“Rest is productive activity.” Sophia Joan
Insufficient rest is prevalent across various age groups and has significantly high economic and personal costs. It can lead to the shutting down of your body systems which can cause increased incidences of cardiovascular death, chances of diabetes, obesity, derailment of cognitive functions, lowered work productivity, and vehicular and workplace accidents. Technological advances leading to increased usage of smart phones have also negatively impacted the quality of rest received. What comes to mind when someone says to you, “get some rest”? Is it get some sleep? Probably! But have you ever slept a full 8 hours or more and woke up just as exhausted? I have. Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith author of Sacred Rest said, “We have, for the most part, lumped rest over to one category, sleep which is physical rest. We do not understand that there are multiple types of rest. You are attempting to get better rest that does not fully look at the different aspects of rest and the different ways that it can be accomplished. And so, people tend to excel at getting certain types of rest and completely omit other types of rest because they do not know they exist.”
The point of rest is to relax, refresh, and recover your strength. Dr. Dalton suggests there are seven types of rest that everyone requires. As you review these seven, reflect and prioritize your rest to be your happiest and most productive self.
1. Physical: Physical rest is about
resting your body. In addition to sleep,
physical rest can include anything that
restores your body, i.e., a massage, yoga
class, or something new like a Reiki
massage that channels energy into your
body that activates the natural healing
2. Mental: Mental rest is about giving
your brain a break. People need mental
rest when they are overwhelmed and
struggle to shut off their thoughts. Mental
rest might include things like stepping
away from a busy workday to take a walk
or, as Dalton-Smith recommends, jotting
down any nagging or racing thoughts
that keep you awake in a journal before
going to sleep.
3. Emotional: Emotional rest is about
being authentic and honest with your
feelings. People need emotional rest
when they get stuck in people-pleasing
(saying yes to a commitment, when they
want to say no) or feel like they must
project a certain image (responding with
“I am fine!” when broken inside).
4. Social: Social rest is about pursuing
positive, energizing, and supportive
social connections, or simply taking
a break from socialization altogether.
People often need social rest when their
relationships leave them feeling drained
5. Sensory: Sensory rest is about giving
your senses a break. People need
sensory rest when they overwhelm
their senses with constant stimuli—for
example, spending the entire day glued
to computer, phone, and TV screens.
6. Creative: Creative rest is about exposing
yourself to artistic, nature-based,
and innovative environments, without
feeling the need to produce a creation—
and feeling the sense of inspiration that
comes along with them. People need
creative rest when they feel stuck, uninspired,
and unable to develop new ideas
or solutions to problems.
7. Spiritual: Spiritual rest is about
connecting with something larger than
yourself. People need spiritual rest
when they find themselves so caught up
in their issues that they cannot see or
connect with the bigger picture.
Which of the above seven types of rest deficiencies is taking your energy? You will never bring your whole self into whatever you want to accomplish with low energy. As a result, a change in YOU is required. How?
Prioritize: Reflect on where you are expending the most energy. Track how you are spending your time and energy, prioritize how you should spend your time, and determine the rest needed for better results. You are exposed to all seven of the areas of potential rest deficiencies. There are those that are the most prevalent. Are doing a lot of mental work? Most people use at the same time their TV, phone, and computer. What can be shut off? One of my clients suffered from an emotional rest deficiency. She thought she would not be accepted if she said no. She said yes to the point of sacrificing what she wanted and needed to please and appease others. She learned how to say no without explaining herself.
Ask and answer:
• What tasks take up the most time?
• What resources were used to accomplish the task?
• Which requires the most energy that left you the most exhausted?
Routines and Habits: Once you have answered the above questions, you are now ready to take the appropriate action to get the rest required to ensure you live a happy and productive life. Rest is an action word that means you must act. Act with urgency, discipline, commitment, and intention. Develop routines to tackle the areas that deplete you the most which makes it easier to get all the types of rest. Schedule time to relax, refresh, and recover during workdays and weekends. Put it on your calendar if needed. Some examples of habits and routines are:
• Hourly mindfulness breaks
• Minute of silent gratitude
• Short calming prayer
• Afternoon nap
• Morning exercise
• Evening walk
• No screen time Saturday mornings
• Plan vacation
• Minimize caffeine
With your goal for rest, it is imperative that you set routines and habits that will help develop the commitment and discipline needed to achieve your goal. If you are feeling tired, or worn down, you need more than a good night’s sleep. You need rest which involves your “whole being and not just your body.” You deserve a happy and productive life. It is up to you to achieve it.
“You must learn a new way to think, before you can learn a new way to be.” Marianne Williamson
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