Quiescence - The secret to recharging your batteries
December 08, 2021
As I sat waist deep in the clear, warm waters of the Caribbean on a beach in Cancun, Mexico, the gentle waves washed the sand I was creating first up towards the beach, then out towards the open ocean.... back and forth.
The only thoughts on my mind that third day of my vacation were how beautiful the weather was, what we might choose for dinner that evening, and marveling at how easily the two cream colored sand stones turned into finer sand as I rubbed them together, creating two perfectly flat facing surfaces, until they both wore down to nothing in my hands under the water.
Worries about work, paying bills, current events, or how my favorite sports team was doing were a distant, all but forgotten part of my tranquil existence on that beach.
Dr. Andrew Newberg, author of the book Principles of Neurotheology, would describe my experience on the beach that day as "quiescence", which is a function of the autonomic nervous system that serves to calm us down and rejuvenate our energy stores.
From the Latin "quiescere", to become quiet.
1. Marked by inactivity or repose, tranquilly at rest, inactivity or dormancy.
2. A function of the autonomic nervous system that serves to calm us down and rejuvenate our energy stores.
Since that Cancun vacation many years ago, I've created as many opportunities as possible to maximize my "quiescence" in order to rejuvenate my body and mind, and as a small business owner, avoid the burnout that comes from the relentless stress, strain and overwhelm of running my business.
In fact, making time to rejuvenate is an essential component of personal and professional freedom, but with a "chicken and the egg" dichotomy.
You need freedom to maximize your rejuvenation time, but without rejuvenation time, it's very challenging to do all that's necessary to maximize your freedom.
So what can you do?
Time Is Never Given
We've often heard the saying, "you have to take time off because no one's going to give it to you."
As the person calling the shots, and the ultimate decision maker, you'd think that the owner of a business could decide when and how often to take time off, away from the business, to unplug and rejuvenate.
However, those of us who are business owners, and even those who work for business owners, know this is all too often not the reality.
But it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, it shouldn't be that way.
You may not be able to take time off (I mean more than just the weekend) next week or even next month, but if you plan ahead far enough into the future, you absolutely can take time off to rejuvenate for three to four days, or longer if you need or simply want to.
My goal each year is to take a minimum of 3 to 5 (or more) consecutive days off every 6 to 7 weeks, and I've already blocked out those times on my calendar for 2022, many, many months in advance.
This setting aside of time on my calendar protects those days from getting scheduled over. Additionally, if I do schedule something before or after the planned days off, I always try to ensure those activities won't pose a threat to getting away, or put pressure on me to return prematurely.
How my rejuvenation time will be spent is not always planned far in advance, but just knowing that "a break" is on the way, and never too far off, always gives me something to look forward to as I power through challenges and rough patches that lead to frustration and burnout in the absence of "quiescence".
Time Well Spent
Now that you've blocked out days on your calendar, the time you spend cannot be spoiled by anything, and I mean ANYTHING that will pull your mind back to the office... or those bills, or a political "crisis" back home, or your favorite basketball team that's struggling to make the playoffs.
Your cell phone is turned OFF and your voice mail message tells callers you're not taking calls or checking text messages.
You're NOT checking emails and an auto reply message tells people you're not responding to emails from the date you depart until the day after you return.
Your voicemail and auto reply email provide the phone number or email address for someone who can help if something is urgent, or at least assure someone they will get help as soon as you return.
From my experience, and confirmed by many others I've talked to and learned from, it takes at least three (3) days to put your mind into a full state of quiescence.
This is why a two-day weekend, even if you do a great job of shutting out the weekday distractions, never quite gets to true rejuvenation.
Sunday night always creates a longing for "one more day" as the clock ticks down to the coming of Monday morning and the start of another work week.
On the third day, if you've been true to being "unplugged", the worries of your normal life are replaced with thoughts about your "here and now".
Every day after takes your brain further and further away as you become more and more immersed in your thoughts about what you're doing that has nothing to do with what you left behind.
You know that you're truly in quiescence when a thought about your more hectic life actually seems distant... as distant as your thoughts not long ago about the rejuvenation time you're now experiencing.
I've learned to savor these moments.
To fully recognize, appreciate and be grateful for the rejuvenation time I'm enjoying.
Again, making time to rejuvenate your body and your mind is an essential component of personal and professional freedom.
If you follow my recommendations for planning your own rejuvenation time, for the soonest time you can realistically achieve true quiescence, then eventually that time will arrive and you'll reap the benefits.
If you never block out rejuvenation time on your calendar, one year from now you'll almost certainly be in the same place you are today, feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and burned out by your business.
Is that what you want?
If not, then make your first resolution for the new year.
Between now and January 1st, think about what you'd love to do most during your rejuvenation time... what I call you're "freedom activity".
Pick a 3 to 4 (or more) day period on your calendar, and mark the days off with the words "REJUVENATION TIME" (or "QUIESCENCE" if you want to be fancy).
Next, don't be afraid to to tell everyone you know that you've set aside this time to rejuvenate and ask them to both support you and hold you accountable for sticking to those dates.
Protect this time like your life depends on it, because in some small way, eventually, it actually might.
Lastly, once you've demonstrated to yourself and the world that you can successfully accomplish true quiescence for yourself, do it all over again. Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat.
You'll then be in a cycle of regular rejuvenation that allows you to achieve greater freedom, that in turn creates more time for rejuvenation.
I'm very excited for the start of your journey towards greater quiescence in 2022, and best of luck as you...
Stay focused on your freedom!
See Podcast: #013 Quiescence - The secret to recharging your batteries