We recently heard acclaimed author and high performance coach Mark McKeon present on some key Steps to Resilence.
His presentation was remarkable and I’m pleased to share some of the keypoints that I learnt.
Having stress in your life isn’t really the problem. The true problem is when you don’t take the time and opportunity to recover from stress.
We all know by now that stress can lead to a lot of medical problems. It can lead to headaches, obesity, and depression. It also increases the risk of heart disease. Stress isn’t just mental and emotional; it causes an overload of stress hormones and adrenal fatigue.
Unfortunately, this well-known fact about stress has led some people to the mistaken belief that stress should be avoided. They think stress itself is the problem. But stress is pretty much a natural part of life. It’s a sign that you’re challenging yourself and facing your problems in life.
So What is the Problem?
The problem isn’t stress. The real problem is when you don’t know how to deal with it. What you need to do is to enable yourself to recover from stress, and for that you have to be resilient.
Many people know that resilience is crucial, but they’re not aware of what true resilience is all about. They think that it’s about resisting pressure by being strong. But that’s not really true.
True resilience is accepting that life and work are full of challenges, and that these challenges don’t leave us unaffected. These challenges do affect us, and you can’t pretend otherwise.
What you then need is a good set of skills to help you deal with these challenges. You need a strategy so you can bounce back. You need a sustainable plan that won’t wear you out. You can’t rely on unsustainable methods by simply drinking a lot of coffee or taking drugs to help you deal with everything.
Four Steps to True Resilience
So how do you become truly resilient? Here are some concrete steps you can take from Mark McKeon so you can better bounce back from the stress that you face each day.
- Don’t isolate yourself. People are the ultimate support you can receive to help you deal with stress. Take some time to interact with a friendly voice and a supportive shoulder. Having family and friends to share your life eases your burden and enables you to recover better.
- Maintain your “no zones”. These are the short term breaks you reserve for yourself, during which you can fully escape from your responsibilities. A “no zone” can be a full-4 hour block of time that you devote to other enjoyable activities that is not work-related. It can be about playing sports or just binge-watching your favourite TV show.
- Sleep well. This is another popular way to deal with and recover from stress. You can tire yourself out when you go to bed, but you need to learn to clear your mind of work matters when you try to go to sleep.
- Take a holiday. Companies (or at least the good ones) offer vacation time for good reasons. In fact, some of them insist that you get a vacation. If you don’t, in the long run you’ll just burn out.
Stress can lead to adrenal fatigue, and it gets worse when you don’t have a sustainable plan to deal with it. But you can sustain peak performance as long you remember that recovery is the most effective factor in dealing with stress. Taking a deserved holiday without guilt, sleeping well, and relishing your “no zones” are all ways of recovering. Isolation is also stressful, and having the support of friends and family is a crucial element of recovery.