We work well when we live well, and part of living well includes the capacity to regenerate. Ideally we need to do this during the working day by taking mental and/or physical breaks, each day by switching off in the evening, having weekly rhythms including weekend slowdowns, and then periodically we take leave.
Of course our tendency is to try to do too much. We wear busyness as some kind of badge of honour yet pine after a more leisurely lifestyle. The choice to do less is a courageous one and at times even those we love will get upset when we say no to good things. The times when we could be slowing down and regenerating get taken up by more activity.
Naturally enough, there are seasons when life gets frantic, and unless we want to opt out completely, sometimes we will find ourselves with little or no space to take a breathe. But this is not sustainable if we desire substantial quality in our living and if those seasons stretch for too long our wellbeing takes a hit.
And tensions need to be managed. There is a difference between ‘spending time’ and ‘investing time’. When we invest, we wear a short-term loss for a long-term gain. There will be times when we forego the short-term benefits of doing what we need to do as an individual in order to cultivate long term relational or community returns.
But anyway, I go on sometimes … how was your weekend? I’d be tempted to say, “’Didn’t do much” but then of course it’s impossible to do nothing. In the end, the simple domestic realities of a family weekend can be deeply regenerative. For us that meant a trip to the hardware shop and a couple of hours pottering in the garden ripping out the tomato plants and cleaning up for winter plantings. Plenty of mucking around in the kitchen, cooking breakfasts, Maria filling the house with the smells of her amazing minestrone and me experimenting with grape, goats cheese and rosemary baked chicken …
The kids were around quite a bit (during the day!), so there was lots of lounging around including a group-watching of Sunday Sessions on Fuel TV. Oh, and some playing around with the new iPad2, laying in the hammock, picking up and dropping off kids …. Not much.
And then I am reminded of the old Aero chocolate advertisement: “It’s the bubbles of nothing that make it really something.”