It’s Time For Rest
Previously I’ve discussed breathing, I’ve talked about stress, I’ve covered being too busy, so now it’s time for rest. See what I did there? Haha Really though, I don’t think we prioritize rest as much as we NEED to. Rest is vital to our health and well-being.
You may be thinking, “I don’t have time to rest!” Yeah I know! I’ve said it before, your life is more ‘fast-paced, digital, on-demand, swarming with continuously evolving messages, information and events’ – your life has more stressors, pressures, expectations, options, and obstacles – more than any other generation before you. I get a little dizzy just saying that outloud. And that’s why you absolutely need to rest!
Rest is Necessary
BTW rest isn’t something you need to earn, like you have to work yourself to exhaustion or burnout before you take a rest. No, rest should be something you regularly do, part of your routine. If you don’t take time to rest by choice, your body will make you rest by force. Don’t wait until you metaphorically run out of gas and your tank is empty – or for electric vehicles, don’t use up every ounce of your battery power. Refill and recharge yourself along the way so you can keep going.
Plus, rest provides a bunch of benefits – it reduces stress, boosts your health, puts you in a better mood, gives you more physical and mental energy, strengthens your focus and memory, and helps you be more productive and creative. You need these things, and in order to get them, you need to rest.
I want to point out what rest isn’t. Rest is not mindlessly scrolling on your phone, binge-watching a show or YouTube videos – that’s more like numbing out. And rest is more than just getting enough sleep, which is still very important, but there’s way more to it.
7 Types of Rest
In fact, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith identified the seven types of rest that we need: physical, mental, sensory, creative, emotional, social, and spiritual rest. Let’s explore each type.
The first one is physical rest, so besides sleeping and napping (which are still good, but passive), this also includes yoga, stretching, and massage (which are active and engage the body). Even taking five minutes in the morning to move through a sun salutation can help you feel refreshed and ready to start the day, or five minutes at night to stretch may give you an even more restful sleep.
The second type is mental rest. Has a teacher ever done a brain break with your class? The whole point is, after you’ve been using a lot of mental energy, like on an exam or taking a bunch of notes, you allow your mind to reset. You can do mental rest at home, too, like when you’ve got a lot of homework or reading to do. After an hour or so, look out the window or even go outside for a few minutes, leave the room and go get a drink, dance to a song, switch positions (if you’re at your desk, go lay on the floor), stand up and hokey pokey shake your arms, legs and turn yourself around, okay? Mental rest, that’s what it’s all about.
Dr. Dalton-Smith says the third type of rest is sensory rest – doctor’s orders! Throughout your day you use multiple screened devices, you’re around noisy classmates/friends/siblings, loud music, traffic, and that can all overload your senses. So make sure you create moments that are low stimulation, device-free, uncrowded, quiet, and chill. Put your phone in another room for a while, visit the library, go on a walk, or touch some grass at the very least. Let your senses rest.
The fourth type is creative rest. With this one, you could go on a nature walk, cloud or star gaze, watch a sunrise or sunset, things that help you pause and appreciate what’s around you. You can also create things through art, music, or performance. I’ve found that coloring and making bracelets can be soothing activities. Think about how you can use your creativity for rest.
The fifth type Dr. Dalton-Smith identified is emotional rest. Have you ever felt like you had to hold in your emotions or stuff down your feelings to make other people happy or comfortable? I know this scenario well, as we’ve discussed, and can tell you first-hand how liberating it is to feel emotional rest. By recognizing how I’m really doing, allowing myself to feel, and processing my emotions, I’m able to work through those tunnels more efficiently and effectively. And I’m honoring myself while doing it.
The sixth type of rest is social rest. Do you ever feel exhausted after being with a group of friends or crowds, especially with lots of stimuli or a high energy setting? You only have so much social capacity, and once you reach your threshold, you need to recharge in non-social settings, rest with some quiet time alone. On another note, do you have any friendships that leave you feeling drained? Maybe you’ve delayed texting back or have tried to avoid them. You need to plan some time and space from this person, give it a rest. And you could also work on developing other, more positive, friendships to uplift you and balance things out.
The final, seventh type is spiritual rest. So this is about feeling connected to a greater purpose, through giving service, through belief in religion or a higher power. Find what helps you feel accepted, like you genuinely belong, and spend some time resting and reflecting in that space.
So again, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith’s seven types of rest are physical, mental, sensory, creative, emotional, social, and spiritual rest.
The Rest You Need
I want you to pause for a moment and think about what types of rest you need most right now. If you’re not sure, maybe you could assess what parts of your life feel the most restless or stressful: physical, mental, sensory, creative, emotional, social, or spiritual rest?
If even just one stands out to you, think about one thing you can do to rest and when you’ll do it. Don’t even jump to making it a habit yet, just decide when you’ll do one restful act. It doesn’t have to be complicated or take a while. Rest can be a simple moment and still be effective.
When you do take the time to rest, don’t take your stress in with you. Leave it at the door, it’ll still be there when you return to reality, hopefully less stressful after you’ve rested.
Rest Poster Printable
To help you with this, I created a “Rest“ poster for you to print out, personalize, and post on your wall where you’ll see it, remember it, practice it, and believe it — that’s the important part.
Regarding resources I’d recommend for Rest, besides those seven types of rest themselves, I’d encourage you to search for a mindfulness meditation through a music app or on podcast, and practice it a few times during the week. If that’s not your thing, go on a mindful walk and focus on all you experience with your senses – sights, sounds, smells, touch, even taste. Slow your stroll and just be present where you are as you are.
And if you have a topic suggestion, I’d love to hear from you! Send an email (tweens get the OK from your parents) to [email protected] .
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