Did you know that sleep and rest are not the same thing?
Many of us believe we are rested when we’ve gotten a good night’s sleep — but there are other types of rest we need and are desperately lacking. Many of us are enduring a rest deficiency because of the “constantly busy” culture that makes us believe we have to produce and achieve 24/7. Downtime of any sort isn’t “socially” acceptable. And if we do take time to truly rest and relax, we often are left feeling guilty.
The result? A whole lot of constantly tired and chronically burned-out people.
Our society doesn’t realize and recognize the power of rest. Rest is about rejuvenation, not just sleep.
An article on Ideas.Ted.com discussed the seven essential types of rest that every one of us requires.
This is the rest that immediately comes to mind, but it entails more than sleeping. Physical rest has two components. The first is passive, such as when we are sleeping or taking a nap. Active physical rest are times we engage in restorative practices such as yoga, getting a massage, or taking a leisurely walk. These activities improve flexibility and circulation.
Have you ever had “monkey mind,” where thoughts, to-do lists, and projects swirl around like a mental tornado? Your brain simply won’t shut off. Even if you get eight hours of sleep, you feel groggy no matter how much caffeine you consume. This is an indicator that you need mental rest.
To allow yourself mental respite, be sure to take periodic breaks throughout the day. Step away from your desk every two hours. Take a short walk, grab a cup of tea, stretch, and take a few deep breaths. Before you leave work, write down all of your to-dos for the next day. Consider keeping a pad by your bed to jot down any niggling thoughts that could interfere with your sleep.
Noise, lights, screens, conversation, Zoom calls, all of these deplete our energy. It’s essential to take time away from this type of sensory overload. Intentional breaks can be stepping away from the hub-bub into a quiet space, closing your eyes for a few minutes and taking deep breaths, or unplugging from all electronics at a designated time each day. Deliberately depriving ourselves of the influx of the sights and sounds that overwhelm and crowd our world helps us reset and feel rejuvenated.
Have you ever been attempting to do something creative but felt stuck, blocked, or uninspired? But, after you walked away, the ideas and inspiration bubbled up seemingly from nowhere? For those who solve problems, brainstorm ideas, innovate, write, or do anything even slightly artistic or imaginative, creative rest is a must.
Creative rest reignites our wonder and awe. When wonder and inspiration are at a low point, it’s time to allow our mind to set aside trying to force creativity and instead absorb and appreciate all forms of beauty. Go out in nature, look at works of art that inspire you, read a good book, listen to music, anything that reawakens your creative spark.
Have you ever said yes to something even though you wanted to say no? Many of us do this, and are left feeling unappreciated and like we’ve been taken advantage of by others. People pleasers often find themselves in this state, giving too much and unable to share their thoughts and feelings openly. When you feel this way, you require emotional rest.
To achieve emotional and social rest, surround yourself with those who appreciate your authentic self, genuinely care about you, and won’t expect you to overextend yourself.
Those who find themselves in need of emotional rest probably also need social rest, time away from those who ask too much, and drain your energy. We attain social rest by minimizing contact with people who deplete our energy and leave us feeling drained.
Spiritual rest is about being able to move beyond that which is physical and mental. It allows us to tap into a deeply rooted sense of belonging, acceptance, love, and purpose. Community involvement such as volunteering, meditating, or prayer allow for spiritual rest.
Sleep is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to providing ourselves with the type of rest we need to re-energize and reinvigorate ourselves. The next time you’re tired, examine how you feel more closely and prescribe the correct type of rest your body, mind, and spirit require.
May your day be filled with gratitude, rest, and good things.
Article excerpt from Ideas.Ted