Recently I have undergone a period of high stress.

Even though the experience causing the stress had finished, I was still experiencing the effects of the stress.

I had created space to focus on what I wanted to, I was even excited to be on a new path but i couldn’t click into gear.

My inner guidance told me I needed to relax and enjoy myself, reduce the stress and then once I had increased my wellbeing I could focus on being productive.

Despite this, I did things the hard way and tried to bypass the process.

4 weeks later and I still felt the built up stress, presenting as tension within the muscles of my skull and a general inability to relax.

It actually wasn’t until I became sick that I fully allowed myself to rest – interestingly I could feel the shift of priorities when I was sick and within my psyche I accepted that nothing was more important than rest and recovery.

Really looking back it was no surprise it got to that point, the built up stress was stopping me from enjoying life and my sleep was suffering only getting 3 hours of sleep before waking up.

Optimally I would have given myself 2 weeks to enjoy myself, not focusing on achieving anything.
After 2 weeks I would have de-stressed and been in a state to create from a place of flow.


But it wasn’t all for nothing, I did review and analyse what effected my state developing a process to work through this.

StressThe Success Matrix

I’d like to suggest that it isn’t enough to simply remove stress, that we have to allow it to subside.

I have discovered there is a clear process which we can follow to find balance and increase productivity.

De-stress, Increase Wellbeing, Focus on Productivity.



Stress “Cooldown” Theory

When it comes to stress, I’m no stranger.

In fact like most of us I’ve had my fair share of stress and I’ve noticed some patterns emerge.

In my experience I find that we each have an individual stress tolerance. 

The capacity of which is determined by our bodies ability to handle the stress hormone cortisol.

The more stress (intensity & duration) we endure the more sensitive we become to it.

It seems to me that we have a limited amount of stress we can endure and sustain.


A metaphor that I use to describe stress build up is by relating it to a machine gun in a video game, each time you fire the bar fills proportionate to how many bullets you fire.

You have to wait a small amount of time between firing to make sure the bar doesn’t fill up.

If you go flat out the bar fills and turns red, the gun overheats, you are unable to use the gun and you have to wait until the bar (slowly) returns to empty. 

“certain weapons—especially machine guns—can only be fired in bursts. Each bullet shot adds a specific amount to a heat gauge. The gauge drains at a steady rate. Should the gauge reach maximum (overheat), firing ceases, and the gauge may drain at a slower rate until it is empty again.”

I have experienced this with stress in my own life many times.

You could say I’ve had a tendency to push my body, quite often blocking out the warning signs and going beyond my limits of recovery – I filled the bar until went red.


Problem is, in a video game it takes a few seconds, in real life it can take a few months.


And essentially that is what burnout is.


What’s not spoken about during burnout is the importance of completely releasing oneself from pressure and reaching complete relaxation.


Sounds great right? Wrong! 

The people who reach this point have a weakness, they don’t know how to relax and usually find enjoyment from pushing themselves, that’s a part of why burnout occurs.

For someone like this to switch off and completely relax when there is a burning desire to achieve is nearly impossible and there lies the paradox, while that bar is still red and going back to empty any efforts quickly result in further burnout, or at the very least less productivity.

I usually get caught up in thinking “I’ll start small and build up from there”.

In my experience however it’s more efficient to rest and allow that bar to return to empty, rather than to try achieve anything from the state of burnout.


If you want to learn more about this concept and how to apply it to your life, contact me here or join my mailing list 👌

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