Creative Rest Makes Space for Innovation

Do you feel like you get enough rest? Does it impair your ability to be your best?

A Ted post about The Seven Types of Rest Every Person Needs got me thinking about how each type of rest described keeps me feeling balanced. Three come easily to mind – physical rest, mental rest, sensory rest. Exercise and healthy habits help with getting quality sleep, turning your brain off overdrive and unplugging. And emotional rest, social rest, and even spiritual rest make sense. Recognizing the relationships that revive us and the practices and activities that promote healthy boundaries and a sense of purpose.

One of these seven types of rest really struck me though. I hadn’t ever contemplated the concept of creative rest. It resonates profoundly with me. The notion that “creative rest reawakens the awe and wonder inside each of us.” The author shares that creative rest isn’t simply about appreciating nature, it also includes enjoying the arts. She goes on to recommend turning your workspace into a place of inspiration – display images of places you love and works of art that speak to you.

“You can’t spend 40 hours a week staring at blank or jumbled surroundings and expect to feel passionate about anything, much less come up with innovative ideas”.

My home is a collage of art and items which remind me of places I cherish, adventures I’ve undertaken, causes I care about, and people I love. I get teased about how I have a story for each of the various pieces of art, the books, even some pieces of furniture. My home office features a colorful painting which gives me joy visually and emotionally – it was painted by kids with developmental disabilities or neurological disorders and embellished by a local artist. Several watercolors of the lake where I spent summers, including grandma’s porch swing, evoke the joy of that place and the bond we shared. A collection of lovely crosses curated from my travels. Live plants and a window framing a magnificent tree. The bookshelf has mementos from various trips and adventures along with pictures of my kids (and my doggies). And of course there are books – business books and works of fiction.

My setting energizes me yet is peaceful. As I look around, I realize that I have turned my workspace into a place of inspiration. I’ve got images of places I love and works of art that speak to me and a view that allows me to take in the beauty of the outdoors.

As for the other six types of rest, I feel like I’ve got them covered most of the time. For an extra infusion, I enjoyed some time away this summer. The restorative nature of going someplace where sensory inputs are the sounds of nature rather than cars, a live concert rather than the radio, an insightful and interactive speaker instead of a recorded podcast, and a dance performance on the stage right in front of you. Where connecting with someone is visiting face to face in the park. Where getting around is pedaling over on a bike or walking through the familiar streets. Where I run into life-long friends I see only once a year and pick right up where we left off. This place gives me space to savor a cup of coffee on the porch. To work on a puzzle with the kids. To enjoy having the extended family over for wine and cheese while we all catch-up on life. I didn’t need to recover from this vacation; it was both relaxing and energizing.

As the summer fades into the busy-ness of fall and back-to-school signals the return of a more structured schedule, how will you balance the seven types of rest? How will you keep from falling into a rest deficit?