About an hour into a conversation about restoration someone asked, “well wait…what IS restoration?”. After a lengthy pause, the elicited answers came up quite interesting and diverse. Some instantly associated restoration with sleeping while others associated it with exercising. Some needed alone time while others cited quality conversation and connection. Many in the group agreed that those simple, daily reminders helped keep them restored - like drinking plenty of water or maintaining good posture. Throughout the investigation into restoration it became clear that there wasn’t one simple answer. And not all the answers rang true for everyone.
By definition, restoration is the act or process of returning something to its original condition. As a sentient, modern, and adult human being, this may seem like a daunting and laughable task. How do we possibility return ourselves to our original condition? And what does that mean? Is our original condition simply infancy or childhood? Or is our original condition that happy, peaceful place we were before life happened? Whichever it is, consider it. Consider your original condition. Void of heavy thoughts or responsibilities. Finding joy and excitement in the tiniest things. Behaving entirely free, without focus or worry about what you look like or how you are perceived. Focused on finding the good. How now, with responsibilities and expectations and the buildup of life, do we return ourselves to that place? With the newness of life worn off, how to find wonder again in it?
It is undeniable that the longest relationship of your life will be with yourself. And just like every relationship, the one with self deserves and needs to be cared for and nurtured. Spending time in restoration allows you the opportunity to nurture yourself. To hear your own thoughts. To appreciate your own subtleties. To help restore your energy. To help reshape your relationship to everything.
Instead of hustling and worrying so hard that you need a weeklong vacation to turn off and reboot, what if you took 10 minutes of everyday to do something restorative. Or approached every situation from a calmer, more balanced place? Answer that original question for yourself - what is restorative for you? And how to you infuse more of that into your life?
Try a group activity where there is little to no chatter, like a yoga or meditation class. Take a restorative yoga class. Take walks by yourself. Go grocery shopping with headphones in and mellow music playing. Read a book at a coffee shop you have never been to before. Exercise. Have your own private dance party.
Make your home a sanctuary. Create a space that feels clean, clear, inspiring, cozy, and fresh. So that when you come home from your responsibilities and obligations, you come home to a haven, a place of happiness and peace.
When alone by default, whether in the bathroom or on your commute, avoid your phone. Resist the urge to call or text someone or check social media. Pamper yourself in a lengthy bath with nourishing scrubs or oils. Journey into nature. Journal. Breath.
In any of these occasions, allow yourself to be fully present. Steep yourself fully in whatever you have chosen as your restorative practice. Sit with yourself through any silence, through any stillness. Be fully immersed in yourself, no matter how silly or awkward it may feel. Breathe into your renewal. You just may find yourself seeing the newness and joy once again.