We are emerging from the Easter holidays into Spring. Many of us have taken time off work to be with family and friends. Easter is a great holiday, it doesn’t carry with it the pressure of Christmas, with visiting people and shopping and writing cards and parties, and events, and, and and. I have really enjoyed spending time at home. In amongst all that time with family and friends I realised it is really important to make sure I was properly rested. And by that I mean, have some time to be alone, to remember who I am, time to be, time to reconnect. It sounds bizarre to say reconnect with yourself, but as busy working women we are used to prioritising (others generally), writing lists and focussing hard all day in order to get everything that has been prioritised and is on your lists, done.
Being not Doing
All that activity, whilst being hugely satisfying to achieve, or tick off, or deal with, can also take us away from our core, our essence. As the saying goes we are human beings, not human doings. Too much time not being, but doing, shuts down that part of us that is free: thoughts, creativity, free movement (walks, dancing, runs – anything unforced, undertaken out of desire not duty).
Mindfulness – the practice of being in the moment is great, but it only takes you so far. Choosing what that moment will be, which will restore and refresh you, then engaging with that moment, is what I mean.
Why is this important?
It’s important to reconnect with yourself. We know when we need this rest time because the outward signs are obvious: we are irritable, frazzled, it takes very little to upset us. Quite often we run to food or drink or cigarettes to take the edge off and help us cope, whereas what we might really need is some time to reconnect with ourselves and a cup of tea! How often do we get to the end of the day and say, “Oh I need a drink”, or, “Thank goodness Friday is over!”, and order a massive takeaway, when what we really needed was a period of restoration.
What are the benefits?
The benefits are that your body calms down, your breathing slows (unless you’re running!), time takes on an unhurried unrushed, limitless aspect. Calmness. It is rest for your mind, body, spirit.
The First Step
Do you know what restores you? What activities could you do, or do you undertake already, that are restorative? Reading, walking, creating something, listening to music, spending time with a pet, eg, walking the dog, going for a horse ride, drawing, baking, time in prayer, time in meditation. Restorative activities complete this sentence, “I feel most myself when I am……..”, or “I come alive when I………” Sometimes the responsibilities of our adult life plaster over the remembrance of those activities. If this is the case for you then, think back to your childhood or adolescence, remember if there was anything in that time which you loved doing, how hours could pass while you were doing it, seeming like minutes. That is the activity which will restore you.
When are you going do spend this time?
What time are you going to allocate in your diary for this recharging? If it makes you feel better, treat it like a doctor’s appointment, schedule it in the diary with that level of importance that you won’t miss it. Start small, half an hour, one hour. If you can make this a regular appointment all the better, you will reap huge benefits. With time these activities will grow like trees, and before you know it you will have created for yourself time and space to become who you really are and not just a photocopied version which can perform tasks but doesn’t really know how to self-engage.
So, now, over to you. What activities would you like to do, or are you currently doing, which are restorative? What are you managing to find time for in your busy schedule which brings peace and fun into your life? Please leave your comments in the box below as I’d love to hear from you.