Perhaps you can relate — when I take time to unplug and unwind following a long, intense project, afterwards I find I have a better grasp of what I’ve learned from the experience — in contrast to those times I would have declined a chance to recover.
I’ve often wondered if my observation was picking up on something real, but there are studies that suggest periods of intense learning followed by periods of deep recovery result in better retention.
Interestingly, this phenomenon has a parallel in athletic development. Having studied high-performance athletes to better understand their rituals and habits, authors Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz touch on this phenomenon in their book, The Power of Full Engagement.
Apparently, the recovery step is essential for elite athletes following periods of deep training. As with learning and emotional growth, it is a period that allows for the processing of experience as much as it is about sustainability.
I am principal at Aegis, a relational design firm. We help create emotionally-intelligent brands and organisations.