Types of Rest: Why You Need All 7 Types of Rest for Your Mind, Body & Soul
You probably know that rest is important for our health. But did you know that there are different types of rest? And that you need all of them for your overall health and well-being?
In this blog post, we’ll explore the different types of rest and why they’re all important for your health.
“Rest is vital for optimal health and well-being, [however,] rest is often viewed as something not valuable because work is not being completed – productivity is not being accomplished,” explains research neuroscientist, Nicole Avena, PhD.
Yet without adequate rest, it’s impossible to work effectively, which makes it more difficult to be productive. As such, Dr. Avena points out that rest – not just sleep – is the key to avoiding burnout.
“In today’s society, it is extremely common to work long hours and go the extra mile to help others or complete a job,” she explains. “This can result in situations that have such high demands with low resources, increasing the risk of burnout. When situations of burnout occur, it can become difficult to rest and recover.”
Rest vs. Sleep
To understand the difference between rest and sleep, you first need to learn that “sleep is a natural state that occurs whenever the body is primarily inactive, and it is a part of normal functioning,” Dr. Avena says. “Resting is not something that is embedded into daily life. Instead, rest occurs whenever work and movement are intentionally set aside to promote a state of relaxation – a ‘break.’”
That’s why it’s so important to take more than just 5 to 15-minute breaks during the day. This can help prevent burnout which has serious health implications such as increased risk of heart challenges, weight problems, and mood issues, among many others. Resting gives the mind and body a break so that negative health impacts aren’t as likely to occur.
Here are seven types of rest to help you avoid burnout and encourage overall healthiness!
7 Types of Rest to Avoid Burnout & Increase Your Happiness
1. Physical Rest
Physical rest can be one of the most beneficial things we do for ourselves. Taking regular breaks from physical activity gives our bodies the time necessary to recuperate and recharge so that we can be better prepared for the next challenge.
On top of this, when we have periods of respite from physical exertion, it gives us an opportunity to explore new hobbies, relax with friends, and engage in activities that bring mental clarity. Allowing our minds a much-needed break can benefit both our productivity and creativity. That’s why it’s so important to build restful moments into our daily routines to lead a more sustainable life.
2. Mental Rest
Our mental health is becoming increasingly more important to take care of in our busy lives, where stress and exhaustion can be too easily integrated into our daily routines. Unfortunately, in today’s day and age, with the spread and prevalence of technology, it can be difficult to switch off and truly rest mentally. This means that we often get stuck in a perpetual cycle of overworking our minds, which inevitably leads to physical and mental exhaustion.
To ensure you’re getting adequate mental rest, it’s important that you create habits such as blocking out some time each day for yourself where you completely disconnect from all your devices. Another great way to mentally rest is to begin training your brain to stop the automatic negative thoughts you may experience when experiencing occasional anxious thoughts or stress. Remember that your thoughts are not facts and halt any thoughts that may trigger you.
During your mental rest, you can take part in activities such as reading a book, exercising, or just having a nap for thirty minutes or so; whatever helps you to truly unwind. Additionally, it can be beneficial to totally unplug from technology at least once a week and do something more hands-on like baking healthy homemade cookies or going for a leisurely drive in nature. Mental rest is key to continuing productivity and creativity throughout life.
3. Sensory Rest
Sensory rest is an important yet underrated concept that can be used to help recharge our bodies and minds. It involves taking a break from all the sights, sounds, and tangible sensations that bombard us every day.
According to scientific research, spending time in nature, in environments like a forest or beach, provides great opportunities for sensory rest. In these areas, there are far fewer sources of input such as traffic noise and artificial light. Regularly taking the time to engage in sensory rest will provide mental clarity which can bring general health benefits in forms of more energy, better digestion, improved moods, and lower levels of stress hormones like cortisol.
Sensory overload occurs when too much information is presented to the senses in a short amount of time. For example, loud noises, bright lights, crowds, or even sometimes your own kids just being kids. The symptoms of sensory overload include dizziness, confusion, difficulty concentrating, anger, or distress.
Taking breaks throughout the day and finding calming activities like reading or going for a walk outside can help prevent sensations of being overwhelmed and can restore a sense of balance and control.
4. Creative Rest
Creative rest is an important concept to remember when feeling overwhelmed or lacking motivation. In the endless cycle of work, family, and other commitments, taking a break for the sake of creativity can help to refocus and energize for the future. It isn’t about stealing moments away from our responsibilities, but rather embracing new creations with intention to break up our routine and gain fresh perspective.
This could be anything from painting, writing poetry, or listening to music – whatever nurtures your creative spirit and helps you find respite from mundane tasks. Creative rest allows us to breathe new life into what we do and experience a positive outlet for self-expression. It’s one of the best ways to feel calm and instantly increase your happiness.
5. Emotional Rest
Emotional rest is when you take time for yourself to emotionally recharge, reflect, and work through any troubles that may have come up that stress you. It allows you to reassess and rearrange priorities in a healthy way, giving you the time to feel things, cry it out, or even to give yourself a break from feeling all emotions. Some helpful tools for this type of rest are journaling, praying, painting, and spending quality time with loved ones that are emotionally safe for you.
Another great tip is to not consume content that could be triggering to you, like not watching the news, not going on social media, and just disconnecting from the burden of other emotions. Regardless of how it looks or feels for you, the physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits of taking emotional rest are tangible. Practicing emotional rest also can allow us to manage everyday stress effectively while providing long-term self-care.
6. Social Rest
Social rest is taking some time off spent around other people so we can recharge ourselves and decide which friends or people are reenergizing rather than draining to us. Sometimes we all need some alone time to be in our own thoughts and not have to be “on” for others all the time. Introverts can agree, it can be very relaxing to take a social break and it’s needed for everyone.
Social rest also can include taking a social media break to quiet any social pressures or thoughts that may exhaust you especially when we have chronic habits to check our phones and respond to every message we get immediately. Using the Do Not Disturb feature on your phone can really help to force a short social break.
7. Spiritual Rest
Lastly, “spiritual rest occurs when connecting deeply through prayer or meditation,” Dr. Avena says. “This type of rest can help restore and refocus some individuals.” Andrew D. Huberman, MD, an associate professor of neurobiology at Stanford, popularized the term “non-sleep deep rest” (NSDR) – now trending on YouTube. NSDR is a form of restorative mindfulness that includes meditation and yoga. NSDR focuses on spiritual rest, but also can be applied to other forms of relaxation. It’s becoming increasingly popular as the next big thing in terms of finding ways to relax and restore balance.
One incredibly effective and simple meditation you can try is called Loving Kindness Meditation. This easy meditation is intended to boost positive emotions and reduce negative feelings. Just sit quietly and allow your anxiety and stress to melt away as you breathe deeply. Then say the following phrases aloud or silently to yourself:
“May I be safe and secure.”
“May I be healthy and strong.”
After a few moments, direct the phrases to someone you love:
“May you be safe and secure.”
“May you be healthy and strong.”
We encourage you to try these 7 types of rest throughout your week. Let us know in the comments section below how helpful these forms of rest are for your mind, body, and soul to increase your happiness and feeling more content in the present.
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