Is there a difference between rest and restoration? According to the dictionary, rest is defined as a period of cessation of activity while restoration is defined as returning something to its earlier good condition or renewal.
We feel and know the difference between rest and restoration. We feel tired but do not know why or can’t put our finger on it. I think that all of us want rest and restoration. Sadly, we do not always know how to restore, or which part of our well-being needs restoration. I would like to briefly start the discussion going on the restoration that we should all be aware off and it is not just physical rest but also mental, emotional and spiritual areas of our wellbeing. Our mental, emotional or creative and spiritual wellbeing are seldom mentioned and certainly hardly mentioned wholistically. To recognise just one part of our overall being, is to neglect the impact of the other areas which leads to an imbalance in our overall wellbeing.
What is rest? We rest when we sit down, take a breath and relax. The most common form of rest is sleep. Sleep allows our body to rest and to renew physical strength. I have no doubt that we have heard all the benefits of sleep and yet, a good majority of the population do not get enough sleep. However, the difference between rest and restoration is most evident in the fact that even when you have slept well, taken breathers and ceased from activities, you still feel “tired” and not restored? I am sure that I am not the only one who has ever felt that way.
What’s the problem? I believe that the heart of the issue lies in the fact that we, as humans, are not only physical being, but are also made up of the mind, emotions and spiritual being just housed in a physical body. Craig Groeschel in his leadership podcast talked about these 4 areas as energy buckets. Each area needs to be managed as part of energy management. Therefore, not only do we need physical rest, we need to also care for the other parts that makes up the overall wellbeing. The need is therefore not just for physical rest but also for the restoration of our overall well-being.
Each of those parts whether physical, mental, emotional /creative, and spiritual needs to be in balance and to be renewed and in fact, restored differently. For example, for physical rest, we need to just stop, sit or sleep. Our physical bodies can recover from the down time. However, too much of inactivity, leads to an imbalance just as much as over-exercising (yes it does happen a problem that I could never relate to fortunately).
For the other areas of our well-being such as our mind or creative or emotion well-being, physical rest alone is not enough. I am sure that you have experienced the feeling of just simply being tired even though you had a good night sleep. Something is off, you mind feels sluggish or you are just not feeling energised.
This all points to the fact that each area requires different activities to restore. Let’s start to take the first step at looking at some areas and ideas that we could use to move from rest to restoration for our minds, emotions and spiritual.
So let’s break it down.
I have no doubt that for most of us, mental fatigue is a real thing. We are simply mentally tired especially at the end of the day because we have used so much of our mind to problem solve, analyse, create, innovate and the list goes on. Our brains are literally fried from all the day’s processing that it has to do. Once the work stops, it does not mean that our minds or brains goes to rest. In fact our minds are constantly working, not stopping and the truth is we don’t want it to stop either if you know what I mean.
- What activities drains your mind or mental energy?
- What activities energises and renews your mind or mental energy?
For your mind to achieve rest and restoration, it isn’t just with sleep, but it is in knowing what drains and energises you. What sort of activities drains your mind? The most common and probably the worst culprit is negative thoughts or thinking. Negative thoughts produce toxic side effects such as stress, worry, anxieties and it is literally toxic on the brain itself. In her book, Switch on Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf, when a negative thought occurs and is continuously active, brain scans literally shows the damage that it does to the physical brain. The good news is that positive thoughts is able to restore or reverse the damage that negative thoughts created.
There are other draining activities such as doing certain type of work that you know drains you not just mentally but emotionally. One of the activities that simple drains me is attending meeting. Unfortunately, I have had to attend one meeting too many and there were days where I would have back-to-back meetings. After which by the end of the day, all I wanted to do was nothing, literally nothing. My body was not tired, but my mind and emotions were completed drained. It is therefore important to know what are the “energy vampires” for you.
Unfortunately, knowing your energy vampires is not good enough. More often than not, our energy vampires won’t just disappear or go away as there are some activities at work that we just can’t avoid. It is therefore important to know what are your “energy powerbank”. What “energy powerbank” activities can you do to restore or recharge you? It could be as simple of having 15mins of quiet meditation or listening to some music or just walking around the park. It does not have to be a time-consuming activity, just something that will give a boost to keep you going till you have the opportunity to properly restore.
What sort of activities restores or renews your mind?
Different people will require different types of activities and even similar activities maybe draining for some while energising for others. For example, reading, some people find it is a great way to renew the mind while some might find it to be a very draining activity. If we take reading as an example, maybe reading a non-fiction book is draining but reading a fiction book could have the opposite effect.
BTW, reading is one of the best ways to restore the mind and creative/emotions as it allows your imagination to take hold. Imagination uses a different part of your brains and it allows one part of rest of sort while another part activates. Some will find restoration in doing cross word puzzle or the Rubik cube or playing computer games.
