My son cooling down after a family game of basketball Sunday afternoon
I started running a little more than a year ago. The running training program I started with insisted on a 5-minute cool down after each run. Sometimes I’d cool down and sometimes I wouldn’t. I didn’t notice any problems when I didn’t cool down so I really didn’t think it was a big deal. For weeks I ran 2-3 miles with my indifferent attitude toward the cool down. Then one day I ran 4 miles, my longest and most vigorous at that point. I was so proud of myself and I felt amazing. I felt so good that I didn’t “cool down.” After my run, I showered and resumed normal activities. Or, at least I tried to resume normal activities.
Within an hour of my amazing run I was feeling dizzy and nauseous. I couldn’t shake the feeling for hours. It was that day that I learned the importance of cooling down after a run. I now know that physiologically, cooling down helps the body transition from intense activity to normal activity. Cooling down helps prevent blood from pooling in the legs, which I now know can happen after a hard run. This limits blood flow to the heart and brain, and can lead to the dizziness and nausea I experienced that day.
What happens when employees don’t cool down after a busy season?
When employees come out of a tremendously busy season such as a large product recall, holiday season or a new product launch, the mental toll is not unlike a vigorous run. Just because they “survived” the busy season doesn’t mean all is well. I survived my first 4 mile run, but I didn’t transition to normal activity well at all. Provide your employees with a “cool down” period so they can transition into normal business activity.
How do you cool down after a busy season?
Offer paid time off if you can, celebrate accomplishments, award your employees with gift cards, have lunch brought in or bring fun into the office. Get creative. The important thing is to acknowledge the sacrifice and challenge and to provide a transition into normal activity.
Cooling down after a busy period helps your employees de-stress and refresh. Failing to cool down can lead to burnout and low morale. Proactively provide a corporate cool down and you’ll avoid potentially serious problems later on…and your people will be better prepared for the next busy season. (I now cool down after every run!)
Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop. ~Ovid