In our 24/7 world, it’s so hard to take a break and life can easily become stressful and imbalanced. But rest is essential for physical, mental and spiritual well-being. From naps to meditation, in this blog post we are going to look at the 7 types of rest that you should incorporate into your daily routine in order to restore energy, gain clarity, increase vitality and just simply enjoy life more.
Wait! There are 7 DIFFERENT types of rest?
Why, yes! Sleep isn’t enough and vacations have a bad habit of making us even more tired. Saundra Dalton-Smith, M.D., wrote in her book, Sacred Rest, “rest is the most underused, chemical-free, safe and effective, alternative therapy available to us.” The seven types of rest are physical, mental, sensory, emotional, social, creative, and spiritual. Let’s take a look.
The least surprising type of rest is physical rest. We all know we need sleep, but there is more to it than that. This is the type of rest we use to get away from the physical activities that cause us to become fatigued, so a good restful night’s sleep fits in here, but so does napping, relaxation, and “active” physical rest like yoga, stretching, and getting a massage.
Do you, like many others in the United States, suffer from racing thoughts as soon as your head hits the pillow? If so, you may be struggling with a mental rest deficit. One way you can help yourself achieve mental rest is to remind yourself to pause, slow down, and take small breaks throughout the day. Another exercise that may help is called “thought diffusion.” This is where you allow yourself to have a thought without attaching an emotion to it, allow it to flow in and gently pass without putting pressure on it to move slower or faster. Think of it like a leaf floating downstream.
In our world, we are constantly in a state of stimulation. Phones, TV, Instagram, kids, TikTok, alarms, music, pets, husbands, et cetera. If this sounds all too familiar, try some intentional sensory deprivation. Put your phone down and turn off all screens at least 45 minutes before bedtime, silence unnecessary notifications during the work day, or try the “five senses grounding approach,” where you focus on one sense at a time.
Emotional rest occurs when you honestly express your emotions. We often respond to “How are you doing?” with “Fine.” or “Great!” even when we are not fine or great. This suppression of true emotions puts more internal pressure on you. When you express your true emotions or feelings, it helps take that weight off of your mind. Vent to a friend, write your thoughts down in a journal, or speak with a therapist to gain some emotional rest.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Knowing this may help with your social rest. Many introverts feel drained, like their social battery has run out, when they are around people for extended periods of time. Extroverts often feel energized when surrounded by people. For some, like me, it depends on the people. Knowing the limits of, and how to recharge, our social battery can help tremendously with our social rest.
Have you ever heard of writer’s block? This occurs when an author can’t quite seem to think of what to write about or what the next part of their story should be. This happens in all creative mediums, but it can also happen in the workplace. Sometimes you need to step away from a project and allow yourself to recharge before getting back to it.
If you ever feel like the work you are doing is for naught, it’s possible you have not gotten enough spiritual rest. Spiritual rest helps you to reconnect with your personal belief system. Whether you turn to prayer, purpose, or meditation, spiritual rest can restore your sense of purpose and help you to refocus.Try practicing your religion, joining a volunteer program, or retreating to nature. These will allow you to create a deeper connection with something greater than yourself.
Having the proper rest and relaxation are essential for mental and physical well-being. We’ve discussed the seven types of rest – physical, mental, sensory, emotional, social, creative, and spiritual. Allowing each type of rest its own time is just as important as eating when you’re hungry or taking a water break when you’re thirsty. Finding the harmony between play, work, and rest will put your mind and body in a more relaxed state, allowing it to heal. Most importantly, don’t overwork yourself. Make sure you treat your body and mind with care because it will pay off in the long run. Take a few minutes off throughout your day to properly rest and see how much better you feel.
Skowron, C. (2022, December 21). The 7 kinds of rest you need to actually feel rejuvenated. Psychology Today. Retrieved April 20, 2023, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/a-different-kind-of-therapy/202212/the-7-kinds-of-rest-you-need-to-actually-feel-rejuvenated
Norris, R. (2023, January 6). 7 types of rest you should be getting to avoid burnout and Amplify Happiness. The Wellnest. Retrieved April 20, 2023, from https://www.humnutrition.com/blog/types-of-rest/
Chanel, A. (2023, February 9). Did you know you need 7 types of rest? see which types you need here. YouAligned. Retrieved April 20, 2023, from https://youaligned.com/7-types-of-rest/Erin McGreal RN, BSN