Choosing Restorative Niche Activities 3
In the two previous blogs I’ve given three tips of six to choose restorative activities that suit you: come to Jesus and allow Him to replenish your soul, choose something that you love doing, and something that absorbs your attention.
Here is my fourth tip: Choose because you will be in control.
We often feel controlled by life’s seasons, events, demands of work and family, frustrating interruptions to plans, restrictions of time, location, and finances. We may feel that we don’t have any control over what we do with our time, or who we are, or where we want to head, and that our dreams and personal goals are being constantly overwhelmed by the expectations and demands of others.
Restorative activities need to be those where we feel a sense of control because that brings a sense of freedom, which in turn allows us rest.
Try these statements to assess your control over your restorative activities
- “It doesn’t matter if I do this or not“. If you can put it down at any time, you are in control.
- “There’s no timeframe for completion. It doesn’t even matter if I finish this or not.” If you are not governed by timeframes or the need to complete an activity, you are in control.
- “There can be no expected outcomes/goals other than that I relaxed into this and enjoyed it.” If you engaged with a sense of freedom and enjoyment, then you are in control.
- “I don’t need to make money from this.” We sometimes read of people who suffered burnout or a physical injury that meant they had to stop work, and who, during their recovery time, discovered or returned to an activity that they enjoyed. This then became their primary source of income, rather than a purely restorative activity. This works for some, but not for everyone. There is the danger that the external controlling demands like deadlines, having to perform to a certain standard, the required ability to market yourself and your product, and making enough money will take over and cause more stress than the restorative element gives. If there is no pressure to bring in income from the restorative activity, then you are in control.
- “It doesn’t matter if I botch it up, make mistakes. It doesn’t matter if I am good at this or not. Who says if I am good at it anyway?” Comparison kills the restoration process by giving others control to create goals for you. Be free to enjoy without looking to others. You don’t have to show your writing, your artwork, your garden, talk about your exercise, your reading, your musical instrument playing… to those who may point out perceived mistakes or begin to talk about their own ‘successes’, thereby making you feel inadequate. Relax and enjoy your chosen pastime. You are in control.
Apply the above statements to your current or hoped for replenishing activities. Take note of your feelings. Finally ask, “Am I in control or does this activity control me?” Amend your activities accordingly.