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Are you getting enough rest?


In this week's blog I'm going to be sharing something that I've recently been learning about: how to rest. Whilst rest isn't directly linked to creating a career you love; it is certainly important for recharging and keeping your energy levels topped up - something that I am absolutely in support of.

Good rest has long been linked to good mental health. I have been learning more about rest recently, through my friend Cara's napping business Pronappers as well as following Alex Soojung-Kim Pang who is a thought-leader and author specialising in rest.

Last week, I came across a new theory that sparked my interest enough that I'd love to share it with you.

Seven types of rest

This concept is from Dr Saundra Dalton-Smith, a board-certified internal medicine physician, international wellness expert and the author of "Sacred Rest". The theory posits that there are seven types of rest that we need. Don't worry! This doesn't mean another 7 things you need to build into your regime but it's interesting to reflect on where you might be feeling a deficit.

Rest is distinct from sleep which is why we can still feel energy-deficient even if we're getting "enough" sleep. For the purposes of this theory "rest" means "restoration" in seven key areas of your life, as follows:

  1. Physical Rest. Physical rest can be passive or active. Passive physical rest includes sleeping and napping. However, we also need active physical rest which means restorative activities such as yoga, stretching and massage therapy. These help improve the body's circulation and flexibility. A great excuse to book in for a massage, I think!
  2. Mental Rest. This basically means taking breaks from your work. Part of this will be scheduling breaks into your working day (think Pomodoro technique). However, this is also about switching off so turning off your work emails and notifications and ditching your phone in the evenings.
  3. Sensory Rest. This means taking a break from bright lights, screens, noise and anything else that can overwhelm our senses. It can be as simple as closing your eyes for a quiet minute in the middle of the day. At the other extreme, a sensory deprivation tank or silent retreat could be considered.
  4. Creative Rest. This is about appreciating aesthetics, for example allowing yourself to take in the beauty of the outdoors or enjoying the arts. You could turn your workspace into a place of inspiration by displaying images of places you love and works of art that speak to you. This will help you to be creative and innovative when you need to.
  5. Emotional Rest. This means having the time and space to freely express your feelings and cut back on people pleasing. It requires the courage to be authentic and be able to share hard emotions when needed. Always saying "yes" and "I'm OK" is emotionally draining.
  6. Social Rest. To experience more social rest, you need to surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Remember the radiators I wrote about a couple of weeks ago? These are the people who will help you to restore this social area.
  7. Spiritual. Not everyone resonates with the word "spiritual". This rest is simply the ability to connect beyond the physical and mental and feel a deep sense of belonging, love, acceptance and purpose. This can be achieved in many different ways depending on who you are as an individual.
What Next?

I think it's really interesting to look at these different types of rest and try to ascertain which you might need more of. To make things easier for you, Dr Saundra has created a free rest quiz which you access on her website (caveat that you need to give your email address and that some of the content on her website is quite religious).

If you don't fancy the quiz, then give yourself a score out of 10 for each of these areas. My quiz came back with my two areas in need of most attention as "Physical" and "Emotional". I think this is probably where I would have scored myself.

Let me know if you fancy coming for a massage and listening to me talk about my emotions!!

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