Have you ever laid down in bed after a long, exhausting day feeling totally drained… and not been able to fall asleep? Chances are you don’t actually need to sleep. Instead, you need one of the other 7 types of rest.
Of course, you still need sleep. But in addition to sleep, there are six other types of rest! A solid self care routine should incorporate all of them.
These are the seven types of rest you need to feel balanced and well.
How to Tell If You Need More Rest
“Do I really need rest, or am I just lazy?”
Chances are, you’re lacking in at least one type of rest. Some signs to look out for:
- You struggle with focus and getting your work done.
- Your sleep schedule is all over the place. You have a hard time falling or staying asleep.
- Your mind is constantly turning cartwheels, to the point where you get distracted during the day or can’t fall asleep at night.
- You aren’t eating regularly. Maybe you snack out of boredom or forget meals altogether.
- You feel sick, achey, or just downright exhausted.
Sound like you? If so, you need more rest – but which type?
The 7 Types of Rest
1. Physical Rest
This is what most of us think of when we think of rest. This category, however, goes way beyond sleep.
Sleep is passive rest, but you can also get active physical rest through restorative practices like yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or even booking a massage. Heck, just lie down! Basically, if it restores and refreshes your body, it’s physical rest.
When you’re lacking in physical rest, you’ll start to feel groggy, achey, and physically tired. (You know, like when your eyelids get heavy and you can’t quit yawning?) If this is you, take a good look at your sleep patterns and try to get yourself a more regular sleep schedule.
2. Mental Rest
You know that feeling when your mind has just had it? Like when you finish up a long day of Zoom meetings and your brain feels like pudding?
We’ve all been there. That feeling is a surefire sign you need mental rest.
The best way to rest your brain is to just zone out for a bit. Put the screens away, grab a snack, take a walk (without your headphones in!), or meditate. Step away from the distractions and give your brain a much-needed break.
3. Creative Rest
Being creative takes work. Between brainstorming new ideas, working through problems, and bringing your visions to life, you’re using up a lot of creative energy.
If it feels like your creative well has run dry, you might need some creative rest. Devote some time to a relaxing, low-stakes creative hobby – like playing an instrument, reading a book, or just dancing around the house. Creative rest acts as a reset, so you’ll probably find yourself cranking out new ideas once you’re done.
4. Spiritual Rest
Whether or not you’re a religious person, you still need spiritual rest. When we spend all our time wrapped up in other people’s lives and drama, we lose our connection with our inner selves. That lack of connection leaves us feeling unsure of ourselves, and it can really take a toll on your self-image.
Get some spiritual rest in whatever way feels right to you – meditating, communing with your higher power, journaling, or even just talking to a friend. The goal is to connect with your inner emotions and desires. There’s no right or wrong way to do it!
5. Emotional Rest
Starting to feel like a Yes Man? Like you’re the friend listening to everyone else’s problems but no one’s there when you need them? You probably need two things: boundaries and emotional rest.
Look, your heart needs a break! Set clear boundaries. Who deserves your energy? How much energy are you willing to give away? How much energy should you devote to yourself? Protecting your energy means learning to say “no” to people and things that drain you. That distance creates space for emotional rest.
Also, try therapy! You’ll learn to practice emotional rest in your day-to-day life.
6. Social Rest
Spending time with friends and family can be great, but everyone has their limits. If you start dreading group outings, feel like you don’t spend any time alone, or start to fear spending time alone, you probably need social rest.
Plan a night in for yourself with all your favorite things. Run a bath, drink some wine, and – for your own sake – turn off your phone. Sit in your own company for a while and reconnect with the feeling of being alone. Trust me, it gets easier the more you do it!
7. Sensory Rest
We receive a lot of sensory information throughout the day: notifications, music, fluorescent lighting, ads, articles, podcasts, traffic sounds… It gets to be too much sometimes.
Sensory overload is real (and really common). With our devices at our fingertips, it’s no wonder we get overwhelmed.
To get sensory rest, you have to change your environment. Establish boundaries with your phone, book yourself an unplugged weekend away (or at home!), or just turn off your TikTok notifications for a few days. If you really want to give your brain a break, take a day off from listening to music, podcasts, or the news. Difficult, I know. But it’s so worth it!
Cut Yourself Some Slack
Above all else, just give yourself a break! We live and work in a progress-obsessed world. You’re allowed to be unproductive from time to time. In fact, I encourage it!
If resting is a concept you struggle with, don’t beat yourself up! There’s plenty of ways you can rest without doing nothing.