After the winter (and honestly year) that we’ve all had, we are all ready for a major reset. It’s hard to keep plowing along if we don’t take the time to recover from the challenges, setbacks, and stress we’ve experienced. Many of the things we do to cope – enjoying a glass of wine, binge watching Netflix, retail therapy – don’t offer us the rest and rejuvenation that we are actually seeking. Instead of numbing the stress through unhealthy activities, it’s better to seek out activities and places that allow us to truly restore ourselves and rejuvenate for the road ahead.
Restorative activities are those that let you get back to a sense of equilibrium in your life. They let you regain control and a sense of ownership and belonging in your body, mind, and soul. Often this means getting back to something you enjoy, taking time out for yourself instead of constantly worrying about others, or even letting go of things that no longer serve you. Restorative activities can vary by person, but here are a few that I and my loved ones often do:
Make Time for a Favorite Hobby
I love to bake and trying new recipes. The process lets me slow down, focus on the moment, and produce something delicious that I can then enjoy. My sister restores by doing jigsaw puzzles and my mom by crocheting. Each of those activities helps us just be in the moment, be creative, and leave the world behind.
Sleep is one of the most restorative activities you can do. Many of us are operating on far less sleep than we need. That not only leaves us feeling groggy, irritable, and run down, it also has serious health consequences. Create a sleep routine, prioritize your sleep needs, and make sure you get the full amount of sleep that you need to recover from the day.
Take a Day Trip
A quick jaunt into the country or a relaxing day at the spa are often all we need to clear our minds and reset. We host a number of people who are looking for that quick getaway and a quiet place to think and release all of the stress that builds up. Even through the pandemic, small venues like ours have been able to comfortably and safely host folks who are suffering from pandemic lockdown cabin fever. Many small towns throughout the country have bed and breakfasts, small inns, and spas that can host singles or small groups for restorative retreats.
These are just a few examples. Again, to be restorative it needs to get you back in touch with who you are, put you back in control of your emotions and your mind, and leave you feeling balanced and ready to jump back into the world again.
Whereas restoration is about getting back to a state of equilibrium and replenish what has been lost, rejuvenation is about improving upon our wellbeing and personal state. This is about adding in things that nourish and energize us. This includes healthy foods and exercise, but also activities that stimulate the mind and our creativity. This includes:
Exploring New Places
Whether it’s trying out a new restaurant or taking a trip to a place you’ve never been before; exploration opens up the mind and brings you in contact with new experiences. These new experiences spark the imagination and energize us to try even more new things.
Learning a New Skill
Nothing is as empowering as learning a new skill. Whether it’s mastering a tricky recipe, taking a painting class, or learning a new dance move, the challenge and growth that comes from learning inspires us to take on even more challenges and set new goals. The pursuit is invigorating, especially when you can look back and see your progress.
Just simply having fun, either by dancing barefoot in the living room or challenging your spouse to a pillow fight, helps us reconnect with our youthful, carefree selves. Letting go and having a few laughs helps release stress, stimulates feel good hormones, and puts a little pep back in our step.
Each person is rejuvenated by different things. Some people prefer more high energy activities while others need more low-key hobbies and outings. In either case, taking time to release stress and stimulate the mind helps to reenergize you for the challenges ahead.
No matter how you choose to restore and rejuvenate, the important thing is to make time for activities that help you replenish and invigorate. Even without a pandemic, our harried lives are filled with deadlines, demands, and stress. To continue to perform at our best, we need to take time to take care of and invest in ourselves.