In our daily lives, we often focus on staying busy and productive, neglecting a critical aspect of our well-being: rest. While sleep is a fundamental form of rest, it’s just one form of rest we need. Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, a physician and author, has identified nine different types of rest that our minds and bodies require to thrive. In this blog, we will go over each of these nine types of rest and examples of how to incorporate them into your life.
Physical rest is the most well-known type of rest, and it encompasses both sleep and restorative breaks during the day. It’s about giving your body the time it needs to recover and repair. This looks like ensuring you get 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night, and take short breaks during the day to stretch or walk, especially if you have a sedentary job.
Mental rest is about giving your mind a break from constant thinking and problem-solving. It involves slowing down the racing thoughts and mental chatter. This looks like practicing mindfulness meditation to clear your mind, engage in hobbies that you enjoy, and set aside time for daydreaming without a specific goal in mind.
Our senses are constantly bombarded in today’s world, from the bright screens of our devices to the noise of traffic. Sensory rest is about reducing sensory input. This looks like spending some time in a quiet, dimly lit room without electronic devices or distractions. Consider also taking a break from strong smells and bright lights.
Creative rest is essential for those who engage in creative work, but it’s beneficial for everyone. It involves taking a break from creative tasks to recharge your creative energy. This looks like stepping away from your plans, ideas, and aspirations. Take time to become inspired by walking in nature or reading a book.
Emotional rest is about acknowledging and addressing your feelings. It’s important to allow yourself to feel emotions without judgment or guilt. This looks like journaling to process your emotions. Or reaching out to your trusted friend, or talking to your therapist to discuss your feelings and gain a more helpful perspective.
Social rest involves taking a break from social interactions, even if you’re an extrovert. It’s about finding solitude and recharging your social energy. This looks like scheduling alone time in your calendar. This could be a solo hike, a quiet evening with a book, or a weekend getaway by yourself.
Spiritual rest is about connecting with your inner self and a higher power, however, you define it. It’s about finding meaning and purpose in your life. This can look like practicing meditation, engaging in prayer, or spending time in nature to reconnect with your spiritual beliefs and values.
Cultural rest involves stepping away from cultural expectations and pressures. It’s about giving yourself permission to break free from societal norms. This can look like challenging societal expectations that don’t align with your values. Taking a day off work to celebrate a personal milestone or practice a non-traditional form of self-care.
Vocational rest is about taking a break from your work or career. It’s not just about vacations; it’s about finding fulfillment outside of your job. This can look like using your vacation days to truly rest, exploring new hobbies or interests outside of work, or even considering a sabbatical if it aligns with your goals.
Recognizing and honoring the nine types of rest is essential for maintaining a balanced and fulfilling life. Each type of rest plays a unique role in recharging different aspects of ourselves. By incorporating these types of rest into your routine, you can reduce burnout, enhance your overall well-being, and lead a more harmonious life.
Remember that rest is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. Prioritize self-care and restful activities to ensure you have the physical, mental, and emotional energy to live your life to the fullest. Whether it’s a quiet moment of mindfulness or a weekend getaway to disconnect from the world, these examples and strategies can help you achieve a more balanced and rejuvenated existence.
Stay Well- Dr. M
Samantha Morel, Ph.D.