Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith has done extensive research into the field of rest. When it comes to restoring ourselves, she notes that we've always placed our focus on getting enough sleep. While sleep is very important, there are other types of rest we need as human beings to show up as our best selves.
Rest looks different for each one of us and in different times in our lives. So which type of rest is best for you? The answer isn't black and white. The type of rest you need varies from day to day, hour to hour or task to task.
Assessing how you feel will help you determine which type of rest you need in any given moment.
Which Type of Rest Do You Need?
Take a moment to close your eye and ask yourself how you feel. Are you feeling overwhelmed? Do you experience regular bouts of anxiety? Do you feel lethargic?
- Can't focus on your tasks or quiet your mind? You need Mental Rest
- Feel disconnected or like you don't fit in? You need Spiritual Rest
- Can't speak your truth or share your feelings? You need Emotional Rest
- On a device too much? Is you environment too loud? You need Sensory Rest
- Feeling lethargic? No energy? You need Physical Rest
- Uninspired or unimpressed? You need Creative Rest
- No time for yourself? Too many people need your help? You need Social Rest
Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith has broken down the 7 types of rest that we all need in our lives. There are countless articles on how she recommends we find rest on a daily basis. I've broken it down in my words below.
Physical rest is exactly what it sounds like. Resting your physical body. Physical rest can be broken down into two subsections: Passive Rest and Active Rest.
Passive Physical Rest is achieved when the body is sleeping. Think sleeping during the night or napping. We need 7 -9 hours of passive physical rest everyday. If you find yourself tossing and turning a lot at night - consider having a nap during the day to catch up on the rest you need.
Active Physical Rest is achieved through an active that restores the body. Think yoga, meditation or massage. While this type of rest isn't as essential as passive rest - active physical rest is still important. Try to do an activity that allows you to rest at least 2 - 4 times per week.
Mental Rest is all about giving your mind a break. Think turning off your email notifications, stepping away from your desk or shifting your mental focus with some simple breath work. Doctors recommended a quick break from work or any focused task every two hours.
It can be helpful to schedule a reminder in your phone to standup or shift positions every two hours during your work day. If you don't have time for a 15 minute break - try to stand up and stretch, have a healthy snack or walk a lap around your office or house.
If you feel overwhelmed with thoughts, try writing down your thoughts to help get them out of your head. Journalling is a great way to rest!
Dr. Dalton Smith describes emotional rest as allowing yourself the freedom to authentically express feelings and stop people-pleasing behaviours. It's about being honest and authentic with your feelings. Which, let's be honest - isn't always possible or welcome. As mothers, women, family members or just humans in general we have to project a certain image or suppress our true feelings often.
Give yourself some emotional rest by journalling all your true thoughts and feelings or speaking with someone you trust. Whether it's a licensed therapist or your best friend - talk to someone with whom you can be yourself. When they ask "how are you feeling?" instead of the standard answer of "fine" try telling them exactly how you feel. You'll find this is a great way to relieve emotional stress.
Your senses are constantly being overwhelmed with sounds, screens and other stimuli. Take a minute to assess the space around you currently? How many lights are on? What noises are in the background? What can you turn off to help reduce your sensory stress?
Freeing yourself from too much stimuli can help to reduce your stress and anxiety. Unplug electronics. Turn off some lights. Turn off the radio or TV. Finding a quiet space to sit and close your eyes for a few minutes everyday will allow your eyes and energy to recharge.
Meditation is a great exercise to relieve sensory stress, too!
Spiritual rest can look different depending on your beliefs. But at the heart of it spiritual rest is about connect with something larger than yourself. When you can't see past yourself or feel disconnected with the world, you might need spiritual rest.
Joining a new church or group or attending one you've been to before can increase feelings of belonging or being accepted. Perhaps try group meditation or attending a yoga class to get the spiritual rest you need.
Creative rest is just that - creative. Get creative with the type of rest you need. Do you like to knit? Bake? Write? Build? Sing or Dance? Find a creative activity that inspires you and do that!
Alternatively, if you have a job that requires you to be creative you might need a break from creativity. Go for a walk and leave your phone at home. Meditation is also a great way to both get a break from being creative or to inspire creativity!
Social rest is about pursuing energizing, positive and supportive social connections, or perhaps taking a break from socializing altogether. It requires us to examine our relationships to determine which people give us energy and which people take our energy.
Our children, co-workers, family and spouses will always demand more energy from us which can leave us feeling drained and exhausted. While we can't escape our responsibilities, we can take some time in between to give ourselves social rest.
Take a walk by yourself. Read a book. Try a social media cleanse for a few days. All of these are positive ways to reduce stress and replenish yourself for the next time your toddler needs you to clean up their mess... again.
Tools for the 7 Types of Rest
Spiritual Rest - Yoga Bolsters are a much needed prop for practicing yoga. Grab a bolster and sign up for a yoga class to connect with your community.
Emotional Rest - Wooden Phone Holder can hold up your phone while you FaceTime with your therapist or best friend.
Sensory Rest - Flax & Lavender Eye Pillows will block out the light to help you relax and restore.
Physical Rest -Buckwheat Hull Pillows to cradle your head while you nap or sleep.
Creative Rest - Meditation Cushions will encourage you to sit for meditation to rest from your creative job or inspire you to be more creative.
Social Rest - Add some Calm Oil to your diffuser to and hide from your social responsibilities for a few minutes.
Mental Rest - Yoga Straps are a great tool to help you stretch and be mindful of your movements.