Sunday Thoughts (7 types of rest)
People are just exhausted.
Not just over the last year. For as long as I’ve answered questions and hoped to provide answers.
You can be seemingly doing things the “right” way, like a healthful diet, or making time for sleep, or moving your body, and still not feel rested.
But sleep and rest are not the same. And I read a piece by an MD named Saundra Dalton-Smith that put a fine point on this.
She says so many people are suffering from a “rest deficit” because we confuse sleep and rest, when there are 7 areas of your life that need rest and restoration too.
Dr. Dalton-Smith breaks it down like this:
1. Physical rest, which can be passive or active
Passive physical rest is what we’re familiar with, sleeping & napping. Active physical rest includes things like stretching and massage, to help focus on circulation and flexibility. We should try to work in the active type, because it helps us achieve more sound and meaningful passive rest.
2. Mental rest
If you lie down at night and have a hard time turning off the day, only to wake up feeling like you haven’t really slept, you probably have a mental rest deficit.
By scheduling short breaks every couple of hours throughout the day, it will remind you to slow down. It may also help to keep a notepad by the bed, to “offload” those nagging thoughts before bed, so you can clear the deck… and your head.
3. Sensory rest
We bombard ourselves with bright lights, computers, background noise and conversations. This pandemic has taken video calls to an entirely new volume. It’s no wonder we sometimes feel overwhelmed.
Counter this by something as simple as closing your eyes for a few minutes during the day, or intentionally unplugging at a set time at night. We need to be vigilant about this to combat an overstimulating world.
4. Creative rest
If you’re someone who has to solve problems or create new ideas, you really need this. Something to reawaken the sense of wonder inside us.
Take time to get outside and appreciate the world around you. Or surround your workspace with pictures or art that speak to you. You can’t stare at a computer screen all day and expect to keep your passion about life at a full flame.
5. Emotional rest
Maybe you know someone who you’d describe as one of the nicest people in the world. It’s that person everyone depends on. The one you can call on for a favor. The one who’ll say yes even if inside they’d rather say no. People like this really suffer from an emotional rest deficit, feeling under appreciated or taken advantage of.
If that’s you, you need to make time to freely express yourself, and cut back on people pleasing. An emotionally rested person can truthfully say “not so good” when someone asks how they’re doing.
6. Social rest
You probably have a social rest deficit when you fail to distinguish between relationships that lift us up from those that drag us down. You need to surround yourself with positive and supportive people.
Relationships are like food. Healthy ones build our bodies and spirits, but junk ones can exhaust us. It’s important that you recognize the difference.
7. Spiritual rest
The final type of rest is spiritual. This can mean different things to different people. But at the core, it means a chance to connect beyond the physical and mental and feel a sense of belonging, love and purpose. Prayer, community involvement, meditation and more can fill this cup for you.
Sleep alone can’t restore us completely. Until we understand the many ways to build our energy reserves, we can’t really focus on getting the right type of rest, what our bodies and minds so desperately crave.
This gave me a lot to think about. Hopefully you get a takeaway or two that you can use in your own life too.
Have a restful end to your weekend, friend.