On the 3rd Saturday of every month, my gym replaces the regular boot camp classes with “Rest & Recovery”. The loud rock music gets swapped out for relaxing, instrumental melodies, everyone grabs a yoga mat, and then we stretch and foam roll for one full hour. The following Monday, trainer Tre is back to ‘stupid hard’ workouts and pushing us to our limits to reach new goals. (Don’t believe me? See for yourself.)
Here’s the thing; these aren’t ‘days off’. Eating Taco Bell and binge-watching Netflix all day isn’t an acceptable replacement for a Rest & Recovery class. The purpose is to stretch and roll your muscles so that they become loose and relaxed, decreasing your risk of injury. It is a very specific type of physical activity designed to ward off mental burnout and improve your workouts in the weeks ahead.
Burnout isn’t just an issue in the fitness world.
Small business owners, C-Suite Executives, and entry-level employees alike often work to the point of burning out. We all know how it feels: the to-do list constantly gets longer and the work-day somehow seems to get shorter. And even when you know there’s more to be done, you just can’t muster up the energy to go that extra mile. It’s a never-ending cycle that leads to self-doubt, frustration, and ultimately, decreased productivity.
You need time to rest & recover.
Cliché “motivational quotes” like the ones above are deceptive. Obviously, you need to work hard. Who in the world has been successful without hard work?! But that isn’t the full story. You’re not a robot, you’re a human. And in order to reach new goals in your professional life, you need to supplement your ‘stupid hard’ work week with focused rest.
Combat burnout with a professional recovery day.
To be the best business owner, executive, or employee you can be, here are my 5 tips for creating a professional ‘Rest & Recovery’ day so that you can ward off mental burnout and make your hard work count.
1. Pick a day.
You’re never going to ‘find’ time. You have to make it. Your recovery day could be the first Friday of every month, every 20th day, or just close your eyes and stick your finger on your calendar. There is never going to be a perfectly convenient time to set aside an entire day for recovery, so you just have to pick one and stick to it.
2. Clear your schedule.
Make it virtually impossible for anyone to schedule a meeting with you during your designated recovery day. Create a recurring event on your calendar that lasts from 8-5 (or whatever your typical work hours are). Work from home instead of at the office. Turn your cell phone to Do Not Disturb. Just do whatever works best for you to switch from ‘work’ mode to ‘rest’ mode.
3. Find the activities that make you feel recharged.
Like I said before, this isn’t just a day off. The activities you choose to do should:
- Relate to your line-of-work or industry
- Improve your professional skills or work-life
- Not be deadline-based (that’s just called work!)
- Make you feel relaxed, recharged, and more connected to your professional goals
Personally, I love reading marketing blogs, looking through Facebook Groups for small businesses, and taking time to organize my Google Drive. (Yes, organizing truly does make me feel relaxed!) None of these are tasks or projects required for my job, but they still make me feel more connected to the world of marketing and prepared to do my professional work better.
You could also learn something new about your industry, take an online seminar, research jobs you might want to apply for, or set up a coffee date with a leader in your profession.
4. Do them!
Not every professional recovery day has to be the same. It’s totally okay to spend this month’s day focused on improving your writing skills, while next month may be spent learning about the newest innovations in restaurant technology. Take some time to prioritize what this month’s recovery day is all about, then do it!
5. Encourage others to join in.
Imagine how much more pleasant the workplace would be if everyone felt less stressed and more motivated to do their best work. If you think your co-workers, employees, friends, etc. would benefit from a professional recovery day, tell them about it! Share this post with them, ask them to join yours, or make your recovery days a department-wide effort.
What are some of the activities that make you feel recharged during your professional recovery days?