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Team rituals for rest and recovery

By Elaine Seale-McKend

Research has shown that team dynamics are a big source of stress particularly around how teams operate and interact together. The main causes of stress before Covid were workload, people issues, balancing professional and personal lives, and job security. Now we could add anxiety around re-establishing personal and professional relationships, shifting ways of working – hybrid and how to sustain team relationships when you are not always present in the same space, concern about catching an illness from others, a potential recession, energy costs and a war that’s continuing close by.

When I think of work-based teams I like to broaden the perspective to sport. Ensuring that there are healthy relationships, pre-planned times of athletic activity followed by adequate rest and recovery are imperative to sustaining performance as a team. When I consider recovery I mean REAL rest, switching off from work entirely to maximise the rejuvenation. In sport we know that performance and recovery zones are just as important as hard athletic effort to stress the system. Now we can see the parallels at work as they are in athletic training.

Keeping everything balanced (homeostatic value) is essential to keep the body aligned rather than wasting mental and physical resources trying to return to balance.

Team members and leaders need to be aware of when individuals and the team as a whole is under stress and to establish rituals that encourage openness to share, ways to alleviate and deal with stress.

A clear opportunity is to establish team rituals that encourage investigating how team members are really feeling and coping with pressure, and the ability to identify when others are displaying behaviours connected with overload and then to quickly support and deal with these. Most importantly to help individuals to feel comfortable at really switching off from work, taking holiday and much like our mobile phones unplugging completely for a while to recharge and feel rejuvenated. Creative thought and innovation are sustained through having a clear and unloaded brain.

So in summary, we suggest:

  • Setting team rituals that embrace holistic wellness

  • Keeping these rituals sacred rather than allowing them to get eroded over time

  • Regular check-ins with one another to hold accountability

  • Celebration of team health

At Teamery we value time to rest and recover knowing that it enables us to sustain our own and collective performance. If you would like to know more about how we can support you and your teams to do the same then please reach out to us &

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