7 Types of Rest You Need

Most people, when they think about rest, they have a very one-sided approach—they lounge around, don’t do anything, and think that’s what rest is. “We try it, and then when we’re still rest-deprived we think it doesn’t work.”

Getting the proper type of rest requires ID’ing what, exactly, you’re missing.

For a lot of people, if you have a deficit in an area, you’re likely to experience specific symptoms, If your deficit is in mental rest, you might have trouble with concentration. If you have an emotional deficit, you may find you’re snapping at your spouse and they haven’t done anything. If you have a sensory rest deficit, maybe you used to love going out, but now you’re jumping out of your skin, or you’re chronically anxious when getting out of the car.

Once you’ve figured out the type of rest you need, it’s time to adapt your rest to fit that specific need.

Here’s how to get the rest you deserve.

Physical Rest

You’ll know if you’re physically exhausted: You’re struggling to keep your eyes open, and even walking to bed feels like moving through quicksand.

The most common form of physical rest is sleep, so consider going to bed 30 minutes earlier.

Catching up on physical rest can also mean taking deep breaths during the work day, or squeezing in a restorative yoga class to give your body some time to stretch. More energy (and less yawning) should be a pretty obvious sign that it’s working.

Mental Rest

Ever felt like your brain’s turned to mush? Then you know what it’s like to need mental rest.

You may realize you’ve been staring at the same page of a book for 10 minutes, or just sent a barely-comprehensible email. Perhaps you notice your thoughts starting to turn negative, judging everything you do (like, perchance, sending an awkward email).

The next time you need a mental break, turn off your screens and take a few moments to ground yourself. You might try adding a meditation to your day, or simply repeating a calming mantra.

Social Rest

Socializing can be exhausting, but balancing draining encounters with restorative ones can help bring balance. For you, social rest might mean catching up with an old friend who knows the way you think and feel without any lengthy explanation. Or, perhaps it’s just taking a night off from socializing and reconnecting with yourself.

Creative Rest

Chances are, you flex your creativity more than you think. Ever brainstorm solutions at work, or put together plans for the up-coming holidays? You’re tapping into creative thinking—and putting yourself in need of creative rest.

Give yourself a break by going on a walk in nature, or reading an engrossing book. Surrounding yourself with inspiration can help replenish your drained resources—and take the pressure to create off your mind.

Emotional Rest

Think of how you feel after a funeral or breakup or rewatching Titanic—hungry, exhausted, and confused all at once.

Get some emotional rest by offloading your feelings to a willing listener, then keep talking to prevent future emotional overload.

That could mean scheduling regular therapy sessions, or finding people with whom you can be 100% yourself.

Spiritual Rest

Feel afloat, unanchored, alone? You’re likely in need of some spiritual rest. That could mean practicing your religion if that’s an option for you, but it could also mean seeking out a sense of purpose, something to ground you and provide a little context.

Sensory Rest

Sensory exhaustion is one of the most prevalent drainers thanks to the prevalence of

Catch up on sensory rest by putting aside the technology and catching up in real life. Check in with yourself before reaching for the remote on nights “off”—is staring at a screen really the rest you need?

You might consider catching up with a friend face-to-face, or a good, old-fashioned book.


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