Most people know that rest is essential. The question is: Are you getting the right kind of rest? This article will briefly examine some of the main types of rest that a person needs and which one(s) you might be missing.
Resting is as important as working. The right type of relaxing for your body and mind can be even more rejuvenating than sleep.
For example, sleeping throughout the day will make you feel tired again by evening. But if you take a break early in the morning before work to go on a short 15-minute walk or jog, your body will have time to refill its energy reserves.
Likewise, you’ll notice that when it’s time to rest at night, not only do you sleep better, but most likely, you’ll sleep longer.
On the other hand, there are times when all of us answer our body’s call for rest with the wrong kind of activity that does not help our bodies relax or relieve any tension.
According to a now-viral TED Talk by Physician and award-winning author Saundra Dalton-Smith M.D, there are seven types of rest your body needs, and if you don’t get enough of them, your health will pay the price.
Table of Contents
The 7 Types Of Rest That Every Person Needs
1) Physical Rest
According to Dr. Dalton-Smith, the 1st type of rest your body needs is physical rest. Of course, you can get this by sleeping, which is very important.
But you can also rest physically the same way that the body rests when it sleeps. You can do this by relaxing your body into a reclining position.
Your muscles will let go of any contracted state they are in and relax so they can refill with blood and oxygen.
Dr. Dalton-Smith says that physical rest is not the same as stopping all activity and just relaxing.
To relax the muscles, you need to remove any effort from them to relax fully and get energetic again.
In addition, physical rest gives the digestive system time to catch up on its work of processing food and removing toxins that have built up during the day while you were active.
Sitting all day or standing without taking a break, even if you move around now and then, is not the same as lying down.
When you lie down, your muscles relax, and your energy reserves get recharged.
2) Mental Rest
You might experience brain fog, listlessness, and fatigue when your brain doesn’t get enough rest.
Just like the muscles of the body need to relax into a reclining position before it can produce maximum efficiency, your brain needs to turn off all thoughts and switch to “off mode” for it to recharge and revitalize itself.
When we let our brains run non-stop with no breaks, we tax both its physiology and psychology.
That means we make it harder for our brains to keep up with what needs to get done, and even worse, we interfere with how we feel about ourselves — mentally exhausted — which only makes us more tired physically.
Disconnecting from the workday by doing something enjoyable for 5–10 minutes can help reset your mental state, so it’s easier to start fresh tomorrow.
3) Sensory Rest
Sensory rest allows your senses to recharge and helps you become more aware of your surroundings.
Sensory rest means taking a break from all the sounds, lights, information, and other stimuli that bombard your senses daily.
It is usually taken care of when we sleep at night because our bodies enter into full restoration mode.
But if for some reason, you can’t get enough sleep at night or during the day, you should incorporate it in the other periods throughout the day.
For example, unplug your electronics, turn off the TV, silence your cell phone and other distractions so you can enjoy a break from them.
It will give your senses a much-needed rest and allow your brain to become reacquainted with itself and its environment.
4) Creative Rest
Creative rest allows your mind to take a break from the tasks at hand and be free of any thoughts or “noise” so it can relax.
When you keep your brain occupied with problem-solving, you don’t have time to do what it does best — think outside the box and develop new ideas.
In her TED Talk, Dr. Dalton-Smith recommends you take time daily to let your mind wander and explore ideas and situations that interest you so your brain can come up with creative solutions, ideas, or ways of looking at things.
Creative rest helps you be more productive and creative when you get back to the task at hand.
5) Emotional Rest
Negative feelings such as anxiety, frustration, anger, hatred, and resentment can be just as taxing on the body as physical fatigue.
The more we allow these feelings to control us, the harder it is for our bodies and brains to function naturally.
In her TED Talk, Dr. Dalton-Smith offers a cognitive defusion technique that teaches you how to create a gap between your thoughts and feelings so they can’t control you.
For example, it helps people with anger issues examine the real reasons behind their anger and then take action instead of lashing out at someone, which only leads them to regret later.
The quickest path to emotional restoration is to step back from difficult situations and take a break from your feelings, especially if it’s a situation that makes you feel ill-will or malice.
A nice walk might be just what you need to help restore your mental and emotional well-being.
6) Social Rest
We all need a break from being around other people, but this is hard to do in today’s hyperconnected world. Social rest creates space for you to be alone with yourself and enjoy the quiet, which is probably something we all need more of these days.
Spending time by ourselves in silence doesn’t mean we’re anti-social or misanthropic. It just means we’re taking a small step back from reality to discern what our real problems are and be proactive when solving them.
So stay away from people you find demanding and spend time with people who make you laugh, relax, and feel good about yourself.
We all need to take a break from the constant conversations, noise, lights, texting, and other distractions so we can relax our brains and be with our thoughts.
If you have trouble being around others because of anxiety or depression, social rest might be something you should try, even if it’s just for 15 minutes at a time.
7) Spiritual Rest
Spiritual rest is essential for your mental well-being, especially after a hectic day of dealing with the world and its demands. It’s about finding peace and tranquility in your thoughts and feelings.
“It’s about creating a space where we can quiet our minds, slow down our breathing, calm our emotions, open up to something greater than what we see in front of us,” says Dr. Dalton-Smith. “And go deep within ourselves to connect spiritually.”
Start meditating, journaling, or doing anything that makes you feel whole and helps you connect to the essential things in life. The more good things we do for ourselves, the better our lives will be overall.
We all need rest. When we don’t get enough of it, our bodies and brains begin to malfunction, which leads to chronic health conditions like insomnia, fatigue, depression, stress, and anxiety, among many others.
So we must find ways to give our bodies and minds the rest they need. So if you’re not getting good sleep at night, consider using these seven types of rest to help restore your body and mind naturally. Thanks for reading!