⏰ 4 min read
A week of work can feel long. Especially when your schedule is filled with back-to-back meetings, putting out fires and dealing with Susan from accounting. Weeks like this can leave you feeling exhausted, the kind of exhausted that leads you to spend a whole weekend in bed.
Yet, despite the lie-ins many of us still don’t feel refreshed when Monday rolls around. Instead, we may completely lack motivation or even find ourselves on the edge of burnout. That’s because there’s a ⚡ glitch in our thinking; sleep and rest are not the same thing. Stay with us...
The bad news: enough sleep is never enough
There’s no doubt that sleep is vital to our health and wellbeing. We can't function without it and anyone who has ever been sleep-deprived knows how hard it is to do even simple tasks when we’ve not had enough sleep.
However, as beneficial as getting a solid 6-8 hours of sleep regularly is, it’s not enough to help us feel truly refreshed and back on form.
Getting the right types of 'rest' will leave us feeling recharged and rejuvinated for the week ahead; rest should be equal to restoration and sleep is not always the answer.
There are actually 7 types of rest that we need to address in order to prevent chronic fatigue.
The 7 types of rest:
Many of us are working at jobs that are physically undemanding, i.e sitting at a desk all day. When we find ourselves sitting in front of our computers for a long time, we end up being in desperate need of physical rejuvintaion.
We can achieve this either actively or passively. Passive physcial restoration would be napping or having a sit down. Active physical restoration, which is what many of us need after a long desk-day, means strecthing and moving your body.
- Setting a timer on your phone to get up and stretch every hour
- At lunch, you could go for a walk or do a HIIT session
- Movement 'snacks' - instead of grabbing a chocolate bar, do some lunges!
Trying to consistently run our brains on full throttle can lead to mental exhaustion, leaving you with zero focus and brain fog. The good news is that you don’t need to go on a 4-week vacation to give yourself a mental rest.
- Setting aside time every day to disconnect and release some of that mental overload
- Putting on some relaxing music and stare at the ceiling
- Focusing on a calm activity that requires little thought like drawing or gardnening
- A guided meditation can work wonders for a busy mind
If you say ‘yes’ too often without considering your own needs, you’re sure to become emotionally drained. It's healthy to put some boundaries in place, to say 'no' and put your own needs first, when you feel like you need to. We need to take care of ourselves before we can take care of others.
Another unhealthy habit that can leave us feeling emotionally drained is to pent up all your feelings. Find a close friend to talk to, with whom you can be open and vulnerable.
- Saying a firm but kind 'no'
- Taking your friend for coffee and a chat
- Talking to a therapist
- Writing in your journal
Take a close look at the people you surround yourself with. Do you hang out with negative and judgmental people? Are you spending too much time with those who are toxic and pull you back? This can lead you to feel exhausted andin desperate need of social restoration.
- Spend time with people who are positive, uplifting, and supportive
- Take a break from people who drain your energy
- Enjoy some time by yourself - take yourself out to coffee, just enjoy your own company for a while
Exposure to constant stimuli can lead to sensory overload. The hours we spend staring at screens, being interupted by notifications and emails, under bright lights, in traffic all have an impact on our minds. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by loud noises or bright lights there are a few things you can do to give your sense a break.
- Turning off your phones and computers
- Spending time in quiet outdoor surroundings
- Sitting in silence with dim lights and breathing deeply
Any work that requires you to problem solve, brainstorm ideas, or come up with strategies can leave you with a creative rest deficit. Creative thoughts come from making new connections, something that is hard when you're just sat at your desk - restore your creative energy by taking a break from your daily routine and make time for things that inspire you.
- Visiting a museum
- Reading a book
- Listening to a new podcast
- Designing your space to inspire creativity
Spiritual rest is about connecting with the world, finding a sense of purpose, and feeling like you belong somewhere. If you are a faith-based person, you can serve in your religious community; if not, you can volunteer for a cause that is meaningful to you. Allowing yourself time to reconnect to your spirit can be a great source of rest.
- Deep breathing
- Journalling on your purpose and life goals
- Taking a walk amongst nature
So, which type of rest do I need?
You may be feeling tired and exhausted without knowing what kind of rest you need! Take 5 mintues to see which one of these you feel like you would benefit from the most, but rememeber that it's important to balance all of them to ensure that you feel fully restored.
While it can be tough to make time for these different types of rest all at once, you can start with one and slowly make changes to your lifestyle to incorporate them into your daily life.
- Sleep and rest are not the same thing!
- Despite getting enough sleep, you can feel drained because you’re not getting the type of restoration you need.
- There are 7 types of rest: physical, mental, emotional, social, sensory, creative, and spiritual.
- Find out what kind of rest you’re in need of the most and carve out time for it.
- Make gradual lifestyle changes so that you can regularly get each type of rest and prevent fatigue.
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