You know that taking time to recharge is important. Regular rest is vital for your overall well-being. Even if you schedule frequent downtime, however, you may still feel lethargic and overtaxed. If that is the case, you may need to examine how you spend your time off to ensure that you are not missing out on one of the seven essential types of rest.
A physical break is what most people think of when they think of rest. Your body needs a chance to rejuvenate. Other than general healing and restoration, getting enough sleep has several benefits:
- Promotes heart health
- Regulates blood sugar
- Reduces stress
- Boosts immunity
- Controls weight
In addition to sufficient sleep, physical rest also involves active involvement in activities such as yoga, stretching and deep-breathing exercises. If you find yourself yawning more frequently in the middle of the day, take a break for active rest.
Lack of focus and reduced short-term memory are both signs that you probably need mental rest. This happens when you try to engage in mentally challenging tasks without taking any breaks. Even five minutes of meditation or friendly banter with a coworker can give your mind the rest it needs to get back to work.
It's common for people to try to hide their emotions, particularly when they are at work or around people they don't know very well. This can take a toll on your psyche, though. It's important to have a reliable outlet to express your feelings in a safe space, whether that occurs with a trusted friend, adviser or therapist.
Spiritual rest is anything that connects you to something beyond yourself. Humans need to have a sense of purpose. Prayer, worship, meditation or other aspects of practicing your spiritual beliefs can help you understand where you fit in the world. Volunteering in your community also keeps you in touch with the needs of your neighbors, thus enhancing your sense of belonging.
The specific details of what constitutes social rest may vary for different people. As much as they love their friends and family, introverts likely need to carve out space for restful solitude so that they have the energy to be fully available when they are physically among loved ones. Extroverts, on the other hand, tend to be energized by social activity with people they love and trust. Their social rest may need to focus on balancing Zoom calls with richer, face-to-face interactions.
Every day, you take in a lot of sensory input. Mediated communication provides new ways to connect, but it can also be draining on the senses, particularly your eyesight. This is especially true if your job requires you to sit in front of a screen most of the day. Give your electronics a bedtime by committing to turning them off at a certain time every night. This gives your eyes a rest and allows you to decompress.
Artists, writers and other people who have careers that center on creativity need fresh ideas all the time. Even if your job isn't traditionally considered to be in a creative field, there is likely an element of innovation to the work you do. You need to rest to refuel your imagination, especially if you are in a rut and don't seem to be able to come up with any new ideas. Take a walk or engage in some other type of exercise to give yourself a chance to recharge.
No matter how much you love your job or how important your other responsibilities are to you, you also need to take time to rest. Rest is more than just crashing into bed at night. For sustainable restoration, you should incorporate all seven types of rest into your life.