Have you ever had a full 8 hours of sleep at night but still woken up feeling exhausted? Of course there are lots of reasons this might happen (sickness, hormones etc) but have you ever considered there might be more to ‘resting’ than just sleeping?
People often ask me as I’m treating them if I’m exhausted by the end of the day, because of the physical nature of my work.
The funny thing is, I never feel physically exhausted – my body has become conditioned to the work because I have been doing it for such a long time (I find sitting at a computer way more exhausting!!)
I have always explained that I feel more mentally tired at the end of the day. Tired from using my clinical brain, tired from interacting with so many people in a day (because whilst I love people I am most definitely an introvert!)
I have recently come across a book by Saundra Dalton-Smith called Sacred Rest and it really struck a chord with me.
In it, she describes
SEVEN different types of rest:
💮 Physical Rest: The chance to use the body in restorative ways to decrease muscle tension, reduce headaches, and promote higher quality sleep.
💮 Mental Rest: The ability to quiet cerebral chatter and focus on things that matter.
💮 Spiritual Rest: The capacity to experience God in all things and recline in the knowledge of the Holy.
💮 Emotional Rest: The freedom to authentically express feelings and eliminate people-pleasing behaviours.
💮 Social Rest: The wisdom to recognise relationships that revive from ones that exhaust and how to limit exposure to toxic people.
💮 Sensory Rest: The opportunity to downgrade the endless onslaught of sensory input received from electronics, fragrances, and background noise.
💮 Creative Rest: The experience of allowing beauty to inspire awe and liberate wonder. Below are your personal rest deficit assessment results. Use these results to help you see which types of rest you already excel at and which ones you need to focus on improving.
In reading her work, I came to realise that my feeling of fatigue at the end of a busy work day is probably reflective of a deficit in ALL of these areas of rest. In fact, she even offers a free ‘Rest Quiz’ which I took (I mean, who doesn’t love an online quiz??).
I love thinking of rest this way because sometimes more sleep just doesn’t feel like the answer. It can be helpful to think about other and potentially more effective ways we might be able to offer our bodies rest.
Dr. Dalton-Smith says in her TEDx Talk “An emotionally rested person answers the question ‘how are you today?’ with a truthful ‘I’m not ok”.
Here are some possible remedies to help
with each of the rest deficits, and this is what I’ve come up with:
💮 Physical Rest:
- gentle movement (yoga, stretch class)
- look at your sleep hygiene (bedtime, routine, environment)
- relaxation massage
💮 Mental Rest:
- schedule breaks into your day
- start a ‘brain dump’ list to get your thoughts out of your head and onto paper
- look for ways to practise mindfulness (whether through movement like swimming or running, breathwork, or meditation)
💮 Spiritual Rest:
- get back in touch with your values & purpose
- connect with a community
- build a gratitude practice into your day
- look for ways to serve or give back
💮 Emotional Rest:
- share your feelings with those close to you who can offer support
💮 Social Rest:
- reassess which relationships might be filling your cup and which ones are draining you
- be mindful of scheduling too much time with people who need things from you (sorry kids)
- say no! Experience the JOMO (joy of missing out)
💮 Sensory Rest:
- go for a walk without your headphones
- fold laundry without multitasking
- drive home with the radio turned off
- use noise cancelling headphones to block the kids out!
💮 Creative Rest:
- look for opportunities to enjoy the beauty in nature- sit and look at the ocean, go for a nature walk
- enjoy some music or art that feeds your soul
- make time to sit and dream (without turning it into a to-do list)
So, if you have done the rest quiz and you know where you are lacking… what are you going to do about it?
I’d love to know so please share!