*Reposting* Now is the time to recharge if we can free ourselves from the undercurrent of stress and anxiety this pandemic causes on our psyche.
In our modern world today, this turbo-charged rat race we call daily existence, our schedules are so busy we rarely come up for air. Aside from the random vacation or fantasy of a sabbatical (good luck with that), it is becoming increasingly difficult to find the time to decompress, feel fresh and rejuvenate in our hectic lives. The tragedy is, even when we do make the time, we are too wired to our computers and smart phones to reap the benefits as many of us have lost the ability to fully disconnect. This makes it all the more important we proactively take the time to recharge our batteries on a daily basis, especially during the demanding work week.
Studies show that we can only commit ninety minutes to two hours max of intense concentration before requiring a break. Everyone has a tipping point in which they lose focus, burn out and feel emotionally drained. And yet, in the capitalistic capitol of the world where we are all chasing the almighty dollar, often the workforce is required to go 8+ hours without a breather. Maybe the Euros had it right all along, with their numerous espresso breaks, three hour lunches, power naps, and smoking sessions. Our solution is to grab another frappucino, wash it down with a Monster drink and get back to the grind.
But companies are finally starting to take notice of these diminishing returns at the workplace. So much so, they are proactively evaluating their employees’ lifestyles with aggressive Corporate Wellness programs. As these continue to become more fully embraced at the workplace, there has been a gradual shift in the nature of the survey questions posed by the employer. Of course, it is critical to capture high-risk health factors like smoking and diabetes and introduce programs to manage these risks as they are the low hanging fruit to a healthier employee population. But many Wellness campaigns are now taking a more holistic approach by asking “softer” questions that cast a far broader net. They focus their attention on how their employees feel, how they manage stress or reduce anxiety, their exercise activity, sleep, diet and nutrition, family relationships, etc. The generic, worn out concept of Wellness is slowly transitioning to the more all-encompassing Wellbeing that evaluates the full spectrum of the 24/7 lifestyle and probes much wider.
But before you start believing your employer has become benevolent and altruistic, recognize there are serious financial implications here that affect the bottom line. Lifestyle choices can adversely impact tardiness, absenteeism and productivity far more than previously thought even though they are more easily disguised. As companies delve deeper and subsequently implement targeted solutions at the workplace – sponsored walks, onsite gyms, psychotherapy, free massages and healthier food choices – it can be a win/win for both employer & employee.
But we cannot, and should not, solely rely on our employer to help us recharge by introducing healthy concepts. At an individual level, we must all take ownership and empower ourselves on our personal wellbeing. We need to be accountable to manage our own downtime to enjoy a temporary escape to clear our heads from the daily challenges we are bombarded with. Many of us do reward ourselves by carving out breaks, but the sad reality is we don’t disconnect, our minds still racing as we walk & talk at the park or tweet nonstop on a coffee break (please read Disconnect to Connect).
The mind will ultimately prevail and find a way to recharge if we are unwilling but only if necessary by hitting the wall. The good news is you don’t have to wait until you reach depleted levels if you introduce a formal recharging process into place – short, brief respites that can offer greater sustainable energy levels and manage stress better. I would argue it should even be scheduled in, multiple times a day, especially during the work week when stress levels can run high. These can be short mini-breaks like a ten minute power walk, playing music, meditating or reading a chapter or two in a book. It’s obviously an escape; a brief interlude from the chaos around you. But the important thing is it is how YOU want to spend that precious little time and mindfully being present in the moment. If your mind is whirling at warp speed about a project due tomorrow as you circle around the lake, you’re not fully recharging your batteries (but still worthwhile as the exercise can do wonders). Many feel the time taken away from others to focus on ourselves is wrong but don’t feel guilty or shameful of this as taking care of your needs is not selfish or self-serving. It’s self-love. If you take better care of yourself, you are better equipped to help others and manage the overall challenges of the day.
It is said you can judge one’s true character in how they choose to deal with adversity. But the essence of the person may also be reflected in how they manage their own recharging process to optimize their wellbeing: How they take care of themselves to maximize their potential and be the very best they can be. Make it a personal mandate to think about the creative ways you can recharge and commit to fitting it into your daily routine.
I wish for a deep sleep, a recovery of the richest kind, to once more make me shine. ~Vittorio, 1998~