Did you know that the performance demands of everyday work life is greater than that of trained professional athletes? According to Tony Schwarz and Jim Loehr in their book, Full Engagement, professional athletes train 90% of the time for the 10% that is spent performing. And they have an off-season of four to five months a year plus their careers span five to seven years. By contrast the average working person averages more than 40 hours a week over forty to fifty years without any significant breaks.
It is becoming more and more apparent that our health, happiness, performance and zest for life depends on being able to take breaks. These breaks are actually recovery sessions in order to balance our energy centers. As an energy system, the human body is expending energy on the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual level all the time. If we don’t stop to renew that energy, then we run out.
Athletes who focus as much time on managing their energy as perfecting their skills perform at higher levels than athletes who just focus on skill building. And, in case, you think this some new age woowoo strategy, consider that Flavius Philostratus, who wrote a manual for training Greek athletes in AD 170-245, maintained that periods of strenuous effort had to be followed by periods of rest.
So, here we are in our technologically advance society working hour after hour without a break, working year after year without a vacation – and when we go on vacation we take our laptops with us – working even more hours once we get home to care for our families, and we wonder why we are exhausted, short-tempered, filled with rage, self- medicating with drugs and alcohol and filling prescriptions at record numbers.
The solution is simple. Rest. Recover. Renew. After an expenditure of energy, we have to stop and let our energy fields recharge. It is that simple. No matter how much stress you are under, this simple act of stepping away and resting can lower your stress considerably.
Simple, however, is not always easy. And I know all the reasons why we can’t stop. I also know the consequences of not stopping. Change is hard but this particular change can make life so much easier in the long run. A little short-term discomfort can bring about wonderful long-term results.