Resilience is a quality we all admire and want more of. We believe we can develop it by simply working harder and longer. Burning the midnight oil, going without sleep. Pushing ourselves more. We associate resilience with endurance. We see it in the world of sport especially. Training harder, trainer longer, fighting through fatigue and pain.
But some business analysts now say that we are fundamentally misunderstanding the nature of resilience and how to cultivate it. They say, in fact, that endurance is precisely not what resilience is. It is, in fact, what depletes our resilience.
More Work, More Rest
Developing resilience certainly does involve working hard, but then stopping and taking time to recover and recharge. Then starting again. If we spend too much time in the working hard zone without taking the time to recover, we risk burnout. The longer we work without rest, the more energy we need to muster just to keep going. And this leads to exhaustion. The harder we work, the more important it becomes to make sure we get rest. More work requires more rest. The rest, in other words, is just as important as the work.
To build resilience at work, you need to recover both at work and outside of work. Internal recovery is the break periods you take during work. This is when you focus your attention on something different or focus on a different task to give your mind time to build up the energy again that has been depleted from your first task. Outside of work is after work, days off, and holidays.
So, you need to give yourself the fuel to be resilient by building in these recovery and recharging times during the workday and outside of work as well. During work, you can do things like getting away from the electronics for a short time, or going out for lunch instead of eating at your desk.
You should also take all of your vacation and holiday time because this is necessary to recover and recharge as well.
The key when you take a break is to allow your mind to depressurize. You are not really taking a break if you move from one stressful activity to another, even if the recovery activity is not connected to work. You need to give both your mind and body a rest.