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Rest, Recovery and Resilience

Thank you for inviting me last week and I hope you enjoyed the presentation. There was a lot of content discussed and as a general rule it is much more effective to make a few small changes and build new habits gradually rather than make major changes suddenly.

It is also very important to be awake to the possibility that we all automate behaviours over our lives and some of those are good for our energy, performance and well-being and others less so. The more you can automate positive habits the easier the whole well-being/performance/resilience challenge becomes.

One very important habit is not expecting perfection or superman/women performance. We are human and do not always have to be tough, working long hours and upbeat. It's ok to rest, take a break and make the odd mistake. We often learn successfully from mistakes. Elite athletes and performers respect their need for rest and relaxation...it boosts performance. Stress hormones are your friends. They energise us, provide focus and confidence and help us rise to challenges. They are also very powerful and will damage us if we overdo them. To recover from the power of the stress hormones your natural support mechanisms are sleep, exercise (movement), good nutrition and social engagement (your social networks at home and at work). Do not neglect them. Social media is not an adequate replacement for the social interaction we need when face-to-face. Remember the mental and physical breakdown experienced by Nathan...an Olympian with tremendous genes, discipline, sleep quality and nutrition. It was effective rest and relaxation with other humans that was missing.

Fatigue is an epidemic in or society...it need not be. If you don't wish to read through the resources in detail, here are the most common unconscious habits which can trip us up and increase or sustain fatigue...we are talking here of fatigue that is more than the normal tiredness which arises towards the end of the day. This tiredness is called 'sleep pressure' and is part of our nervous system's homeostatic resetting mechanism i.e. we feel tired to help us go to sleep to regenerate. The top 10 habits which increase fatigue:

  1. not recognising the importance of 7 hours or more good quality sleep...1% of the world can get away with less than this...are you in that 1%?

  2. confusing mental strength with resilience...two great qualities but mental strength can be overdone and deplete your reserves...this includes being superman or superwoman.

  3. always saying yes and avoiding conflict...this brings unnecessary additional stressors to us. Conflict is normal and does not have to be unpleasant.

  4. lack of exercise - 30 minutes of brisk walking is all that's necessary to help your body maintain and increase cellular mitochondria - our batteries.

  5. neglecting social networks...in work and in your home/social life. We are social mammals and use other humans to help us recover from stress. Include hobbies/me time etc. to help you recover. You will perform better at work by having downtime.

  6. using junk food to boost how you feel...it causes energy crashes and long-term health problems.

  7. using caffeine to push through tiredness particularly in the afternoon...it has a half-life of 6 hours so be careful with it past midday...it can affect the quality of your sleep..it stays in your system for 6 hours and then half again fir another 6 hours.

  8. allowing your email inbox to be your time management system...have a personal email policy that is part of your time management system.

  9. treating everything as critical...find a system that enables you to distinguish between critical/urgent and strategic.

  10. ignoring how your body feels...it is a great source of information and signals. Get in touch with your body and respect it.

For those who wish to study the whole subject of resilience and well-being in more detail this is the web-page to help refresh the learning from last week. It is designed so you can click through to the following:

Furthermore, here are our audio links to the relaxation exercises. Please click on the arrow and wait for the audio to begin playing (may take a few seconds). Please read the instructions for the breathing exercises (above) before listening to the downloads. It has important information about the nature of such techniques, the preparation you may find helpful and also safety guidelines for anyone who has experienced trauma/significant stress.

If you have any queries about the content or wish for any further information on anything that seems particularly relevant to you or your family please do not hesitate to email me mark@7futures.com or nicola@7futures.com

many thanks

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© 2012 7Futures Ltd. Please note that at 7Futures, our role is to help educate and encourage our clients to take positive responsibility for their wellbeing. We are not medical doctors and are not able to offer individual medical advice. We always recommend you should discuss with your GP or other medical professional before making any changes you hope will impact your wellbeing, or that of your current/future family.  7Futures Ltd offers generic information which is for educational purposes only. The information we provided is not a prescription system and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. As such our materials, videos products and communications are for general information purposes only and should not be read as a personal recommendation for specific changes in lifestyle behaviour, nutrition, or exercise. Please click here for a clear description of our services and the relationship with you as a client. You should not participate in any of our services until you have studied this link...it is for your benefit.