Our core understanding of resting requires a fresh coat of paint. We have long identified feeling not well-rested with not enough sleep. But sleep is just a type of rest amongst many others. You can have 8 hours of sleep consistently every night and still feel exhausted all the time. This is because there are actually 7 different types of rest. Mastering the power of all 7 types of rest moves us out of burnout and chronic fatigue into a state of balance and fulfilment.
We tend to ignore our needs as we have been conditioned as a collective society to strive for success and achievements. Our high functioning society deems rest as lazy and unproductive but rest is essential for our minds to take a break to consolidate all the information we have been absorbing throughout the day to find rational solutions. This is when most of the “work” actually gets done and when we are the most efficient. We need to rest in order to get productive.
Give yourself breaks in between a busy work schedule to take your mind off work. We are fire fighting and problem solving all the time. Giving yourself mental rest is a form of self-regulation and taking care of your mental well being. This is an opportunity for your brain to quiet down the internal noise and become quiet, celebrating the stillness. Mental rest trains our brain to be disciplined with our energy so that we don’t become too overwhelmed. The keyword is mindfulness. Having that awareness that you are making your conscious decisions. Not your external impulses.
Spiritual rest has close ties with mental and emotional rest because it brings us towards a deep love for ourselves and finding a sense of belonging in this world. This leads us towards finding our purpose. Outside of our job and the roles we play, there is a bigger picture that helps us understand the meaning of life. It is an openness and acceptance of all possibilities of life. Spiritual rest can reconnect us to our purpose through faith, a religious element or higher power. Going to a place of inner knowing that you are part of something bigger.
Emotions come up all the time as we go through our day. But what often happens is that we get so busy that we deny ourselves the chance to properly process them. Prolonged behavioural patterns such as this result in a snowball effect of unprocessed negative energy that we carry around. They undoubtedly affect our state of mind and overall function. Being honest with yourself and not judging these emotions is the start to allowing them to resurface. Instead of pushing these emotions aside and layering a distraction or coping mechanism over them, we allow every cell of our body to feel them and then let them past. Holding space for these emotions reinforces the importance of self-love and feeling validated. Through practice, we condition ourselves to see that these emotions are part and parcel of life and that there is no need to force them to go away.
Even extroverts need to take a break from socialising to recalibrate. We interact with people of different walks of life and it helps to identify who are the energy givers and energy suckers. We want to spend more time with people who uplift you and those who pour energy back into your life. The people-pleaser in all of us needs to learn to say no. Reconnect with yourself and really feel into your body. It is completely normal to take some time away from distractions to experience our own company. Free up some time to take yourself out on a date, have a movie night or simply read a book.
Bright lights and loud noises etc can be distracting and send you into overdrive or trigger an undesirable negative emotion. Being on your phone fixate your attention on the contents and engages the brain into an active and awake state. Overstimulation through screens can cause dysregulation in our cognitive function and certainly is not what you need right before bed. Your mind stays active for extended periods even after you’ve put the phone aside. Take a break from the computer. Set alarms to remind you to look away and give your eyes a rest. We can also make it a habit to put our phones away an hour before bed. This is a great indication to our body that it is time to sleep.
In a society that forces us to strive for greatness, we find the need to constantly reinvent ourselves and innovate. Our heads get caught up in the air with a bunch of ideas that we struggle to see through. This leads to what we know as brain fog. We get increasingly distracted and our memory starts to get foggy. Creative rest is allowing ourselves to take a break from exhausting our right brain, finding stillness in what is in the present moment. Shifting the centre of our attention back to the present helps us find stillness and reconnects us to our true being. A great way is to journal. Write down your ideas but don’t act on them yet. Focus on the thoughts that are happening right now. Stay open and aware. Observing the process instead of dwelling in the future.
This is quite self-explanatory so let’s go deeper into the types of physical rest we need. Sleep is what we know as passive physical rest. A long term consistent schedule where we clock in our 7 to 9 hours each day. This allows our body to reset, detox and get ready for a brand new day. The other type of physical rest is called active rest. This is through activities like yoga or exercising that improves our blood circulation and overall physical health. A good level of physical rest ensures we are in our most optimal state to carry out the tasks we have planned for the day.