Finding Creative Rest in a Busy World

by Nina Meehan

I was recently listening to a podcast featuring Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith in which she was discussing the seven different kinds of rest that we need. One really stood out to me: Creative Rest. Her definition of creativity is any time we need to solve a problem. 

Dr. Dalton-Smith recommends that those of us who are in creative thinking mode all day every day need a rest from that kind of work and that we can find that rest through viewing beauty.  That could be through seeing art in an art gallery, going to see live theatre, listening to music or spending time in nature. I realized that, in my life, pre-pandemic, I engaged in a lot of these activities–exploring a new exhibit at a museum, watching musicals and plays, going to live concerts–but all of these activities came to an abrupt halt when the shut down started. Instead, I drastically increased my time in nature. Like so many of us, taking walks, going on hikes, camping, cross country skiing. . . all of these became a lifeline for me. It wasn’t until I heard this podcast that I realized that being outdoors–in the mountains, at the beach, observing wildflowers–had taken on a critical new dimension, both physical and spiritual.  

Now, the arts and culture sector has opened again, and I am seeing shows again and it feels amazing!  But, I am still in nature whenever possible, and I have a newfound appreciation for the creativity and beauty of nature.  

  • The wind in the trees is a symphony.
  • The sunset is a glorious painting.
  • Two squirrels arguing over an acorn is theater.
  • The movement of the waves as they crash on the shore is modern dance.

As we move into the spring and summer, I want to encourage all of us parents to take the Creative Rest we need. Find the beautiful things that inspire you! Go see the shows AND enjoy the exquisite nature all around us.  It might just give your depleted system the rest it needs.