rest as easeful routine
seven accessible ways to take gentle care
In June, still high on the fresh air from a dreamy trip to the Maine countryside, I wrote of rest: the lingering rest my pots-in-progress need as they dry before a firing; the rest my body and nature-starved spirit crave, fulfilled in our little rental in Maine with outdoor showers and slow mornings on the porch. Weeks later, back in Brooklyn, I feel exhausted and drained, crawling into bed early every night, barely able to keep my eyes open for two pages of my book.
There aren’t any nature filled retreat plans in my future, just work and occasional weekend strolls a few blocks to Fort Greene Park. I imagine this is typical for most; it’s difficult and expensive to cruise out of the city regularly. It’s an occasional privilege I’m grateful for, that fills me up in ways I desperately need, and wish I could access more. But what to do, when I’m in the place I find myself now: late summer in the city with no plans of escape. My concrete-filled predicament left me pondering over other, more accessible forms of rest I can give myself. A regular maintenance plan of restful care.
I started with yoga. On Sunday evening I reluctantly sauntered over to a restorative yoga class a few blocks away. On the mat, I found my body and mind unwinding in ways that my other restful practices simply can’t access. I realized this type of active rest feels just as important as the sleep I get each night. Other forms of rest came to mind: leaving my phone outside of my bedroom in the evenings, giving my mind a break from it’s presence and my eyes a break from it’s screen or my pup forcing walks into my days, never failing to restore me.
Uncovering the importance of these little moments of rest led me to discover that there are seven types of rest that every human needs. Here they are, with simple thoughts on how we can incorporate them into easeful routine, no weekend excursions necessary.
Mental rest: Choose a time each day to make a mug of tea or coffee and sit to watch the steam rise for a few moments. Just taking the walk away from your desk, warming and pouring the water, and noticing the steam can help ground and refocus you. (Bonus if the mug is handmade!)
Creative rest: Take a stroll with a homemade viewfinder. Simply cut a hole in the center of a piece of paper and, on your walk, hold it in front of you as you notice your enviornment in a new light. Peeking through the hole gives a slightly focused look into your surroundings. A simple shift in perspective, a fresh awe in the beauty around you.
Emotional rest: Practice opening up to those you love and trust, give them opportunity and space to support you. Yesterday I was feeling low and reached out to my partner to let him know I was in my feelings. At the end of the day, he showed up with an armful of lilies. It was such a simple surprise that brightened my entire mood. By vulnerably expressing my true feelings to him, he was able to provide the support I needed.
Social rest: After spending time with friends, take a moment to recognize how you feel - are you energized or do you feel worn? Over time, work to surround yourself with those who buoy you.
Sensory rest: Light a candle, maybe with a handmade match holder. Set aside a few minutes to simply watch the flame flicker. If it helps, focus on your breath, counting as you breathe in and out. This time away from screens and chatter can help recharge.
Physical rest: Find a time in your day that you can incorporate five minutes of stretching. I have a hard time getting on my mat, even for just five minutes, so it helps to write down three stretches I’ll do and then just start (the most satisfying for me are twists, like this one).
Spiritual rest: One way I find space to connect beyond the physical world around me and seek a sense of purpose is through mindfulness and time in nature. I draw from these ideas in my Mindful Pottery Subscription, where I make space for me and my members to ground in mindful moments every month.
Three images that inspired me on Pinterest this week:
And finally, this week’s messy studio photo is a peek at my studio shelf! In NYC, shared ceramic studios give you one little shelf to store your work and tools. It’s small, but these days I’ve been focusing on working with what I have and, for now, it’s this tiny slice of space near the Brooklyn Navy Yard:
Thank you for being here <3