Rest vs Restore: 10 Easy Restore Activities You Can Start Now

self-help Jan 12, 2021

There’s a difference to me between “Rest” and “Restore.” Rest is what you do with your eyes closed – when you lay down in bed at night. Rest is taking a few minutes to sit after the completion of a hard task or at the end of a busy day. Rest is like a pause – temporary and fleeting yet still necessary and important. Restore however is deep. It’s from the top down – it’s deep and to the core with lasting effects. Restore is mindful, has longevity potential and builds upon itself. Restore is patient and life changing.

For just about my entire career, I had an end of the year routine. I would work, work, work right up until the Christmas Break, take whatever time off was afforded to me (sometimes spending most of it in a hockey arena cheering on my boys) and carve out of that time off, a few hours to think about the new year ahead and what I was going to do with it. Back to reality I went the first week of January – feet hitting the ground running until the next break usually in July or August barely taking any time to breathe. The cycle continued like this for 31 years. Then in 2020 a pandemic hit the world and my “end of the year ritual” looked very different.

Thankfully (yes was thankful), 2021 started with a complete lockdown in our part of the world. Only essential businesses were allowed to be open for the month of January and all others (ours included) were shut down once again. Large gatherings of friends and family were very discouraged. Suddenly, after 31 years of the same routine, things looked every different to me. December fairly stress-free (our business was stepped down mid-way through) and our family of four spent Christmas at the cottage for the very first time – opening presents on the 25th overlooking the frozen lake. There were no hockey games or driving for miles. There was peace and there was quiet as January did not require me to rush to get back to work. I got up early, watched the sun rise, read books and walked with my dogs every day – I took it slow and I took it steady. I took time to purposefully restore my mind and my body.

When pangs of guilt tried to creep into my brain, I quickly told them to step aside, for this was my time, the first in forever, to truly sit with myself and restore. 2021 will bring work, stress and struggle, that’s what life is all about, but by restoring myself while I have the gift of time, I will be able to ride those waves to the next sunny shore with clarity and purpose.

Restore activities all have one thing in common – they all have “self” at the core. Restore activities can be done in short spurts or over longer periods of time working up to complete Restore days and even weeks! I like to call Restore activities “Me Minutes”.

Here are 10 Restorative “Me Minute” activities that you can start to incorporate into your daily life right now:

  1. Yoga – Yoga has been around forever and offers many different practice styles. There are thousands of free YouTube video practices, many affordable online yoga courses if you prefer doing a self-directed practice. Google yoga near you to find a studio that you can frequent. Try different styles to see which one is right for you! Anyone at any age and with any body type can do yoga.
  2. Tai Chi – Tai Chi is slow purposeful exercise similar to yoga with deep roots dating back to the 1600s. Research shows incredible benefits from improved balance to pain relief and of course mental clarity.
  3. Meditation – An amazing restore activity that can bring you truly in touch with your inner spirit. A great little book to learn the art how to meditate is “Unplug” by Suze Yalof Schwartz.
  4. Exercise – The cool thing about exercise is just by moving your body for at least 20 minutes a day, you’re there! Add some of your favourite music and you will forget what’s weighing heavy in no time (unless you’re weight-lifting of course!)
  5. Reading – Reading is not for everyone, so if it’s not your thing, try books on tape. The point of reading is learning, growing and escaping either through real-life stories or fictional characters.
  6. Spend time with a Marble Jar friend – Brené Brown talks about Marble Jar friends – those that you can trust beyond a doubt. Take a listen here to understand the concept and identify who your Marble Jar friends are. Limit your time with toxic people who don’t add value to your life.
  7. Get creative – I appreciate that creativity in the way of the visual arts is not everyone’s strong suit, but if you happen to have a fancy for it, carve out some time in your week to explore and grow visually. You don’t have to be Picasso to spend a few minutes a day coloring in one of the many Adult coloring books available now. There’s something almost meditative getting lost in simple coloring.
  8. Journal – Don’t underestimate the power of writing things down. Journaling even just 15 minutes a day can help to clear and restore your mind. My 15-minute-a-day journaling practice is easy to incorporate into your day. Send me an email and I will send you my free 15-minute a day journaling guide.
  9. Tea-time – I’m a tea-totaller so tea-time for me is treasured time. I combine my first cup in the morning with my journaling time and block off a half hour in my favorite chair – uninterrupted.
  10. Get outside ­– Depending on where you live, your definition of outside might be very different from mine, but the benefits of fresh air are worth it, even if it’s only for a few minutes a day!

I’m devoting 2021 to Restore and to helping you discover the power of it and how you can fit it into your life evoking change and renewal.

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