In our modern, super hectic lives, it can be hard to even find time to cook a proper meal and get a full eight hours, never mind getting seven whole different types of rest.
I mean, we’ve all felt like this at some point…
The theory, coined by Dr Saundra Dalton-Smith MD, a physician, researcher and the author of the book Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity, suggests that these seven types of rest can help revolutionise your life and stop you feeling mentally and physically exhausted all the time.
She held a Ted Talk on the topic, which has half a million views and people commenting, “This has really made a difference and given me permission to meet my body’s needs throughout the day” and “I’m here for this. For too long we’ve been living in a culture that encourages burnout.
“If we don’t take the time to set boundaries and rest, we will continue this awful cycle.”
Intrigued? Here are the seven different types of rest she suggests we incorporate into our life…
If the word ‘physical’ has you exhausted at the thought of getting up at 5am to go to the gym, don’t worry. Saundra describes physical rest as being either active or passive.
Passive being getting a good amount of sleep a night (seven to eight hours) and taking naps when you need them.
Active is what it says on the tin — whatever exercise or movement feels nourishing to you at that time. It could be yoga, simple stretching or a run.
The next is mental rest — getting everything out of your head so you feel less overwhelmed. This could look like writing down a to-do list instead of keeping track of things in your brain, ticking off some admin tasks that are stressing you out, meditation and setting firmer boundaries between your work time and ‘me’ time.
This calls for rebalancing your relationships and who you have around you, and asks you to spend time with those who fill your cup and less with those who steal your energy.
Schedule regular time in your diary for ‘social rest’ — coffee with your mum, drinks with your bestie. Or if you’re an introvert, this could be your time to take time to yourself and recharge.
You don’t need to be religious to enjoy spiritual rest. This could be a time to connect with your god, if you believe in one, or time to meditate and connect with yourself, learn tarot, align your chakras, or whatever helps you connect with your soul more.
Overstimulated besties, I feel you. Our social media feeds, WhatsApp group chats and the general business of modern life can have us feeling overwhelmed.
Sensory rest looks like setting boundaries with how you use your phone, turning off notifications and going offline for a while, and surrounding yourself with sensory items that make your soul sing — candles, soft lights, cosy fabrics.
Emotional rest is so important, especially if you work in an industry that requires you to be ‘on’ all the time — we’re looking at you, service staff! Use your emotional rest time to be with other people you can be authentic self around, or if you’re struggling with mental stress, this could be a time to see a therapist.
It’s also a great opportunity to get into journaling.
This is my favourite one — your time to enjoy the beauty and fun of the world. When we’re working so much and have chores to do, it’s easy to forget to carve out time to enjoy our lives.
Creative rest could look like taking a walk in nature, going to a gallery or museum, listening to a new album, going to a record shop, getting into pottery or painting… the list goes on!
I know what you’re probably thinking; that’s a LOT to incorporate into your life. It sounds like a full-time job in itself.
But maybe try one or two of these every week and build up to adding more in and see how it helps you. Some can be done in as little as 10 mins! Do what works for you.