Rest is more than just sleep!
Whenever we think of rest, we think passivity. Everything must come to a halt and we should preferably be ‘static’.
But that is just one type of rest you are thinking of. The other 6 types you miss out on would be keeping you away from fully expressing your potential at work or at your household chores.
“Most people, when they think about rest, they have a very one-sided approach—they lounge around, don’t do anything, and think that’s what rest is,” says Dalton-Smith. “We try it, and then when we’re still rest-deprived we think it doesn’t work.”
For the most part of my life, I have been in the illusion that resting only meant, stopping all activities, lying down on the bed and relaxing. I believed that having a short span of a power nap is all I needed to reset my brain. But wait, sometimes taking naps made me feel more exhausted than ever.
I wondered why? Now I know, resting always does not mean lying down. “People say, ‘I’m tired all the time, I’m drained,’” Dalton-Smith quotes from his experience. “If they’re waking up (after sleeping) and still exhausted, the issue probably doesn’t sleep. It’s likely a rest deficit.”
What is rest and why do we need it?
Rest is the time period in which one replenishes one’s energy resources, both mentally and physically, to prepare one’s body to perform the next set of activities with the desired fervor.
It is not only about restoring the energy in our body but also about being able to get back to work with the same intensity. We do get drained mentally and physically when we have been working for long hours and actively using our energies.
To your surprise, there are 6 other types of rest besides physical rest. Experts are of the opinion that one can make use of the appropriate type of rest, based on the deficit.
Staying busy is easy. But resting has become a challenge.
According to physician Saundra Dalton-Smith, M.D., author of Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Renew Your Sanity, humans need are physical, emotional, mental, sensory, social, creative and spiritual.
Here are the 7 types of rest you need to know about:
1. Physical Rest
It’s quite simple to understand when we are physically exhausted. When it becomes difficult for you to keep your eyes open anymore, it’s a signal that your body is overworked and in need of rest.
Physical rest is typically meant for releasing tension and soothing your body which helps to restore the essential energy required for physical activities that we have to expend energy on. When the body is denied physical rest for too long, it will significantly lose its functional efficiency. Through the natural process of aging our need for physical rest gets more noticeable.
Whether you are working out or sitting too long at the desk, your body requires a physical rest in the form of body stretching, deep breathing and power naps.
Do not underestimate the power of physical rest. Go hit the bed an hour earlier than usual, sans electronic gadgets and get a good sleep.
2. Emotional rest
Emotional overload, be it in your personal or professional sphere can deteriorate your brain’s functional efficiency. Emotional rest is a vital component in promoting your mental health, happiness, contentment, and holiness.
Most of our lives we are on our defensive mode. We are so used to suppressing our emotions that currently, emotional rest is all we need.
Switch-off your defensive mode and get down to express everything that is bothering you to someone you can completely trust. Make it a point to unburden your emotional load at the end of each day either by writing a journal, by self-talking or sharing disturbing emotions with someone.
Emotional rest also includes taking care to stay disconnected from people who provoke negative emotions in you like anger, envy, shame, guilt, jealousy or even frustration.
3. Mental rest
Do you feel like your brain is rusting? Then you definitely need some mental rest.
Recently are you overthinking too much, keeping yourself stuck in the past and being unable to look forward?
Is your brain even bursting with thoughts? A lack of mental rest will lead to mental stagnation which is in no way good for you. The major signs that you need a mental rest is indecisiveness, restlessness, lack of attentiveness and increased number of errors in work.
Mental rest is best sort by including meditation in your daily routine or by chanting some calming mantra. Spending some time in nature, doodling can also replenish your overtaxed brain.
4. Sensory rest
Dalton-Smith says, “Sensory exhaustion is one of the most prevalent drainers thanks to the prevalence of screens.”
According to her, she has seen many cases where it has caused “a lot of eye strain and neck tension, and a lot of divorces and broken relationships,” she says. “It becomes easier to talk to the computer. That breaks intimacy, and overtime, it breaks relationships.”
We often have a habit of taking breaks in between work and all we do in that spare time is not take restorative rest. Rather we stare at the screen and call it relaxing.
Give your sensory system some time to restore itself by unplugging all electronic devices like cell phones, televisions, mixer grinders, loud chimneys, toasters etc.
Make it a point to remain away from the cacophony of the busy life for at least 30 minutes a day. Cut out loud noises and lie down closing your eyes in a room having the least connections to electrical appliances.
5. Social rest
Some of us feel that socializing is a way of decluttering our minds after a hard day. On the contrary, socializing takes an extra dose of energy which further exhausts us.
Dalton-Smith says “My biggest deficit is social rest,” “I’m an overachiever, I’m competitive, and I like to be moving toward goals—it becomes easy to be this solo warrior. So for me, (social rest) means finding people who are in my tribe—women I don’t have to compete with.”
Public figures and celebrities are in need of this social rest. We often think socializing happens as a reflex, but it takes our conscious effort.
Social rest entails catching up with someone with whom you can unwind your day and talk our heart out, without apprehension. Another way to rest socially is by incorporating solitude in your day when you can reconnect with yourself.