Is your battery dead?

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Crazy, I am about to take a month off from my business and so is my husband. This brings up a whole series of “paper tigers” and I am doing it anyway. Why because everyone needs to recharge their batteries (so to speak).

If I break this down it all starts with the latest buzz phrase the “amygdala high jacking”. My mind is screaming; what about the lost revenue? What about the expense of the trip? How can you be away from your business, aren’t you serious about building a successful business? These are perceived threats or nicknamed “paper tigers”.

I am not an expert, nor are some who use this popular phrase. The little I do know is that the amygdala are responsible for the release of certain neurochemicals; one of which is the hormone cortisol, which is often used in conjunction with this phrase. Side note, amygdala is a plural word as it represents two almond-shaped clusters of nuclei located deep and medially within the temporal lobes of the brain in humans.

The idea is when humans first evolved, they had real threats, like tigers, to fear. The brain learned to protect the species by releasing chemicals to trigger other parts of the brain. Here is the part few speak about, it is your hypothalamus that acts like the key master to your memory vault. The hypothalamus is responsible for how your memory is stored; at least one of its functions.

This is the part where fear overtakes pleasure. You recall pain or threat faster, as you are designed to learn quickly to run from the tiger that is chasing you. Your memory plays a major role in the high jacking. You learn quickly what is dangerous to you and what brings you satisfaction, safety and connection (primary human needs).

Our ancestors had to learn to deal with threats in order to stay alive. If you didn’t learn to run from the tiger, you didn’t see another day. Do you think our ancestors faced tigers every day? Unlikely. They had long periods of rest to allow their brain to reset. This reset enabled them to learn skills, to meet human needs, which improved their overall quality of life over time.

Today, you don’t have tigers chasing you; you have “paper tigers”. Your brain is jumping to react to threats that your memory perceives as danger to your survival. Do you face them every day? Likely. Today, you have a consistent level of stress and little time to reset. Practices like meditation, self-care and exercise do help you to reset. The question, is it enough?

Why do you need vacation or extended periods away from your livelihood?

In a study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) for Project: Time Off, HR managers believe that taking vacation time leads to greatly improved performance (75%) and better job satisfaction (78%). In other words, vacation gives a person the chance to “recharge their batteries” and mentally rest from their job. When they finally return to their desk, morale (and overall productivity) is improved.

Time away from an office setting also gives people a chance to tap into their creative side. This is especially important for those who frequently face complicated challenges at work. Rest can stimulate new ideas to solve old problems by helping individuals gain new clarity. It is an excellent way to refresh or renew motivation. source

How does this work, technically? Cortisol, one of the chemicals the amygdala releases when threat is perceived, narrows your capacity in the prefrontal cortex function (the executive brain). This is where you make meaning using many aspects of the brains function including memory. When you have less cortisol being released, you have more capacity for higher thought.

When you place yourselves outside of your normal routine, you light up your brain’s function. You are forcing yourselves to become more alert in a positive way. You are experiencing new things when you take a vacation. Making new memories with each passing day. Prolong the experience beyond a weekend and almost like magic you begin to free your capacity for new thoughts. Combine the new alertness of your brain to the non-routine, add the elimination of paper tigers for an extended time and you enable your brains to be more creative. As stated in the above quote, you suddenly have the capacity available to solve old problems in new ways.

Why not give your brain a vacation? It is not just about relaxing the body it is literally giving a reboot to the brain. You are recharging the most important capacity you have, the capacity of higher thought. Therefore, I can make a choice to go on vacation when all the paper tigers are screaming, “what are you crazy, you can’t do that, what if….”! How about you?