What are your go-to strategies to maintain resilience when events demand extended schedules over several days or more? In conversations with executives and friends lately, this idea has been surfacing frequently. We are trying to cram more and more tasks and events into the same 24-hour day we’ve always had. Especially when we are preparing for an event like a wedding, a move, a conference or training event, taxing ourselves beyond our normal output can be exhausting. We can easily deplete our physical and mental resources to the point of illness or where we have to take extended downtime to recover.
On teams, depletion can swiftly devolve into irritability, blame and toxicity. None of us has access to our best individually or collectively in a state of depletion. With a little preparation, however, we can create resiliency strategies for those periods of extra stress and more demanding schedules. Here are a few ways to keep resilience strong:
- Pacing — Professional athletes and dancers learn how to pace themselves so that during training, performing and recovery periods they are adjusting habits to maximize effectiveness. Many of us in the corporate world haven’t yet learned the value of recovery periods. For example, if your flight gets in at 1 am Monday morning, after a grueling week it might be wiser to take Monday off for a recovery period so you return to the office fresh on Tuesday.
- Hydration – Theoretically we all know the importance of drinking plenty of water, but unless you or someone close to you has become dehydrated to the point of shaking, nausea or fainting, you might not realize its true importance. Particularly after flying for several hours, make sure you drink amply.
- Eating for Fuel – I’ve frequently seen conference attendees load up their plates at the buffet line, then by mid-afternoon have to fight off sleepiness. Eat to be well fueled, not for entertainment.
- Movement – Sitting for long periods of time is unnatural. Try to incorporate walking, stretching or some kind of movement every hour or so. I sometimes stand in the back of the room at conferences, in order to stretch and give my back a respite from sitting in uncomfortable chairs.
- Take Time to Refresh – It might be more beneficial to take a long walk than hit every conference session. Do what you need to do to feel energized and whole.
- Portable Rituals – If you normally start your day with meditation, prayer or yoga, keep that up on your business trip so that you are replenishing your mind and spirit.
- Play — Shifting focus to something fun, where we get to be open, free, without the weight of responsibility, even for an hour, can be tremendously restorative and allow the fresh energy to flow through us in a way that gives us access to new thinking.
- Rest – Invitations to have late drinks with colleagues can be tempting, but make sure you leave room for ample rest on a multi-day gathering. Even stepping outdoors for 10 minutes can be refreshing and help you reset.
We can also build psychological resilience with some practices around fostering a positive mental attitude and having a network of loving support. Learning to be open and flexible regarding change helps us move nimbly through a changing landscape at work and at home. No one else knows what each of us requires to be energized and optimistic.
Build your own strategies for resilience and practice them until they are engrained. Don’t allow raised eyebrows to rob you of wellness routines that allow you to be resilient. Some opt for punishing schedules, and they have that right. You get to set healthy boundaries for yourself.
We talked about this in how it relates to team resilience in a recent ManagerMondays session. Here is that link.
Teri Johnson is the founding partner for Personal Best Partners, a company that helps business and civic leaders build teams that perform at their fullest potential.