Recently I read a fabulous article on the 7 types of rest we need and the difference between rest and sleep by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith. It was such an awesome article that I posted it on LinkedIn and decided it was worthy of providing a summary here for you.
The main crux of the article is that sleep and rest are not the same thing. Yes, we do tend to confuse both – well, I used to. As the article states, “The result is a culture of high-achieving, high-producing, chronically tired and chronically burned-out individuals. We’re suffering from a rest deficit because we don’t understand the true power of rest.”
Do you feel burnt out? Chronically tired?
According to Dr. Dalton-Smith, rest should equal restoration in seven key areas of our lives.
- Physical rest – now that could include activities such as naps, sleep, massage etc.
- Mental rest – do you struggle to turn off your brain at night, going over conversations, to-do lists etc from the day? Firstly keep a notepad by your bed to jot down any thoughts that keep coming up. Secondly, you could schedule short breaks every couple of hours to remind you to slow down.
- Sensory rest – in today’s world, we are all suffering from sensory overload – emails, zoom meetings, background noise, information overload, social media, etc. We need to intentionally unplug ourselves from this over-stimulating world. Take time out for a few moments, close your eyes and breathe.
- Creative rest – is about allowing yourself to enjoy something completely outside your normal day. It is about reawakening the wonder and awe inside of us. For example, a place of inspiration or enjoying the arts, or wandering among nature. It provides space for your subconscious to do its work and develop innovative ideas. Think of a hobby you love: gardening, bushwalking, photography, etc.
- Emotional rest – This is having the time and space to freely express your feelings and cut back on behaviour that is unhealthy. Emotional rest requires the courage to be authentic and to acknowledge what you are feeling. Look at the quote at the start of this newsletter.
- Social rest – As stated in the article, “This occurs when we fail to differentiate between those relationships that revive us from those relationships that exhaust us.” It is important to connect with people who are positive and supportive and limit the toxic relationships around us.
- Spiritual rest – Oh my, one of the areas many of us leave off which is the ability to connect beyond the physical and mental and feel a deep sense of belonging, love, acceptance and purpose. This can be achieved when we engage in something greater than ourselves, such as prayer, meditation, or community involvement.
So getting more sleep is not going to make your feel rested. What do you personally need to do to make you feel more rested? What level of rest are you missing out on? What about someone you love – how are they getting enough rest?
Here is her amazing TEDx Talk from 2019 about why we are so tired and what to do about it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGNN4EPJzGk&t=65s