A critical component of being an excellent performer is to provide yourself the time and space to recover from performing. Performing gets your stress response revved up; recovery provides a chance to cool down. Build recovery into your day, schedule it in your calendar if need be.
Ex-SEAL Pete Naschak notes that he was often better at recovery when he was deployed, because he was more deliberate about making time for it. “I was more focused on that time off when I was in Iraq,” he says. “Everything was focused, centered, and important, and there weren’t any distractions.” Recovery is more challenging in Pete’s civilian life, where there is more stuff going on around the house, work, and life in general. He emphasizes the importance of putting the effort into recovery. “When you have time off, is it really off?”
Recovery can be anything that gives you pleasure and peace while not activating your stress response: taking the kids for ice cream, cooking a meal with a partner, walking the dog, strolling through a park or the woods. These are all things that fit the bill, activities where there’s no pressure, judgment, competition, or anxiety.