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Stress and Rest

I will start this month’s article with an explanation; if you have been trying to get hold of me for the last 2 weeks – I have been on leave, well-needed leave!

What an incredible start to the year Frontline has had.

We have set ourselves some lofty goals this year and we are meeting and exceeding targets across all departments including a heroic effort in March that saw us beat our previous best new business month ever by 33%!!!

To end the quarter on such a high was amazing and with that kind of effort, there was a lot of energy expended. So, the timing of the Easter holidays was very welcome indeed.

In my time off I spend a lot of time at the gym and I relistened to one of my favourite business books “Peak Performance” by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness. If you haven’t read or listened to it, I highly recommend it.

It draws similarities on how to get the best performance out of your body and brain by properly managing stress (and its corresponding hormone, Cortisol) and how stress should not always be seen as the enemy. In fact, stressing your muscles is how you make them grow bigger and stronger, so why not apply the same process to the brain?

After a period of high mental stress that paid off (or even if it didn’t), it’s important to take the rest, reset, learn, and then get back out there and go again. Just like after a hard gym session, you won’t see the full benefits unless you let your body recover, adding more stress on top will do more harm and lead to injuries, over-training fatigue, plateauing, and disillusionment with the task at hand.

Stress, when managed properly, is a powerful motivator that drives us to excel in work.

It can provide a sense of urgency and focus that helps individuals to prioritize and accomplish tasks efficiently - you’ve heard the phrase, “If it wasn’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.” And who hasn’t completely surprised themselves with the amazing quality of a last-minute all-nighter to get a paper handed in for a Uni or College assignment?

Chronic stress, however, is harmful. This is when a period of stress is followed by another and another with no meaningful rest period in between. Chronic stress is what leads to burnout, decreased productivity, and negative health consequences.

With 88% of UK employees having experienced burnout since the Pandemic, getting this stuff right is more important than ever!

Not to oversimplify but to avoid the negative effects of chronic stress, you need to incorporate regular rest and relaxation into routines. This can take many forms, such as exercise, meditation, or simply taking breaks after a period of “stress”.

The book ‘Peak Performance’ goes into great detail on how regular rest and relaxation can improve focus and attention, reduce anxiety and depression, and boost overall well-being.

In fact, the book and its ongoing supporting material show that individuals who prioritize rest and relaxation are often more productive and successful in the long run. By taking time to recharge, individuals can return to work with renewed energy and focus, allowing them to perform at their best.

For business professionals, incorporating stress and rest management techniques into either daily routines or monthly/quarterly cycles is critical for achieving peak performance. Some of us work best in sprints, where we are working hard for weeks at a time and then resting for longer. Some can break their days up using a Pomodoro timer.

Everyone works at a different cadence, but the principle of stress and rest remains the same. For me, the most effective stress management techniques are uninterrupted family time, vigorous exercise like gym work, and some lighter physical activity like golf or walking in nature.

So, remember stress and rest are both important factors in achieving peak performance in business and in life. By managing stress effectively and prioritizing regular rest and relaxation, individuals can maintain focus, productivity, and overall well-being, leading to long-term success and fulfilment.

If you feel like you are too busy to take breaks and you don’t get the chance to stress and rest, that means you have an efficiency or capacity issue my friend and those issues I can help you with.

Get in touch if you would like me to help you get more rest!

UK Country Director

Frontline Accounting

With over 10 years’ experience working with Accountancy Firms, BPO’s and Fintech’s like Intuit & Dext; Mark helps firms maximize efficiency and solve capacity issues with People + Technology.

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