In a perfect world, we’d all get 8hrs of quality sleep each night. In reality, many of us fall short on this – either in terms of length (i.e. getting more like 6-7hrs) and/or quality (i.e. restlessness).
However, according to physician Saundra Dalton-Smith, M.D., author of Sacred Rest, “If you’re waking up (after sleeping) and still exhausted, the issue probably isn’t sleep. It’s likely a rest deficit.”
Listening to your body, and getting a better understanding of which type of rest you’re in need of is essential to recharging your battery and feeling your best.
Sign you need it: Physically exhausted, struggle to keep eyes open.
Rest to get: Go to sleep 30mins earlier, swap out the morning HIIT class for some restorative yoga.
Sign you need it: Brain feels like it’s going to mush. You’ve been staring at the same page for 10 minutes. You just sent a barely comprehensible email.
Rest to get: Turn off your screens. Repeat a calming mantra. Meditate or follow a guided meditation via Youtube or a meditation app (i.e. Calm, Headspace).
Sign you need it: You feel alone, or disconnected/disengaged from friends and family.
Rest to get: Social rest feels like interacting with another person and leaving fuller than you started. It comes from meaningful interactions where there is no fear of disapproval or rejection – to be completely authentic with another human.
Social Rest – ideas to consider: Talk to a friend or close family member on the phone (NOT via text). Set aside time (15-30mins) to discuss day and emotions with spouse or partner. Go on a walk (or schedule one!) with a friend. Join a book club. Setup a coffee date with a friend. Plan a double date with another couple. Plan a getaway with your spouse or a friend.
Sign you need it: Sluggishness in solving problems or brainstorming new ideas.
Rest to get: Take some time to STOP doing and instead to observe, to think, to journal, to explore. Go on a walk in nature, or read an engrossing book. Anything to take the pressure to create off your mind.
Sign you need it: Tolerance for strong feelings is a lot lower, you lose your temper more easily, you reach the tears threshold faster than usual.
Rest to get: Remove emotional triggers (like social media), give yourself space where you don’t have to react to others’ emotions and where you can be alone to process your own. Schedule a regular therapy session. Find people with whom you can be 100% yourself.
Sign you need it: Feeling afloat or unanchored. Feeling a lack of purpose or fulfillment.
Rest to get: Engage in something greater than yourself. Consider adding prayer, meditation, or even volunteerism/community involvement into your routine.
Sign you need it: Your senses feel overwhelmed. This can be due to bright lights or noisy places, too much screen time, too many people talking to you at once etc.
Rest to get: Intentional sensory deprivation. Close your eyes for a minute in the middle of the day. Put down the screens past a certain time. Try to get yourself to a quiet place with minimal sensory distractions and let yourself take deep breaths away from all the input.