The power of restoration
One of the dualities that we explore in the energetic life cycle is the dynamic between restoration and productivity. Both states are very important to leading a vital and fulfilling life, but it is important to have a healthy balance between them. Either state, in its extreme, can be quite destructive.
Think about 100% restoration…
That’s sitting in your pajamas all day, day after day, binge watching Netflix and eating takeout. Or maybe it’s spending every day at the spa. Lovely right?!? But eventually the bills would pile up, your house would get really dirty, and even more importantly you would begin to feel unfulfilled. Humans have an inherent desire to do something meaningful with their lives.
What about 100% productivity....
Crushing your to do list 14 hours a day, making lists upon lists, giving your all every single minute. The progress you’d make would feel very fulfilling, but in a few days you would find yourself deeply exhausted and depleted.
It’s all about balance!
In our busy culture, we tend to place a high value on productivity so for the remainder of this post, we are going to sing the praises of restoration. In his popular TED talk, Andy Puddicomb poses the question, “When did you last take 10 minutes to do nothing?”
Isn’t that video great? Here are some of my favorite takeaways:
The visual of Andy juggling very intensely and then too relaxed is a great demonstration of the need for balance
The idea that we reinforce our stories - he gives a great example of how when we have a wobbly tooth that we press on it every 20-30 seconds to make sure it still hurts. When we think our life is really busy and can’t change, we continuously think about how busy we are which just makes us more stressed
The idea that we have choice; our belief that life has to be busy all the time is just one we are choosing to hold on to. We have the power to change the narrative.
In this video, Andy talked about using meditation as a way to seek restoration. Meditation is wonderful, and I definitely suggest that you try it, but everyone differs in what they find most restorative. Try meditation, try walks in nature, try curling up with a mug of tea. What would be most restorative to you? Once you build up your “tool box” of restoring activities, see if you can’t make space to sprinkle them in throughout your week.
Questions for Reflection
You may want to write these questions down in a journal, discuss them with a friend, or just think them through on your own
Think about your own life - what does the balance between restoration and productivity look like for you right now? How does it usually look?
What activities do you find most restorative?
How can you make space for 2-3 restorative moments each week?
Exercise for Exploration
These exercises can be a great way to put the techniques we discuss on the blog into practice in your own life.
When you find yourself in the middle of a busy, stressful day try taking a pause. Notice your mental state - how do you feel? Reflect on how effective and productive you’ve felt so far.
Set a timer for at least 10 minutes and do something completely restorative. You might try meditating, breathing deeply, taking a walk, coloring, or anything else that calls to you. Try to stay present with the activity. Have your cell phone on silent and your computer monitor turned off.
When the timer goes off, notice your mental state. Has anything shifted?
At the end of the day, reflect back on how effective and productive you were during the second half of the day. Did taking a step back help your efficiency?