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Restorative Reserve

Living on the edge by letting my gas tank dwindle down to empty led me to do some research on my vehicle's capacity to continue before running out of fuel. I learned that even after my gauge says empty and my dashboard alert says, "Time to refuel," there are 45 miles worth of gas left in the reserve.


This made me think about our capacity and energy as humans and how we can be more intentional about making sure we have something left for ourselves after we've given out so much to everything and everyone else.


This rumination rose to the surface during a juicy conversation I had at our Reading Room Book Discussion last month. We studied the book Homecoming: Healing Trauma to Reclaim Your Authentic Self by Dr. Thema Bryant. I created an interactive experience based on topics and themes from the book for the Connected Leadership Community members who attended the event.


I posed the question, How might you write a new script for yourself that doesn’t require you to erase, deny, or minimize your needs and values?


We broke out into pairs and as I was talking with my partner I thought about how when I've reached my limit and find myself feeling overwhelmed, I sometimes revert to rebellion or coping strategies that are harmful to my mental and physical health. This inspired me to reframe the question.


How can I honor my needs and values in healthy ways?


The answer came to me instantly. I needed to build my Restorative Reserve. I took to my journal and began creating a list of experiences and activities that I can do regularly as proactive maintenance instead of having to admit myself to the emotional emergency room.


The practices in our restorative reserves can keep our cups filled and reduce the blow of the burnout, crisis, and chaos that life throws at us unexpectedly.


Here are some questions directly from, or inspired by the book that can support you in building your restorative reserve. 


What are the things you have done in the past that have given you a sense of peace, clarity, fulfillment, or joy?


What are the ways you have fed your spirit, your mind, your heart, and your body?


If you feel disconnected from yourself, who or what has been dictating your life?


While you are taking care of others, who is taking care of you?

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