Seeking the Peak: Taking Time to Regenerate and Prevent Burn-Out


All right. We are closing in on the middle of week 3 of my training for “Seek the Peak” on July 4, 2010. The journey thus far has not been easy. I am still in recovery from my Olympic experience and am integrating back into a more regular work schedule.

Prior to the Olympics I was seeing clients six days a week, with little time to train or put into business development. This was meant to make up for the time I’d be away from clients during the two-week break for the Olympics. I also booked appointments from 10 AM to 4 PM on days between my shifts at Whistler Olympic Park.

This schedule was wearing me out and making me less motivated to attend to clients, my needs, the needs of my family and the needs of my business. It also put Lifemoves on something similar to a simmer, where we were content do things “as is” because it was working. This was opposite of the standards I put forward in my head.

A part of physical training that is often forgotten is regeneration. If you forget about recovery and taking breaks, you will end up burning out in business or over-training. Some of the symptoms are general malaise, lack of appetite and lack of motivation. Coming back on March 1, I felt that my time was in as high demand as it was in January. I had several new clients and not much time to get them integrated or to take care of our current clients.

Getting into a depressive state is something I am highly aware of, so I know when to use strategies to turn those moods around. After the excitement and energy burn of the Olympics, along with working 6-7 days per week, I found that I felt general malaise, I was unmotivated, I was paying less attention to detail and was not delivering what I was capable of. This required a big shift in scheduling and my use of energy. I now think more in terms of energy management rather than time management and I incorporate regeneration strategies.

I could feel myself slowly starting to slip into a possible depressive episode. I knew this had to change so, at the beginning of March, I set a goal of racing Seek the Peak in July. I altered my work schedule and took greater control of my sleep cycles.

Part of what I discovered and am now paying close attention to, is how much energy I have and the maximum work loads I can handle before I need a break. I am in control of my schedule and my commitments. I can say no as easily as I can say yes.

Moving forward from April, I am looking at the number of hours I work on a daily basis as well as my total during the week (In athletic training, this is called Total Volume). Carl Pederson, Physiotherapist, once said in a workshop to “incorporate recovery” every day; this includes physical, mental, emotional and nutritional recovery.

I started the past few weeks with physical recovery, e.g., stretching, light cardio and getting the proper amount of sleep. Tuesdays and Thursdays are long, full days with clients, so I train with light cardio, such as walking and stretching. The other five days of training are more intense and every four weeks I take a recovery week with less volume and less intensity. Every eight weeks I am also adding a massage.

This week, I am working on my nutritional recovery strategies which I will cover in another post. When considering emotional recovery, think about investing time in family and friends, reading a book or perhaps doing something spiritual. I am finding that doing something physical that I enjoy also connects me with my emotional recharging.

After each bout of training, I feel invigorated, happy and proud that I accomplished one more training session.

Remember, take time to add recovery to every day. Take breaks away from work, turn off your phone/Blackberry. Get off the grid for a little while. Have a nutritious, mindful snack. Manage and treat your body properly and it will perform at its peak.

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