Soldiers adhere to something called a work rest cycle. Here are the guidelines you learn. For the duration of continuous work at metabolic intensities representing easy, moderate, or hard military tasks, the work rest cycle changes. Factors increasing that intensity might include carrying heavier rucksack loads, marching at faster clips, loading heavy objects, and the heat category. And so, if it’s only eighty degrees and you’re doing moderate activity like weapon maintenance or marksmanship practice, then your work rest cycle is fifty minutes on, ten minutes off. Not bad. But if the temp is higher than ninety degrees and you’re doing hard activity like field assaults or sand walking, then your work rest cycle is ten minutes on, fifty minutes off. Isn’t that interesting? For an organization like the military, it’s a surprisingly loving system. Truly honoring the humanity of its people.
OFF BUTTONING -- Deepening your personal recovery to match your professional intensity
That’s something all of us civilians could learn from. In a world that celebrates and rewards workaholism, all of us need to figure out our work rest cycle. The number will be different for each person, but the underlying principle will remain the same. The more intense the work, the deeper the recovery. And without a healthy ratio, our energy reservoir will burn down to nothing. We have to engage the off button, otherwise we'll perform poorly when we're on.
My coworkers always call me crazy for waking up at five in the morning everyday. But what they don’t realize is, those four hours before work are dedicated to self care. And my bedtime is early. Plus, on the weekends, I get ten to twelve hours of sleep each night. Because resting is a real skill that I had to teach myself. Contrary to popular conditioning, it’s not a form of giving in. It has taken me years to find my own personal equation, and frankly, it’s still a work in progress, as it is for most people. Maybe my high school football coach was right. During our brutal two a day practices in the summer heat, he would always remind us, rest before you get tired.
The key with the off button is not beating ourselves up about it. Forgiving our bodies and our lives for being what they are, despite our best attempts to control them. Are you matching your intense work with deep recovery?
Find greater forgiveness and love for yourself
Remain calm and balanced in a workaholic culture
Personalize a work rest cycle that preserves a healthy energy ratio
Return to your work refreshed, inspired and motivated to contribute