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Out of Office: winding down without travelling far

Getaway. Change your scenery. We’ve all heard the advice before, but sometimes travelling can be tricky. So, how can managers and leaders wind down without travelling? According to Aaron Rigg CMgr FIML, you don’t need to go on a far-flung holiday to reset and relax. The director and owner of The Pourhouse pub in Maitland and management consultant is also the managing director at Untapped Resources, an operationally focused leadership coaching and management consulting firm. Rigg reckons all he needs is a gripping book, perhaps an engaging podcast and some invigorating exercise to transport himself to a place where he can kick back and recharge.

Rigg shares his thoughts on how to wind down without travelling far and why it’s an essential activity for all managers and leaders.

How do you wind down without travelling?

I am an avid reader. I will read books any chance I get – particularly leadership books and memoirs or biographies. It is fascinating to read about how people have overcome adversity in their lives and the lessons they gained from those experiences.

I have also rejoined a gym. After five years of very little activity, I am finding the physical exercise excellent, clearing my mind, and relieving stress.

Finally, podcasts are my go-to. I have a few favourites that I listen to consistently – The Rich Roll Podcast, Finding Mastery with Michael Gervais, Deep Questions with Cal Newport and the Good Life Project with Jonathan Fields. I love the long-form conversation style and hearing about people’s lives and their stories.

Aaron Rigg talks about winding down without travelling
Aaron Rigg CMgr FIML

Why do you think managers must learn to switch off from work?

You can’t operate at maximum output all the time. In other words, humans have a finite amount of energy reserves that they can allocate to the many elements of a fulfilling life. Whilst there will be times when total commitment and attention is required to work, if all our energy is diverted towards work, for too long a period, other things will suffer: health, relationships, sleep. From personal experience, the long-term effect of this can take many years to overcome and rebalance your life’s endeavours.

What other factors should managers and leaders keep in mind when it comes to managing stress?

It’s so vital to craft and sustain deep relationships. You need to have people around you whom you can trust. That support group is a priceless resource, whether that’s a personal or professional network. In my support network, I talk to them fortnightly, if not weekly. Like me, they are all managers who also have stressful roles so having each other helps us all to decompress. All managers and leaders should have people around them with their best interests at heart who can help them keep those stress levels in check.

What are your tips for other managers and leaders who might struggle to wind down from work?

I have a personal mantra to remind me of what’s important – health, people, places, things – in that order. I believe health is the most important because you can’t be there for your family or yourself without good health. The other thing I keep in mind to stay grounded is that ‘you are not your work’. Work satisfaction and purpose are necessary for a fulfilling career; however, when your identity becomes too attached to work, it’s easy to neglect other things.

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