Do you need rest or restoration?


Do you need rest or restoration? The difference between the two is often confusing. To rest in its simplest form is to relax, sleep or refrain from taking part in work or an activity. Restoration on the other hand is to give back or return.

To fully understand whether you need rest or restoration is to distinguish between their opposite states of being which are fatigue and depletion.

Fatigue is when the body or mind have been used to a point where your tank is sitting on zero, and you need rest to recuperate. Contrastingly, depletion is when our inner resources of energy have been drained. It’s a feeling of being spiritually and emotionally empty.

If you think of the phrase, “My cup runneth over or my cup overflows” it means abundance, love, and blessings. The cup is a container, it is our body and mind. The contents of the cup are our emotions, and spirit, in other words our inner resources. In order for our cups to be overflowing we need more input as opposed to output.

The confusion as to whether we need rest or restoration occurs because we often misdiagnose our condition. We think we are fatigued so we rest but in fact we might be depleted which means no amount of rest will restore our inner resources. When we are depleted, we need restoration rather than rest. This is why some people go on wonderful summer vacations and spend all their time relaxing but wonder why they return home feeling as exhausted as before.

We are now fully in the throes of cycles of this pandemic, going from strict lockdowns to easing of restrictions and back to strict lockdowns again. We are not just exhausted; we are depleted because our usual channels of restoration are not readily available to us anymore.

We are normally restored by human contact through the exchange of energy, conversation, and ideas whether it’s with colleagues, friends and family or fellow travellers at airports, staff at restaurants or assistants in stores.

The virtual world has kept us going but it hasn’t restored our inner energy.

The way to treat depletion is with restoration not with relaxation.

While relaxation is a passive state of “not-doing”, restoration is a deliberate, active choice of activities different from your routine activities, which add energy instead of consume energy.

Here are some examples of restorative activities:

  • Regular meditation or prayer
  • Walking in nature and stopping to notice all the sounds, colours, and textures around you
  • Reading something that moves your soul and inspires you
  • Physically spending quality time and connecting with family and friends
  • Listening to beautiful music that is rich in sound and touches your heart
  • Regular journaling
  • Applying your mind to a challenging task that is unrelated to work
  • Traveling and exploring

It’s as important as ever to regularly to check in family, friends, and colleagues. Sometimes it’s a little laugh, deep, meaningful conversation or a contemplative dinner that will spark a restorative process that is often sorely needed.


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Lisa Marie Lawler is a writer, health and wellness advocate, content creator and traveller.

Connect with us on Instagram: @fashionhandbooksa & Twitter: @safashionbook



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