Day to day, the context of our performance and health differs. A huge number of stimuli can affect what we are capable of producing in terms of physical and mental performance, many of which affect each other and can lead us in o negative or positive cycles. When your livelihood depends on physical and mental performance and can be affected by these day-to-day context changers, it is very important to understand what they are and how you can monitor or manage them. This will help decision making around a whole host of factors including when you might do your most taxing work or how much physical stress you undertake that day, or even direct nutritional choices….You might even call it listening to your body.
There is a fair amount of research that has looked into ways of subjectively measuring these areas of variation, to begin to take into account how you actually feel and subsequence performance, injury or illness.When used in conjunction with objective measures, they can be quite accurate predictors of future illness and/or pain. They are used extensively in professional sports to monitor athletes and fuel decision making about the athletes loading during that day, with patterns emerging so the practitioner can intervene when necessary and adapt working schedules if possible, to accommodate recovery.
The areas that are especially interesting for this kind of monitoring are:
Stress: This can be physical, emotional, work or relationship related. No need to be specific but trying to tune in to how stressed you feel is key.
Mood: Often by not always interrelated with stress, your mood is greatly affected by your nervous system and hormones. Certain moods highlight a certain part of your nervous system as dominant, and that can affect your performance. But just because you are stressed it does not mean you are in a bad mood.
Energy: We all have those days when we are full of beans, as well as those when we do not really get going. The result of this energy related question and your performance may make the most sense to you on the surface of it. Low energy = Poor performance. But, when looked at in isolation, that is not always the case.
Sleep: As we’ve spoken about a few times, acute sleep deprivation and poor quality sleep has numerous negative consequences. Noting how you slept last night can have a strong correlation to todays physical and mental performance.
Pain: This can be due to injury or delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS), but either way, it can hinder your performance if the areas affected are being loaded again.
As mentioned, these areas are interrelated and form a significant part of our performance context for each day. If these areas improve, the likelihood is that we will perform better that day, providing you are adequately fuelled, hydrated and motivated.
You can apply a simple monitoring strategy that is utilised in professional sports by asking yourself a series of questions. In our Production Education subscription we give you the full details of what to do and how to do it, when it comes to this kind of wellbeing monitoring. Explaining, in depth, why we use these measures and how each of them affect you physiologically. With that kind of information you can understand your performance at a whole new level, and move forwards in a healthier, more productive way.
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