The Seven Types of Rest we need to Thrive

When we take the time to think about the situations we are in, we can begin to programme how we will respond for our highest good. When thinking about what I need, I often feel that the one thing I tend to regularly overlook is down time, although I am getting better at this. 

I used to wake up in the morning after having 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep and still felt as tired and weary as when I went to bed. Whilst I know that burnout can signal adrenal fatigue and that cortisol levels are not well regulated; I also like the notion that perhaps it is another type of rest I needed besides sleep.

Rest is more than just sleep!
Whenever we think of rest, we think passivity. Everything must come to a halt and we should preferably be ‘static’. But that is just one type of rest you are thinking of. The other 6 types you miss out could be keeping you away from fully expressing your full potential. Most people, when they think about rest, they have a very one-sided approach—they lounge around, don’t do anything, and think that is what rest is. We try it, and then when we are still rest-deprived we think it does not work.

What is rest and why do we need it? 
Rest is the time in which one replenishes one’s energy resources, both mentally and physically, to prepare one’s body to perform the next set of activities with the desired vigour.  
It is not only about restoring the energy in our body but also about being able to get back to work with the same intensity. We do get drained mentally and physically when we have been working for long hours and actively using our energies. Staying busy is easy. But resting has become a challenge. According to Dr Saundra Dalton-Smith, author of Sacred Rest, humans need physical, emotional, mental, sensory, social, creative, and spiritual rest. 

1. Physical Rest 
It is quite simple to understand when we are physically exhausted. When it becomes difficult for you to keep your eyes open anymore, it is a signal that your body is overworked and in need of rest. Physical rest is typically meant for releasing tension and soothing your body which helps to restore the essential energy required for physical activities that we must expend energy on. When the body is denied physical rest for too long, it will significantly lose its functional efficiency. Through the natural process of aging our need for physical rest gets more noticeable. 

Whether you are working out or sitting too long at the desk, your body requires a physical rest in the form of body stretching, deep breathing and power naps. 
Do not underestimate the power of physical rest. Go hit the bed an hour earlier than usual, stop electronic gadgets and get a good sleep.

2. Emotional rest
Emotional overload, be it in your personal or professional sphere can deteriorate your brain’s functional efficiency. Emotional rest is a vital component in promoting your mental health, happiness, contentment, and holiness. Most of our lives we are on our defensive mode. We are so used to suppressing our emotions that currently, emotional rest is all we need. 

Switch-off your defensive mode and get down to express everything that is bothering you to someone you can completely trust. Make it a point to unburden your emotional load at the end of each day either by writing a journal, by self-talking or sharing disturbing emotions with someone. 
Emotional rest also includes taking care to stay disconnected from people who provoke negative emotions in you like anger, envy, shame, guilt, jealousy or even frustration. 

3. Mental rest
Do you feel like your brain is burnt out? Then you need some mental rest. 
Recently are you overthinking too much, keeping yourself stuck in the past and being unable to look forward? Is your brain even bursting with thoughts? A lack of mental rest will lead to mental stagnation which is in no way good for you. The major signs that you need a mental rest is indecisiveness, restlessness, lack of attentiveness and increased number of errors in work. 
Mental rest is best sort by including meditation in your daily routine or by chanting some calming mantra. Spending some time in nature, doodling can also replenish your overtaxed brain. 

4. Sensory rest
Sensory exhaustion is one of the most prevalent drainers thanks to the prevalence of screens. It has caused a lot of eye strain and neck tension, and a lot of divorces and broken relationships and it becomes easier to talk to the computer. That breaks intimacy, and overtime, it breaks relationships.

We often have a habit of taking breaks in between work and all we do in that spare time is not take restorative rest. Rather we stare at the screen and call it relaxing.  Give your sensory system some time to restore itself by unplugging all electronic devices like cell phones, televisions, mixer grinders, loud chimneys, toasters etc. Make it a point to remain away from the cacophony of the busy life for at least 30 minutes a day. Cut out loud noises and lie down closing your eyes in a room having the least connections to electrical appliances.

5. Social rest
Some of us feel that socialising is a way of decluttering our minds after a hard day. On the contrary, socializing takes an extra dose of energy which further exhausts us. 
Public figures and celebrities need this social rest. We often think socialising happens as a reflex, but it takes our conscious effort.
Social rest entails catching up with someone with whom you can unwind your day and talk our heart out, without apprehension. Another way to rest socially is by incorporating solitude in your day when you can reconnect with yourself. 

6. Creative rest
When was the last time you flexed your creative side? Think about the time you brainstormed ideas at work or planned a surprise party for your bestie? 
You use your creative flair more often than you think you do. So, it is not unusual to run out of creative ideas. To keep getting more innovative at the ideas you implement in work, you should take small ‘creative breaks. 
Go for a walk (without any electrical gadgets), take inspiration from nature, read an engrossing yet simple book, listen to soothing music. This will help you revive the much-needed lost creative resources.

7. Spiritual rest 
If you feel ungrounded, purposeless, and empty, you might need spiritual rest. We seldom get the chance to discuss philosophical ideas, diving deeper into ourselves. Introspection is an efficient means to delve beyond the surface. If you are a religious person, practice your religious routines. Go for spiritual discussions with your close people about the meaning of one’s life.

You could go for practicing gratitude by writing every day in a piece of paper about why you feel thankful that day and stick it somewhere you can see.  The hubbub of our busy life will often choke us off the holy grail of life. You need to find yourself the peace, your mind and body seek.

Dalton has a quiz that you can take to assess which types of rest you need to take the most. I was curious so took the test and found that I scored highly in mental, emotional, and sensory areas, meaning I needed rest the most in these types of rest. Try it for yourself HERE and let me know if this approach works for you over the coming weeks, love Nina xx


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