I came across an article recently which was talking about the idea of ‘deload’ phases in our lives. The idea is quite simple: building phases into your life that allow for, or support, recovery and/or give you space for more creative thinking. The article explored ways to do this each day – short, daily phases – as well as over longer periods such as quarterly, yearly etc.

I recognised almost immediately that I had, without knowing it, done exactly this late last year. After a decade of hard work, focused very intensely on my career, and following the arrival of 2 children, I was, frankly, worn out. So, I decided to scale back my work hours to 3 days per week and spend more time with my kids and myself. That was 8 months ago and I have to say that without doubt, it was the best decision of my life.

When I stopped working full time, the improvement in how I felt was almost immediate. And drastic. My sleep improved, my engagement with my kids improved, my exercise performance improved, to mention but a few.

It has also given me space to develop creatively with my coaching business. My mental sharpness returned and I have a wealth of new ideas – almost daily!

Removing the pressures that came with my full time role has allowed me to enjoy ‘deload’ phases each week and also to include a longer one at this stage of my life – mid-career, with 2 small children. And, it is without doubt, paying dividends.

So while periods of mild stress are certainly good for growth and development, it is clearly, in my experience, of huge benefit to take time to deload as well. In the same way as our muscles, it is during the periods of recovery (deloading) that we experience growth. So, take your foot off the accelerator from time-to-time – you’ll be grateful you did.