Wednesday 25 October 2017

Finding my restorative niches

A few years ago I shared a book that made a huge impression on me - Quiet by Susan Cain. Something that has stuck with me was the concept of the restorative niche - a term for the place that you go when you want to return to your true self. It can be either a physical location that you visit, or a temporal one, a way of taking a break from what you are doing. In particular, it's a way for introverts to recharge.

I find that I get very tired when I'm around lots of people, even when they are good friends and family, and I need time to myself in my head where I can switch off from everything. In the past I would turn to a book but I've found lately that mindlessly scrolling through social media on my phone serves much the same purpose - I need to redirect myself back to a book so at least it feels a bit more productive!

Things are much easier now that the children are at school and I have time to myself during the day. I find it very difficult when they are both around even if they are occupying themselves, I am on edge all the time as things can descend into chaos very quickly. During the weekdays I can take plenty of time to myself which helps my mental health considerably.

I've always enjoyed walking, and where I can I'll walk instead of driving. I find that with no distractions my thoughts can run free, and I can work through problems or make plans. Going for a run is similar, except my thoughts tend to turn to working out how much longer I need to keep running for and whether to take a shortcut or not! Swimming is great for switching off too, especially when the pool isn't too busy and I don't have to concentrate on picking a path through other swimmers.

In terms of a physical location that act as a restorative niche for me, it has to be the sea. Whether a windswept pebbly beach near our home or a sandy tropical paradise, I love walking along hunting for treasures in the seaweed or just staring out to sea watching the waves. I'm very lucky that we live so close to the coast and I can visit pretty much whenever I want!

Worthing beach at sunrise

As Harry gets older I've started to notice my traits in him. When we get home from a play date or a long day out, he'll disappear off by himself for some quiet time. He'll either be sitting putting some Lego together and whispering to himself under his breath, or hidden away somewhere with his book. I've learned to build restorative niches into his day if we are out and about - for example taking a book along with us if we are going somewhere busy like a wedding or a party that lasts longer than a couple of hours and finding him a quiet corner to tuck himself away.

Do you feel the same? How do you build restorative niches into your day?

1 comment:

  1. I haven't any solutions but agree with every word!


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