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  • Writer's pictureAvery Parker

Are You Getting All Seven Kinds of Rest?

Getting rest isn't as cut and dried as laying on the couch and watching Netflix.

In reality, effective rest is multifaceted and should be personalized to our lifestyle and needs.

Physician Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith identified seven areas of life that require rest: physical, sensory, emotional, spiritual, mental, creative, and social.

Well-rounded rest involves all of these.

Neglecting a few categories of rest leaves us vulnerable to exhaustion and burnout.

In many categories, rest is doing the opposite of your “normal.”

For example, someone with a desk job would get physical rest through being active.

Similarly, someone who constantly has to make tough decisions at work may find creative rest through delegating responsibilities to others or relying on others to make decisions in their personal life.

The Seven Kinds of Rest:

Physical rest helps restore your body through activity or being sedentary. Depending on your normal activity levels, this could look like napping, walking, dancing, or stretching.

Sensory rest is taking a break from normal or overwhelming sensory stimuli. This could include dimming the lights, using a weighted blanket, or turning off background noise.

Emotional rest involves having the space to be honest, vulnerable, and authentic. Talking with a close friend or journaling are two ways to be genuine about who you are, what you think, and what you feel.

Spiritual rest involves engaging in something that provides you with meaning or purpose. For some, that may be engaging in spiritual or religious practices. For others, that could be volunteering, seeing loved ones, or meditating.

Mental rest is giving our brain time to rest and reset. For those who use and exhaust their minds, rest could be sleeping, meditating, or engaging in a hobby. For those who don't get to engage their minds in day-to-day activities, rest could be doing puzzles, reading, or learning something new.

Creative rest is getting rejuvenated by either taking a break from creative thinking or intentionally being creative. Creativity isn't just art, it's also problem solving and decision making. Because of that, creative rest can be delegating decisions, making art, and playing games.

Social rest is having positive and rejuvenating social interactions. This could be spending time with good friends and loved ones or having time alone to recharge your social battery.

Each of these categories are personalizable to your values, lifestyle, time constraints, and needs.

Self-care and quality rest can seem unattainable, but engaging in restful activities does not have to take a lot of time, money, or energy.

Dancing to music during your morning routine, calling a loved one on the drive home, or dimming the lights an hour before bed are all small but beneficial ways to address needed areas of rest.

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