Jacky Sherman

The Consultant's Consultant

07970 638857


Do You Get Enough Rest And Recuperation?

Every day, or just on holiday?



It's that time of the year when everyone is gearing up for their summer holiday break. When they return to the networking scene, the first thing we usually ask is if they had a good time ...

If you count down to your rest and recouperation, you'll get the benefits of the anticipation!

If you count down to your rest and recouperation, you'll get the benefits of the anticipation!

copyright: kiwitaonga / 123rf stock photo

Often, if you don't catch them that first week back, you get a wry comment along the lines of, "Holiday? That seems like a long time ago now".

Some may even go on about the amount of time it took to clear the emails on their return, although more frequently, with the joys of mobile technology most have checked their emails (and responded) whilst away.

"Is this just that wonderful English habit of enjoying a moan?"

I recently read some interesting observations from a couple of articles on the subject of rest and recuperation and the happiness factor of taking a break. Not a full review of the research on the subject, but what I read seemed to resonate with my own experience and observations.

Subjectively, people welcomed having a holiday however the maximum benefit seemed to be in the planning stage according to Jeroen Nawijn of Breda University.

He also found that whatever the holiday experience, it had little long term effect. A few weeks after the holiday people were no happier than those who had no holiday at all.

This brought back memories for me of my time in the RAF and the Chuff Chart. You know how it works; produce a calendar countdown to your holiday and cross off the days. The anticipation was everything!

That led me to thinking about the military's recognition of the needs for troops on active tours of duty to have rest and recupration (R&R). The interesting thing about this is the finding that proper preparation improved the benefits.

One study reported in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine identified five key components that needed to be met to get maximum benefit from the break:

  1. Mentally switch off from deployment and leave it on the battlefield

  2. Physical recovery with actually rest rather than doing something else strenuous or energetic

  3. Relax, both mentally and physically

  4. Having and allowing others to support you

  5. If the journey to and from the break is stressful it undermines the experience

The last point was also highlighted in the civilian holiday study quoted above.

Now, this all got me thinking. If holidays don't make us happier in the long term and people who need serious recuperation need preparation, maybe we should apply attention to these factors in our everyday civilian lives?

After all, unlike military people, we have more control over the stressful experiences we have every day. So how about using these as tips in your working life?

"Make room every day of your life
to have a holiday!"

And by that, I don't mean getting tanked up on pina coladas every day. What I do mean is build in the components mentioned above when work feels like a battlefield.

Book out a time in your diary every day called 'holiday' or 'R &R' and remember that anticipation is the high point of the experience. Put what you're going to do with that time and think in the morning how much you're going to enjoy it.

Mentally do something different, that is restful and relaxes you and includes other people to support you. Most importantly make the journey to and from work as pleasant as possible.

I remember when I used to commute to a highly stressful job, I used the car journey as a pleasant time. I stopped listening to the Today programme on Radio 4 which took me into work mode and listened instead to my favourite music.

On the way home I loved traffic jams as it was a time to practice my relaxation exercises. It might have been a little more stressful for the bloke behind me when I didn't close the gap quickly as the traffic started moving again, but hey, not my problem! Then when I got home I was in the right frame of mind to enjoy my family and get the support I needed.

"Of course that may not be enough!"

It might be time for a total change from a job you no longer love to one you do. A nice quote from Lana Del Rey sums this up nicely: "Doing what you love is freedom. Loving what you do is happiness".

So next time we talk, I look forward to asking you "did you enjoy your holiday?" and if you don't quite get what I'm trying to say here, call me on 07970 638857 and I'll explain it further.

Until next time ...


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07970 638857