Ultradian Rhythms And Making Waves

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In The Power of Full Engagement, James Loehr & Tony Schwarts tell us:

Nature itself has a pulse, a rhythmic, wavelike movement between activity and rest. Think about the ebb and flow of the tides, the movement between seasons, and the daily rising and setting of the sun. Likewise, all organisms follow life-sustaining rhythms—birds migrating, bears hibernating, squirrels gathering nuts, and fish spawning, all of them at predictable intervals. So, too, human beings are guided by rhythms. The concept of maximizing performance by alternating periods of activity with periods of rest was first advanced by Flavius Philostratus (A.D. 170–245), who wrote training manuals for Greek athletes. Russian sports scientists resurrected the concept in the 1960s and began applying it with stunning success to their Olympic athletes. Today, ‘work-rest’ ratios lie at the heart of periodization, a training method used by elite athletes throughout the world.

In Manage Your Day-To-Day, Jocelyn Glei tells us:

our bodies follow what are known as ultradian rhythms—ninety-minute periods at the end of which we reach the limits of our capacity to work at the highest level. It’s possible to push ourselves past ninety minutes by relying on coffee, or sugar, or by summoning our own stress hormones, but when we do so we’re overriding our physiological need for intermittent rest and renewal. Eventually, there’s a price to pay.”

Nice! We need to make waves between work and rest to honor the body’s natural ultradian rhythms.

Let’s honor our rhythms of rest and renewal so we don’t burn out and have the energy to do our deep work and meaningful work.

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