So often so many people I speak to note, in one way or other, that they’re tired or even burnt out. To be honest, this has been the case for many years, it seems to have been even more prevalent in recent times due to the very real and very significant stressors we’ve all faced, including the high levels of uncertainty.
Tiredness and exhaustion are highly problematic because they’re linked to poor health, both physical and mental, as well as to poorer performance at work. Not surprisingly, it’s also hard to be a good husband or wife, parent, or friend, if you’re sleep deprived and lacking in energy all or most of the time.
Quite simply, although we can all push through with minimal sleep and rest for a certain amount of time (and although we all have to do this at times), it’s not sustainable or in any way desirable over the long term.
And the good news is there’s a relatively simple remedy, rest. We all know this, but many of us don’t realise there are different types of rest. And they’re all important in their own way. Ensuring you achieve adequate levels of all the different types of rest is important if you want to ensure that you’re fully healthy and happy.
So, let’s look, then, at what these different forms of rest and recovery actually are:
The first and most obvious type of rest is what we might call physical rest. This is sleep and maybe even napping. There’s no doubt this is a core part of wellbeing but there’s also no doubt it’s not the only part when it comes to rest and recovery
What’s also important is mental rest. This is when we allow our brains to take a break from stimulation and thinking and often, work and worry; and it can be achieved via regular short relaxation or meditation breaks
Similar in some ways to this is sensory rest. So much of our lives these days involves high levels of sensory stimulation that come from lights and noise, digital devices, and screen time. I’m not suggesting we completely give up the activities that involve such stimulation, but I would very much encourage you to find ways to take regular breaks or what are sometimes called, periods of “digital detox”
And then there’s the type of rest that comes from creativity, from doing something different or even being somewhere different. We can enjoy this by changing up our routines, listening to music, looking at art, or even being in nature
All of which can also bring about emotional rest. This is where we find time to be mindful of how we’re feeling, to nurture ourselves and where relevant, to express our emotions in a healthy and appropriate way
Then there’s social rest. In short, relationships and connectedness are very important for our physical and psychological wellbeing but there are relationships that energise and uplift us, and relationships that sap or drain our energy. There are times we need to take a break from the latter
And finally, give some consideration to spiritual rest; or looking at this another way, making time to connect or reconnect with your meaning and purpose, with something greater than just you as an individual
In conclusion, I hope you can see that rest is a vitally important component of healthy living, just as important as exercise and nutrition. I hope, also, you can see that rest isn’t just, or isn’t always a passive activity. Rather, it’s an active coping strategy we all need to add into our repertoires and ideally, prioritise and perform as often as possible.