Anja Van Beek
The year is swiftly coming to an end, and the festive season break seems like a glimmer of hope – an opportunity to replenish and refresh our energy reserves.
I frequently call high achievers “corporate athletes” – people who recognise the balance between stress (energy spent) and recovery (energy renewed).
How well we take care of our body affects how well we perform under pressure. To be truly effective in our professional endeavours, we must first make sure we have the necessary energy to leave a lasting impression.
Moreover, when you take proper time off, it will give you a clearer understanding of how you spend your time every day. There’s a good reason why so many individuals think of quitting their jobs while on holiday. Taking a break from your daily routine can be exactly what you need to make a big decision. I am not saying you should quit your job while on holiday, but it is a really good time to reflect on the past year, and what worked and didn’t work for you.
Think of this holiday season as an opportunity to replenish your energies. Being a corporate athlete is an approach that understands the importance of alternating between exertion and rest; rather than implying a constant push for top performance.
Our bodies need repair, restoration and care because they are not machines. We need to protect our own energy reserves, much as a racing car driver wouldn’t risk depleting the fuel tank. Resting well and on purpose is not a luxury – it’s essential to maintaining high performance.
Studies have indicated that getting enough sleep can increase one’s resistance to anxiety and sadness. Researchers at the University of York conducted this study, which shows that prolonged stress is a significant risk factor for a variety of mental health conditions such as pathological anxiety and depression.
To build your resilience during the holiday season, embrace the power of movement. We often refer to resilience as an emotional muscle – and exercising it will increase your capacity to deal with everyday stress.
An essential part of the corporate athlete’s toolset is using retrospectives at the end of projects. This habit of reflecting is critical for teams to identify what they need to do differently going forward.
The purpose of a retrospective is to reflect on previous work completed, identify patterns in the ways of working (good and bad), and decide what is important moving forward.
The aim is to focus on what the team will do differently – especially what they want to improve.
Similarly, you can consciously reflect on the past year and decide what you choose to do differently next year.
Take good care of yourself during the holidays, replenish your energy, and return prepared to take on the opportunities and challenges the coming year has in-store.
* Van Beek is a talent strategist and executive coach