environment
- Doing a hobby that engages your mind and body like reading, painting, arts or crafts
If you don’t believe that this will make it easier for you to deal with what’s going on at work - try it for a week. Plan to do some exciting activities after work each day and at the weekend. Then, see how you feel going back into work everyday. Does it change your mood or stress levels at work?
To find out more about this and how it’s relevant to the body - I asked my friend Daithi McCabe, who is a strength and conditioning coach. Daithi spends his time coaching professional athletes, training in the gym and studying everything from biomechanics to sports psychology, and this is what he had to say.
It makes a lot of sense. The stress has to go somewhere so they go back into your body. If your mind is not engaged in something that you enjoy doing outside work, it will often drift back to thought of work. But it doesn’t have to be that way...
Thanks for reading, Ronan.