Let’s talk about rest. I’ve been thinking lately there are two types of rest: Escapism rest and Restorative rest.
Escapism rest is what you do when you’re looking for something mindless. When you want to be distracted and have no energy left for *anything.* This includes things like playing games on your phone. Scrolling your social media feeds. Binging tv shows. Snacking all the time. That glass of wine. This is what you do when you’re trying to escape whatever circumstance you’re in. Overwhelmed with what your client just asked for? Hop up and get a snack. Or check in on your favorite social media distraction, sports scores, recent news…whatever it is for you. The actions might be different for you, but you’ll know you’re deep in escapism rest if you come away from it feeling any kind of numb. You don’t necessarily feel good, you don’t feel bad. You were entertained or distracted and are no longer thinking about whatever it was that sent looking for escape in the first place. It can stop time - hello everyone who’s looked up an hour later from a quick glance at Twitter (I cannot for the life of me call it X), and it replaces whatever you’re feeling with someone else’s feelings that you can engage with in to whatever degree you want (think quick novels, YouTube shorts, movies with high drama or a high fear factor, etc.) You’re entertained. You’re also less aware of and connected to the here and now.
Restorative rest is what you do when you’re looking to take really, really good care of yourself. When you want to feel cared for, refreshed, grounded and restored. It includes things like leaving your desk to go outside and feel the sun on your face and breath fresh air. Taking a walk around the block. Extended dinners with friends you love being with, cooking really good food, yoga, meditation, a massage…anything that brings you more fully into the present and into your body. Your things might be aligned toward providing you space and quiet, or your things might centered around feeling connected with your people. Whatever they are, they create a sense of feeling deeply present and more connected to the here and now, to yourself and to your surroundings.
I don’t think one is necessarily better than the other. Okay, maybe that’s not true. Maybe I think restorative rest is better. But I also know I can’t do it all the time – I’m just not always ready for it. Sometimes I’ve pushed myself so hard and far that some good old fashioned Escapism rest is the only thing I have the energy for (because it requires none). Restorative rest takes more work and more energy sometimes. Another thing I know, though? Restorative rest – feeling more connected to my body & emotions, and more present in the now - is what fuels all my most enjoyable work. It’s what allows me to show up with my deepest values centered. It’s what enables me to make the hard choices about how to structure my schedule in a way that serves me, my family and my business. When I’m actively focused on including restorative rest throughout my week, it’s what keeps me from being forced to use my weekends and vacations to recover from normal life.
What’s some restorative rest you can gift yourself today? Later this week?
Today Restorative rest for me looked like wearing my favorite overalls to work, taking the dog for a walk in the middle of the day and breaking off early to bake.
(first written Jan 2022. Edited & posted Sept 2023)