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Rest: More Than Just Sleeping

Did you know that rest and sleep are not the same things? 

Many of us try to fix our ongoing lack of energy by getting more sleep, but even if we do this, we can still feel exhausted.

Rest is underused, chemical-free and safe.  Everything we do requires energy, and most of what we do is not physical.

Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith has identified that there are seven – yes, seven! – different types of rest that we need.

Rest is restoration in one of the seven areas, otherwise we have a rest deficit.

1. Physical Rest – this can be passive or active. Passive physical rest is sleeping and napping, while active physical rest means restorative activities such as yoga, stretching and massage therapy that help to improve the body’s circulation and flexibility. Osteopathy is a restorative activity. Ann-Christin, one of our Registered Osteopaths, has written a great article on the power of sleep.

2. Mental Rest

Are you irritable, forgetful, poor concentration during the day and need that cup of coffee to start the day?

Do you struggle at night to get to sleep as your thoughts are full of the day?

Are you able to sleep but wake feeling like you never went to bed?

Then you may have a mental rest deficit. Schedule short breaks every two hours throughout your day to slow down and rest your mind and thoughts.  Keep a notepad by your bed to jot down any circulating thoughts that keep you awake.

3. Sensory Rest – our senses are constantly bombarded. This can be from bright lights, computers (including tablet and phone) screens and our online meetings and learning. Add background noise, the radio or TV permanently on in the background – you can become overwhelmed and over-stimulated.  Close your eyes, just for a few minutes, and see how different that feels.  Intentionally create moments of sensory deprivation – turn off the radio, take the earbuds out, come off social media, stop gaming – make sure that you unplug from your electronics at the end of every day.

4. Creative Rest – this can be likened to the child-like wonder we experience when seeing or experiencing something… that moment that takes our breath away in awe. A beautiful sunrise or sunset, watching the snow fall, hearing the rain on the roof, appreciating nature. We also need to consider our environment – if you need to be creative or solve problems then sitting in a dull room is not going to help you feel passionate or be innovative.

5. Emotional Rest – do you feel that you say “yes” all the time, even when you really want to say “no”? Are you the person who doesn’t want to disappoint anyone? Do you feel unappreciated and that others are taking advantage of you? Then you may have emotional rest deficit. To restore, you need to have time and space to freely express your feelings and cut back on people-pleasing. Have the courage to be authentic. An emotionally-rested person can answer the question “How are you today?” with a truthful “I’m not okay” – and go on to share some hard things that otherwise go unsaid.

6. Social Rest – if you are in need of emotional rest, then you probably have a social rest deficit too. This occurs when we fail to differentiate between those relationships that revive us from those relationships that exhaust us. To experience more social rest, surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Even if your interactions have to occur virtually, you can choose to engage more fully in them by turning on your camera and focusing on who you’re speaking to.

7. Spiritual Rest – this is the ability to connect beyond the physical and mental and feel a deep sense of belonging, love, acceptance and purpose. To receive this, engage in something greater than yourself and add prayer, meditation or community involvement to your daily routine.

By not acknowledging these key areas, we unknowingly keep missing out on the actual rest we need and we end up chronically tired and burned out.

Where are you using the most energy during the day?

This information was taken from a video from Saundra Dalton-Smith (visit her website).

This article is written by Karen Robinson, our Clinical Director.