1. To revive with or as if with rest, food, or drink; give new vigor or spirit to.
2. To give new freshness or brightness to; restore.
3. To make cool, clean, or moist; freshen up.
4. To renew by stimulation: refresh one’s memory.
5. To fill up again; replenish: refresh a drink.
6. Computer Science
a. To renew (the image on a display screen) by renewing the flow of electrons from the cathode-ray tube: The faster a monitor refreshes images, the less it flickers.
b. To maintain (data in a dynamic RAM) by sending a new electric pulse to recharge the chips.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004.
It doesn’t matter what our daily routine is, whether we work outside the home, inside the home, or all over the home (“Mom, can you come upstairs? Mom, can you come downstairs? Mom, can you help me in the bathroom? Mom, come look at this…”), it doesn’t matter how much we may love what we do; it is hard to maintain any activity or work for days, months and years on end without starting to feel tired, frustrated or just plain stale. We need a break. We need to be refreshed.
So just how do we refresh ourselves? Conventional wisdom often tells mothers to take a break from the children, get away and take time for themselves. But that isn’t always practical nor is it desirable in every situation or to every parent. Refreshing can take many forms; over the next several days I’m going to tackle the definition of refresh to see what we can learn from it about bringing some refreshing into our lives.
The first meaning of the word refresh talks about reviving with rest, food, or drink. Basic human needs every one of them. If you aren’t getting them all met, sooner or later your energy will run out.
I do not have the magic equation to grant you a good night’s sleep when you have small children. You will have to find what works best for your family, taking into account the needs of all. Be creative. And eliminate the sleep-stealers that you can, late night tv watching, drinking caffeine late in the day (something I’m learning I must give up), reading ‘just one more chapter’ in the latest book. For more on sleep, check out The National Sleep Foundation at http://www.sleepfoundation.org.
Reviving with food and drink isn’t just about getting enough to eat or drink, it’s also about the quality of what we are putting in our bodies. I’ve been eating too much sugar lately (don’t make me tell you how many times I had to replace the Easter candy I’d purchased for the boys before Easter even got here) and I notice the difference in my physical and mental energy. I also notice when my diet is getting heavy in processed carbohydrates (white flour). I’m not a nutritional purist by any means. I tend to not buy into any one particular ‘method’ of eating. So I’m not going to tell you to go vegetarian, or to start grinding your own grains and raising your own chickens. Just think about what you are putting into your body and how it makes you feel. Less processed and fresher is almost always better. I recommend reading In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan for a quick and easy primer on how far our diet has come from that which is most nourishing to both body and soul. Experiment until you find that combination that works best for you. Make mealtimes a time to be celebrated, not just another task. Put out the pretty placemats, light a candle, talk to your family. After you’ve gone to all the work of preparing a meal, celebrate it!
Today, take just one step towards refreshing and renewing your life. Put down that candy bar (yes, you). Drink some water. Go to bed half an hour earlier.
Next…refreshing and restoration, or ‘Why I do not have a career in furniture refinishing’