We explored this question as part of a workshop on resilience recently.
So often we plough on because there is “too much to do”, “too many plates to spin” … “no time to stop…” Sound familiar?
The thing is, keeping going when we have exceeded our own resilience threshold is counterproductive. Our bodies get fuelled with the stress hormone cortisol. Whilst some stress is good for us (it gets us focused and energised), too much can leave us feeling distressed, frustrated, snappy, forgetful, overwhelmed (insert what happens to you!) and rather unproductive. Then, when we do finally stop, we wonder why we are utterly exhausted /ill/hit burnout. Our bodies tell us even when we try to override our minds.
The truth is, being busy doesn’t always equal productive. A Stanford university study* showed we are no more productive doing a 70-hour week than a 55-hour one.
If you find making time to stop a challenge, you are not alone. Only 8% of us feel we always show the same levels of kindness to ourselves as we would to others without any sense of guilt**
So, what do we recommend?
- Start by getting in tune with your own mind and body. Notice what tips you beyond stretched into distressed. Is it a particular kind of activity, a time of day, the company you are in. What happens to you? How do you act and what is it you are feeling? Where in your body is this showing up?
It looks different for everyone. Become aware of what it is for you so you can be pro-active about putting things in place to mitigate their impact (see point 2)
- Work on your resilience muscle. Here are 2 of our favourites: –
- Re-write your story. When we feel stressed, we lose perspective. Ensure your perceptions align with reality by checking out the accuracy of your automatic thinking. “Will the world really fall apart if this deadline is moved?”. Try writing down your beliefs or talking them through with someone you trust. Brené Brown describes this as writing “your sh**ty first draft”. Notice how many assumptions you might be making. It’s a great way to objectively look at what’s going on before taking action
- Get moving. This releases serotonin, the chemical that we associate with happiness and one of the most important chemicals for resilience. We love The Serotonin Twist from The P. I. Institute. Twisting your body from side-to-side floods your body with serotonin – as by the way does eating a banana or a bit of dark chocolate!
Resilience matters because it gives us the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties and to understand when we simply need to stop and take time to recharge our batteries.
If we are to create workplace cultures where everyone can thrive and grow, we need to prioritise building our resilience and support our colleagues to grow theirs.
Get in touch to find out more about how we are supporting our clients to work on their resilience muscle.
*Stanford University Study 2006
*CC Diagnostic research Mar 2022