What about a time out?

Reading is one of my favorite time outs Photo Etienne Girardet on Unsplash
Reading is one of my favorite time outs. Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash.

My new training plan


This week I started a new training plan to run 5k in 30 weeks. Yes, it’s a slow plan, but it suits me. It’s 3-4 training workouts a week, courtesy of my new Garmin watch. So what’s all this about a time-out, then? Time-out is an essential component of any training plan. I’ll tell you why. 

Any training plan needs time-outs incorporated into it. Our body needs recovery time to heal from the stress of the workload we’re putting on it. I’d go as far as saying that the times out are when the progress occurs when your muscles and nervous system recuperate from the stress and rebuild new cells. 

Then there’s life. Outside of the training itself, work, parenthood, household chores, and the like. In my case, but I’m sure it’s the same for some of you, there are also other demanding physical activities like climbing, or the gym or hiking, and swimming, for example.

All these activities demand energy and concentration, so if you don’t factor into your schedule some time out, you face a real risk of burnout.

Burnout is a real thing 

I know this because I’ve been there quite a few times. In the creative process, burnout is common, especially in the circus, where you work with your whole being, physically, emotionally, and mentally doing creative work.
Think about it; creation demands a lot of energy. You are making something that did not exist before, shipping it, and putting it to the test. That’s high-level stress, no matter how you look at it. 
It’s challenging to plan a creative process because the unknown is more than you know in this kind of work, and it has to have its place – the unknown. Facing it is never easy. So in the five stages of the creative process is the inherent “Incubation,” phase, where you let go of your idea and let your subconscious work on it while taking a necessary time out. (Graham WallasThe Art of Thought.)

Nevertheless, there’s always too much to do. Not all of us are free to take a time-out unless you are working at Patagonia, and you can go surfing if there’s a good wave

So burnout becomes a real risk to mitigate in everyday life. 

“In 2019, the world health organization classified burnout as a medical condition, defining it as “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed,” says Brad Stulberg in his book The Practice of Groundedness.

What does a real time-out look like?

A time-out is exactly what it sounds like: stopping what you are doing and replacing it with rest or doing something else, anything that demands different levels of concentration and effort.
For example, if you work on the computer for an hour, which in my case can be pretty exhausting, set yourself a reminder or a cooking timer; if you happen to be old-fashioned. Stop when it goes off, stand up, move around, have a cup of something that you like, talk to a friend or go out for a 10 -15 minutes walk. 
Anyone can take this kind of time-out anytime and anywhere. You can be creative about it. 
There are two crucial points to remember:
1. Move – change the position of your body in space; that’s a must. If you were sitting, stand up and walk; if you were walking or running – sit or lie down. Whatever you were doing, do the opposite regarding your body position and energy expenditure in space. 
2. Change your mind – meaning the kind and level of concentration demanded of you. If you focused for a while – stare into space aimlessly. There’s a lot to say about the benefits of staring into space aimlessly, but I won’t go into that now. Just change the kind and level of your focus and concentration.

The key concept here is to change and make a difference in how you are being in the world every so often. 

How often – depends on you. For me for example, more than an hour on the computer, is detrimental to anything I’m doing on it. So I try to keep my working blocks to less than that and have breaks of other things often.

 What does it look like for you? Let me know in the comments below.

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it can be good for you

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