Time to rest

Summer is a fun and funny time. I, and many people I know, expect to do all the things. Learn all the fun music that they didn’t have time to learn during the rest of the year, reorganize the house, do a summer program, go to the beach, have fun, travel, and oh yeah, rest.

Many of us who live and work in the artistic world have seasons of feast or famine. Certainly being involved in a production is a feasting mode that does not allow much time for reflection or self care. The joy of being in a show can also mean working a day job, rushing to rehearsal at night, going home to crash, and getting up early to rinse and repeat. It is simply impossible to carve out time for cooking, exercise, much less meditation or white space to unwind. 

A few weeks ago I taught a workshop and in past years I would have gone into a mild depression or funk afterwards. All the time spent in marketing and preparing, ramping up in intensity, and then suddenly it’s over. The openness of the calendar can feel strange. Or all the not-fun-details of life were put on hold and now loom large - bills, appointments, oil changes. Or maybe the calendar isn’t empty, and now I’m facing a full calendar and feeling depleted.

That funk after a big event is totally normal. Instead of fighting it, or saying I shouldn’t feel this way, what about embracing this time as an essential rebalancing of energy? Giving yourself the gift of sitting in this space will bring you back to center sooner.

The funk might be about big emotions that you didn't have time to deal with during your busy time. Or sadness that the project is over. Or worry about what's coming next, or if there is something coming next. It can be about transition time and the difficulty that transitions present. Or it might be plain old fatigue that is insisting upon being heard. 

What do you need for true rest and refilling of your artistic well?

I’ve found a new interest in drawing and watercolor painting. Let’s be clear, I don’t know what I'm doing, but I’m finding satisfaction in playing with lines and color. Maybe even feeling like not knowing what I’m doing gives me permission to do whatever I want. There is no right and wrong, no good and bad. Just curiosity and exploration. I’m even using babysitter time for this on occasion when I feel stuck or unfocused in work.

It can be hard to fit rest into our busy lives, but that's the problem, isn't it? Finding rest doesn't have to mean scheduling an entire free day, or going to the spa. Here are other restorative activities that I like: yoga, sitting under big trees in the park with my one-year-old, cooking, sipping a delicious glass of wine, journaling, acupuncture (I have a fabulous acupuncturist that I would be so happy to recommend to you), reading a book, listening to live music outdoors.

What about you? In these few remaining weeks of summer, where the to-do list might be towering because time is a-fleeting, what can you do to bring balance and resilience to the drive and determination? What feels restful? What gives you permission to follow your desire without guilt? Leave a comment and let's gather some great ways to rest and renew!