Diagram of The Flow Cycle where struggle phase leads to release phase leads to flow phase leads to recovery phase, and back to struggle. Diagram's annotated with the advice that recovery is essential to replenish the neurochemicals used up when we're "in the zone" experiencing the flow state of peak performance. Without recovery, we can't get back in the zone.

My colleague's functioning takes a deep dive 📉 after big projects, & she wants tips for bouncing back, so I made this diagram that shows how to stay "in the zone" with work. 📈 It's actually pretty simple...

Flow is that glorious state where we're super focused, time disappears, doubts vanish, & we merge with our laptop, creating work that feels excellent. đŸ”Ĩ

But sometimes we come back the next day, & we just can't "bring it" the same way. ☚ī¸

This is because flow state is expensive.

Here are some of the chemicals you've been spending:

💸 Seratonin - a bit like ecstacy
💸 Endorphins - a bit like heroin
💸 Dopamine - a bit like coffee
💸 Anandamide - a bit like marijuana
💸 Norepinephrine - a bit like tobacco

No wonder it feels so good, right?

But here's the thing 👉 Flow is part of a cycle.

The body needs to replenish those pricey neurochemicals you spent when you were "in the zone", feeling great & being productive.

How to Replenish Brain Power (& Get Back in the Zone)

There's only one way: You gotta move through the flow cycle to restock that brain chemistry.

And what's the most important step, which every badass, productive person tries to skip?

👉 Active recovery.

So What is Active Recovery? 🤔

Well - sad to say - having a beer in front of the TV (to relax after a long day) just won't cut it.

TV - with all those dramatic, flashing pics - keep our brains in high alert-mode, even while our bodies start to relax.

Active recovery is anything that gets you out of hyper-alert work mode (beta brainwaves) & into relaxed, reflective, playful mode.

Alpha & theta brainwaves are where the magic happens.

And meditation is well documented at causing this exact mind shift.

Other contenders:

🧠 Sauna
🧠 Yoga, stretching
🧠 Journalling
🧠 Nutritious food
🧠 Great conversation
🧠 Walking in nature
🧠 Reading in bed
🧠 Sleep

Anything that gets you relaxed, out of your head, & into your body is probably a winner.

Takeaway

So next time you're on fire đŸ”Ĩ working like heck on something you care deeply about, remember.

Remember that if you really care about your work, you'll take care of yourself. Because sustainable peak performance demands proactive recovery daily.

You can't drop the ball on self-care without systemically dropping the ball.

Think about that next time you consider working late, or eating lunch watching YouTube on your phone. ← Eep, literal description of me đŸ˜ŗ

What I'm saying is: If we aspire to be creativity athletes, active recovery is how we roll. 🏃‍♀ī¸ 🙂

Illustration of a kid with green, neon hair enjoying a perfect kick & punch combo move with a big smile.

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