Seven Different Types of Rest
We were exhausted, and Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith’s theory of rest was the answer to our prayers. It explained why, even after getting a full night’s sleep, we could still feel burned out. It also explained why an afternoon spent volunteering can make us feel more rested than taking a nap would.
According to Dalton-Smith’s book, entitled Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity, we all require seven distinct types of rest in order to feel truly awake and like ourselves again.
The solution to being burnt out doesn’t lie in taking a vacation; rather, it lies in finding the types of rest you need most urgently and creating mini daily rituals that assist with recharging them. In her own words, she explains this concept further below.
The Different Types of Rest
There are seven different types of rest: physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, social, sensory, and creative. Each type of rest serves a specific purpose and if you lack in any one area, it will be noticeable.
1. Physical Rest
There are two types of physical rest: active and passive. Passive forms of resting include sleeping and taking naps, which are crucial for our wellbeing.
Active forms of resting include yoga, stretching, using a foam roller, and getting massages- anything that keeps the body moving. Another important aspect of physical activity is making sure that your workstation is ergonomically correct to avoid toxic strain on the body.
An indication that you need more active physical rest in your life could be experiencing pains or aches in different areas of the body; swelling in the legs/feet after sitting down for long periods; or spasms in the back muscles.
2. Mental Rest
If you’re struggling to quiet your mind at night and fall asleep, you might be experiencing a mental rest deficit. Another example of this is when you can’t remember why you went into the grocery store or what items you needed after walking in.
Young people today are having more problems with focus and retention than ever before. Because of the fast pace of life, they can’t seem to hold on to information for more than a few minutes. We’re seeing an increase in cases of young people who can’t remember three items at a time.
3. Social Rest
Social rest is the downtime we experience with people who make us feel good. Most of our time is spent around people who take up our social energy. Not that they’re bad people, but they need things from us, whether that’s your spouse, kids, coworkers, or clients.
When you feel like everyone around you is only taking and never contributing anything back, it’s because they’re pulling from your social energy. You know this if you’ve ever found yourself saying, “Can I just have a moment for myself?”
To measure your social rest, consider all of your relationships and ask yourself if you’re always the one giving. Do you have any close companionships where you don’t feel like you need to be anything other than present?
That’s what we should aim for in our lives–people we can happily exist around. Your family can absolutely play into RoseSocial Rest but as with anyone, it’s crucial to notice the ebb and flow so that nobody is constantly left feeling drained. Instead, let everyone nurture each other equally.
4. Spiritual Rest
The amount of spiritual rest one needs is personal and depends on their belief system. However, everyone has a fundamental need to feel like they are doing something good for the world—that their work matters. We want to know that our contribution helps others and makes the world a better place.
A telltale sign of a spiritual rest deficit is an individual who has a job to make money, but feels like their work is pointless. They believe that whether they do their job well or not doesn’t matter because it won’t benefit anyone.
When you don’t feel like your work has purpose, it leads to burnout. To counter this, find something that allows you to connect with a desire for meaning; this could be through community service, or a job where you feel what you do makes an impact, among other possibilities. We all have a need to belong and know that our contribution matters.
5. Sensory Rest
Subconsciously or not, you will always react to the sensory stimuli around you. This might be things such as notifications from your phone or email, Ringing phones in the background, the visual background on a Zoom call, etc.
Overwhelming senses can trigger sensory overload syndrome. The most common response to this feeling is anger or irritability. If you often find yourself in a bad mood by the end of the day, it might be due to a lack of sensory rest earlier on.
6. Emotional Rest
Emotional labor is the term for when we bottle up our emotions and don’t share how we’re feeling with others. Many of us do this because we think it’s what’s best in the situation. For example, you may not want to share your true feelings about the pandemic with your kids so that they don’t worry.
Or, if you’re a manager and had to lay off employees, you might try to act like everything is okay so as not to completely demoralize your team.
Oftentimes, we carry emotional labor and suppress our feelings without allowing them to be expressed. This can result in the feeling that you always have to keep your emotions under wraps and that you never have the freedom to be authentic about what you’re really thinking or feeling.
7. Creative Rest
So, creative rest is the relaxation we experience when we stop to admire beauty in any shape. Whether that’s nature’s wonders, such as mountains, oceans, and forests, or man-made marvels like paintings and sculptures.
You can usually tell that you need to work on your creativity when you find it difficult to be innovative. If brainstorming is a challenge for you, or problem-solving seems impossible, then chances are good that you could use a boost in this area.
Remember, creativity isn’t just about art; it’s anything that involves innovation. A lot of people have had to tap into previously unused reserves of creative energy over the past year because everything changed so suddenly.
Because a lot of problem-solving and creative energy was necessary, many of us never considered how we would replenish our resources as we were depleting them.
Not Sure Where to Start?
Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith needed a change. She was so exhausted that she could barely move, let alone get out of bed, some days. Even though, from an outsider’s perspective, everything looked great—a wonderful house, an amazing car, a loving family—on the inside, she felt like a shell of her former self because of how drained and uninspired she constantly felt.
She needed all seven types of rest, but she couldn’t tackle them all at once. So, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith’s started with the area that she needed most: emotional rest.
The reason the rest quiz is so helpful is because it gives you a numerical score. This way, you can determine which area of rest deficit is highest and focus on implementing some strategies to help improve that specific type of rest deficiency.
The restoration process should be manageable and not take up too much of your time. You don’t have to completely check out for months on end; rather, focus on doing small things today that will make you feel better.
Even if it’s just a little bit every day, it’s still something. It’s better than nothing at all, because then at least you’re preventing yourself from depleting all your energy and burning out entirely.