Why You Should Slow Down for Optimal Health and Performance
As someone who has recently experienced burnout, I am aware of the importance of slowing down and not overworking your body or mind when you are trying to achieve optimal health and superhuman performance.
By trying to rush things and push yourself too hard, you can actually end up slowing down the process of whatever it is that you are trying to achieve in terms of your health and optimal performance, as when you burn out, you cannot function properly, and your mental and physical performance will not be optimal.
I am not the most patient person, and my husband reminds me often that I need to be more patient and slow down. And even though I know he is right, I still end up crashing and burning every now and then, like now, because I have spent two or three weeks basically working nonstop.
This is incredibly bad for your health. Stress ages you a lot faster. It increases your cortisol levels, which can make you gain weight. It can negatively affect cognitive performance, and your brain functioning can drop to around 50%, or at least that is how it feels in my case a lot of the time.
When you are rushed and you do not take time to relax and get enough sleep, your health will be affected, and your lifespan might even be shortened because of it.
One of the most frustrating parts of burning out is that it interferes with achieving optimal performance, as my brain cannot function properly.
Become More Mindful to Slow Down for Health and Optimal Performance
Mindfulness can be very powerful when trying to both slow down and achieve optimal performance in something at the same time. What often happens is if you have too many things going on at once, you are thinking of a thousand things at once (have too many tabs open in your brain), or you are trying to do multiple things at once that can also contribute to the feeling of burnout.
Being mindful, which is basically just focused awareness, and being able to focus on one thing at a time, being present in the moment, and being aware of what you doing while also being in a more relaxed state can help a lot in reducing stress and becoming your optimal self.
We often praise people who are very good at multitasking, but it is far better for your health and performance to live mindfully and to do things one at a time and move at a slower pace at times, because you will be less stressed.
Meditation is a great practice for being mindful. The more you meditate, the easier it will become to be mindful and to live in the moment, so that you do not get overwhelmed, and so that you do not burn yourself out as easily.
You can also just practice becoming more mindful, because it can be very difficult in the beginning, especially if you are anxious and you are prone to overworking yourself. You can practice being mindful by focusing on your food while you eat and being more mindful during that time, or being more mindful when you are holding your partner.
You can practice mindfulness by just going to a driving range and hitting a few golf balls and trying to focus on the task at hand (maybe mindfulness is the secret to optimal performance in your chosen sport). Another way you can practice mindfulness is by going on a walk and just noticing the surroundings and appreciating it. Maybe you can do some breathing exercises at the same time.
The more mindful you become in one or two tasks, the easier it will be to be mindful in other things.
Simplify Your To-Do-List for Optimal Health and Performance
If you have too many things on your to-do list, then you can start to feel overwhelmed.
If you want to prevent being burnt out and improve your health, maybe take a few things off your to-do list. Try to simplify your schedule. Ask yourself: “how can I make this easier?” That is something that I learned from Tim Ferriss. Whenever I feel burnt out and crash and burn, then I know it is because I have been trying to do too many things, and then I go back to the drawing board and I try to see how can I simplify things, which things can I cut out, and how I can make more time to relax and do the things that I enjoy.
This brings me to the next point:
Do Things You Enjoy for Optimal Health
If you want to prevent feeling burnt out, and if you want to reduce stress in general for optimal health, then making time to do things that you enjoy and to do things that help you relax is very important. Taking the time to enjoy life, to celebrate your victories, and to be grateful is very important. Maybe the balance in your life is off. If you are feeling burnt out, maybe you just need to spend a bit more time with friends and family.
Go see a movie, watch something entertaining instead of just something educational, give yourself time to explore and to have fun as well.
If you are more balanced and feel happier overall, then when you do have to work or do something important, you will be able to perform better, even if it is physically. If you have been overtraining, and now you have had to take some time to rest and recover, once you have done that, you will be able to perform better. From there on, you adjust your fitness programme, so that you do not over-train, and that you take enough time to relax and rest. You might even see that your overall performance will improve over time, as you will not have to take weeks to rest, but only days.
I hope that this blog post has at least made you realise that slowing down might need to become a priority for you if you tend to overwork or rush things.