I wrote earlier in the year about how I’ve been learning just how important it is to rest. About how doing nothing isn’t the same as resting, and how I’ve needed to learn the things that help me to really relax.
You can read the earlier post here –
As I teeter on the edge of a new school year and gear up for another busy season of life, I have been taking the opportunity to remind myself of what I’ve learned.
Strangely, at times this summer, while I’ve had much more flexible time and, in theory, rest, I’ve actually found that when there is no structure it’s even harder to build in good down time. As an introvert, I definitely need to make time away from busyness and people, which can be surprisingly difficult when you’re spending a month visiting and catching up. There have been times when I’ve felt more drained by the summer than by the term at school beforehand. Not physical tiredness, but drained nonetheless.
Thankfully, I know that the return of routine, not to mention the chance to settle back into my own apartment, will help to overcome this. Soon enough, I’ll be missing those long chats and coffee shop trips once more. Hopefully, I’ll get better at structuring my own holiday time, building in rest, even rest from my vacation.
One reassuring and restful experience this summer has been the delight of reading many a book while speeding through the British countryside on one train or another. There’s something about disappearing into a fictional landscape that always helps me switch off. This is a lesson I’ll be taking into the new term with me. I often need reminding that, for me at least, there’s something restful about reading that TV or films can’t replicate. The reassuring dullness of the paper page (or kindle screen – none of these light up screens for me) helps me to recharge and lulls me to sleep.
Another thing that I’ve been reminded of is how often creativity can be a form of rest. In the sense that when we’re creative we are able to express ourselves in a different way, taking a break from our normal jobs and striking out into the unknown and experimental. For me, this could take different forms. Writing certainly helps me to make sense of my experience, not least my need for rest. But it’s been photography that has recently given me the greatest opportunity to express myself.
Very happily, I was able to take some engagement pictures for my sister and brother-in-law-to-be this summer. I’ve been experimenting with analogue photography and definitely relished the mystery and excitement of waiting to develop the shots we took while wandering the streets of Prague.
The simple pleasure of taking photographs of people I love, in the city I call home, was itself restorative to my spirit. If not conventionally restful, then expression like this certainly had many of the same benefits for me.
I know that I need to make time in my schedule for this kind of restful creativity. Whether it’s taking an afternoon to read or write, or just a photography trip around a new part of town, I’ll certainly try to do this amidst the bustle of the autumn.
You can see a few of the pictures I took in all of their blurry-ish glory below.