The point is that we need to know what helps to restore our mental state. In fact, one of the worse things that we can do is to have negative thoughts. In Dr Caroline Leaf’s book, Switch on Your Brain, based on neuropathway research and brain scans, when a negative thought is thought of, the neuropathway is developed. If it is a negative thought, it will produce toxic outcomes such as stress and we all know the dangers of bad stress. Positive thoughts on the other hand is able to restore the damage of the negative thoughts.
- What are my energy vampires?
- What negative or wrong thought pattern have I been entertaining?
- What can I replace the wrong, negative, toxic thought with a life-giving positive thought?
- What are my energy powerbank and how can I consciously put in place?
Emotional or Creative.
The other part of our being is the emotional and creative part. We are all creative in our own way and process emotions or feelings differently. Some who are more in tuned with their emotions will require the “talking” it out and over to help process what they are feelings. Some require peace and quiet or solitude to do the same. For some, it might to be paint, play the piano or musical instruments, for others it could be to cook, to do some gardening and the list goes on. Each one of those activities aims to restore the emotional or creative part of us. Some of these activities you will notice does not involve physical ceasing of activities, but it is the restoration or renewing of the different parts of our well-being.
For example, have you noticed how some people may seem physically tired but when they are in the kitchen cooking or baking, they are alive and full of energy? These people find cooking as an energy powerbank. It will restore the creative or emotional aspect of their being.
- What is the restorative activity that you need to do to renew your emotional or creative part?
- If you have never realised this before, what do you naturally do today that you find emotional or creative renewal?
- If you don’t have any, what could you start to do?
In Psychologytoday.com, spirituality means different things to different people. For some , it’s primarily about a belief in God and active participation in organised religion. For others, it’s about non-religious experiences that help them get in touch with their spiritual selves through quiet reflection, time in nature, private prayer or meditation.
I have heard it said, we are all spiritual being living in a physical body. Regardless of what you believe in, I think that there is no doubt that it is the case. The rise of meditation and mindfulness all imply that there is another aspect of being humans that is different from an animal.
There is a longing in each of us to believe in something, usually something greater than ourselves. Having faith in someone or something is something that we are all wired to have and longed for. To deny or neglect this, leads to an imbalance where the need to fill that void results in the never-ending quest to find it. Sadly, some try to find and fill that void through addictive avenues.
For me, I find my spiritual restoration in my faith as a Christian. Resting on God’s promises and renewing my spirit by spending time meditating, worshiping and studying His Word.
- What is your avenue for spiritual recharge or restoration?
- What drains your spiritual reservoir?
Last but not least, your physical aspect. The body requires 2 key things, nourishment and movement. We are what we eat I have heard it said. To a certain extent I think that it is true. If you are abusing your body with unhealthy junk food, I have no doubt that your physical body will have something to say about it.
Movement. We are made to move. Exercise is an important aspect of that. It does not matter what sort of exercise you do, as long as it is one that you enjoy and able to maintain over a long period of time. For example, swimming might be good for you but if you don’t enjoy or feel anxious doing it, then don’t do it as you are not going to enjoy it and therefore you will not be consistent at it. Just like any other energy vampire, any exercise that you do not enjoy is not going to help you to restore.
Rest and sleep. I think that we all know that we need to rest and have at least 7-8 hours of sleep-in order for our bodies to recover, build muscles, repair and so on. For most people, this can be a struggle as well.
Is there a way to restore as many of these different areas of our being in the most time efficient manner? Afterall, I don’t have 8 hours to restore each of these 4 aspects. I think that it is possible, and it is also dependent on what you enjoy doing and what those activities are.
Let me give you an example of what I do.
I love walking, hiking and golf and they are my primary vehicle for exercise. I know that these exercises along with the occasional strength training is what my physical body needs, and I schedule the time to do it. Yes, you cannot escape from scheduling time to do it.
During that time, while I am exercising, I have my headphones on and I am either listening to a podcast or music which will restore my mind and my spirit depending on what I am listening to. During this walk, I will also take note of all the natural beauty that is in front of me. The trees, flowers, birds, the amazing colours of the sky or the sea and the list goes on, all of which restores my creative or emotional aspects. For me, this simple exercise of 30mins to 2 hours depending on the activity can restore all the 4 parts of my being.
For you, you might enjoy cooking. Use the time that you are cooking and include maybe an activity that is able to help you restore your mind or spiritual areas. If you are cleaning your house, put on some music or listen to a book or podcast. The everyday task that you might not enjoy, add to it something that you enjoy such as singing. Find ways to add to what you are already doing. I would suggest that as the starting point rather than creating a whole set of new activities or routines.
- What am I doing today that I could add one or two more elements to restore more of my being?
It is not difficult to do if you want to do it. No matter what it might be for you, it is for your benefit that you know what you need to do to restore all 4 aspects of your being. You will certainly know when any one of them is out of whack. If you don’t, I am sure that those around you will notice.
Give it go and discover for yourself what works for you. You may not see the difference immediately, but I have no doubt, when you look back over a period of time, you will certainly see the impact of it. The impact is noticeable both in terms of negative or positive depending on whether you did anything to address the gap.
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