7 types of rest we all need — People Matters
Imagine a long day after work. What does this look like to you? Is it filled with endless Zoom meetings? Are you overwhelmed with mundane tasks? Does it involve constant communication with colleagues? Do you have to do extra work to meet your boss’s demands?
You might feel chronically exhausted and drained if you continue like this. You could make up for all the work you do by sleeping for an entire day, but the truth is that sleep and rest are different from each other.
In fact, there are seven types of rest we need to rejuvenate our bodies and feel well rested. Following all these aspects could amount to a total restoration of our body.
Why being well rested is important
Most workers do not get the prescribed seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Sometimes, even though we sleep more than nine hours, we still feel exhausted. In her TED Talk, Dr. Saundra Dalton Smith asserted that rest is the most underused, safest, most effective, and chemical-free alternative therapy available to people.
We all need rest because our brains aren’t wired to work 24/7. According to Betterup.com, the brain is most productive when it can move between periods of focus and non-focus. During relaxation and rest, the brain can better consolidate memories, work on problem solving, and crystallize learning.
7 types of rest we need
Dr. Dalton Smith suggested seven types of rest:
Sleeping or napping is passive physical rest, while restorative activities such as yoga, massage therapy, and stretching — which improve circulation and flexibility — are part of active physical rest.
Maybe we’ve all had a day where we drink coffee and feel irritated and find it hard to concentrate on work. At night, our brain feels active and we find it hard to turn off the conversations of the day. Despite eight hours of sleep, we wake up as if we had never fallen asleep. It’s something Dr. Dalmon Smith calls a “mental rest deficit.” It can be solved by taking short breaks every two hours during a workday, which can remind us to slow down.
Read more: How to beat employee burnout
Background noise, bright lights, computer screens, and multiple conversations — in Zoom meetings or in your office — can overwhelm our senses. According to Dr. Dalton Smith, sensory overload can be countered by doing simple things: close your eyes for a minute or unplug the electronics. When you intentionally deprive yourself of sensory overload, it can undo the damage of an overly stimulated world.
Have you ever struggled to come up with ideas for a project? You may need a rest after brainstorming and building ideas. This type of rest is about awakening the awe and wonder within you. Through this, you allow the beauty of the outside to give you creative rest. Likewise, this type of rest also involves enjoying the arts. You can find images that inspire you as well as works of art that speak to you. It doesn’t have to be expensive.
Read more: Who is responsible for the mental well-being of employees?
If you ever tend to be overly people-pleasing, you probably need some emotional rest. It forces you to express your feelings freely and have the courage to be authentic. Being emotionally rested means you can honestly respond to how and what you are feeling right now.
If you need emotional rest, you probably also need social rest. It happens when we fail to distinguish between the relationships that reinvigorate us and the relationships that drain us. To counter this, surround yourself with supportive and positive people.
Finally, the last type of rest is about making deep connections to feel a sense of belonging, love, acceptance, and purpose. To do this, engage in something bigger than yourself or add meditation, prayer, or community involvement to your routine.
Changing your mindset so you can get all seven types of rest is crucial. Self-care is important in the long term and helps improve health and well-being. Start by practicing the types of rest listed above today.