Rest like the Best!

To improve performance, you are likely to apply some sort of challenge to “stress” yourself physically and psychologically, followed by a period of recovery and rest.

Too much stress without enough rest and you get injured, sick, and burnout. Meanwhile, training that is too easy and too much rest leads to complacency, boredom, and stagnation.

Authors of Peak Performance – Brad Strudel and Steve Magness found one thing in common with the most successful and enduring performers in sport and other domains: they oscillate between periods of stress and rest.

Stress + Recovery = Growth.

Stress+Recovery=Growth

This is a simple, but not necessarily easy equation to follow. For a start, many athletes are very intentional when planning for training but regard recovery (especially psychological recovery) as a good to have, rather than a priority. This is especially so when they are under pressure to perform.

As ironic as it sounds, recovery happens when we stop paying attention to our goals. Taking a break is not intuitive especially when we are under pressure but that’s when we MUST step away (and step back in thereafter).

So, what can we do to help ourselves recover both physically and psychologically?

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Unhelpful Thinking Styles

Cognitive distortions or unhelpful thinking styles refer to the way our minds convince us of something when it is most likely to be false or inaccurate. These false perceptions frequently perpetuate negative thinking habits, and they may cause serious damage to our confidence and ability to succeed.

Everyone experiences cognitive distortions to some degree, especially during times of stress. For example, an athlete under competitive pressure might be constantly distracted by thoughts related to how everyone will look down on him if he loses. A sales executive may conclude that she is a failure for not being able to meet the quarterly sales target.

There are different (but related) cognitive distortions, and these include: 

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Year End Reflection

As the year ends, we tend to be reflective and often spend time absorbing the good and bad moments that shaped us along the way.

It is a great time for us to reflect on the opportunities and challenges we faced in 2021 and consider how we can make the next year better.

“A lesson will repeat itself until learned…”

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However, reflection and planning can be a difficult process.

For some of us, we may simply be unsure where to begin while some of us may feel anxious and overwhelmed by what ifs, especially during these times of uncertainty.

“What if my efforts are going down the drain again?”

“What if the pandemic takes a turn for the worse again?”

“What if I am deemed a failure if my plans do not work out?”

These thoughts relate to events that are beyond our direct control and focusing on what we cannot control limits our confidence and leaves us feeling helpless and anxious.

To escape these feelings, we may end up avoiding reflection and planning altogether which is certainly not ideal.

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