Sleep does not always replenish your energy.
When we are tired and drained, we believe that a good night’s sleep will fix everything. While it can indeed do so, we sometimes find ourselves just as exhausted when we wake up. Why is it that you can sleep for eight hours and still feel unrested? Usually, the answer is that you do not need sleep but rest. In other words, there is a difference between sleeping and resting. It is interesting to note that sleeping is just one of seven different types of rest. If you are physically exhausted then physical rest is indeed necessary; but, what if it is your mind that is tired? Unfortunately, a good night’s sleep cannot restore your energy when you feel emotionally or mentally drained. So, what can?
There are 7 different types of rest you need.
1. Physical rest
Our bodies often become overworked and tired; this exhaustion is easy to notice and everybody knows that when you feel physically tired, you need to rest. Nevertheless, physical rest encompasses more than just sleep. It is anything that soothes and relaxes your body (for example, deep breathing and stretching). In any case, if you know that your physical body is overworked, it is best to ensure that you get the 7-8 hours of sleep that your body requires.
2. Emotional rest
Before diving into emotional rest, you need to ask yourself what makes you emotionally drained? At the top of this list, you will find that it is the toxic and negative people in your life that drain your energy most of all. Admittedly, various other things contribute to emotional fatigue. If you are somebody who always bottles up their feelings, you might soon (if not already) feel drained. When we bottle up our emotions, they begin to weigh us down. This is when we need to let them go and soothe ourselves. To do this, you need to unload all of your emotions: talk to those you trust, write in a journal, and cry if you need to. Do everything it takes to feel free of negativity.
3. Mental rest
When you are mentally exhausted, you become indecisive, restless, forgetful, and incapable of concentrating. If you have been feeling this way, it may be time to rest. Often, mental exhaustion is the result of intense stress and overthinking. Meditating and engaging in creative activities can help ease your mental fatigue.
4. Sensory rest
According to Saundra Dalton-Smith, M.D., the author of Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Renew Your Sanity, sensory exhaustion is more common now than ever before due to “the prevalence of screens”. She explains that our computers and phones cause “a lot of eye strain and neck tension, and a lot of divorces and broken relationships. It becomes easier to talk to the computer. That breaks intimacy, and overtime, it breaks relationships.” To preserve your physical, mental, and emotional health, take a break from your screens. Unplug for at least 30 minutes a day to focus on what is important.
5. Social rest
Contrary to what “social rest” sounds like, it does not mean taking a break from interacting with people. When we are alone for long periods, we begin to feel lonely and isolated. Therefore, social rest means having meaningful conversations with loving and supportive people. Dalton-Smith explains: “For me, [social rest] means finding people who are in my tribe—women I don’t have to compete with.”
6. Creative rest
Many people fail to understand the importance of being inspired. If you cannot remember the last time you used your creative side, it is time to ignite your creativity. Doing something as simple as going for an electronics-free stroll or immersing yourself in a novel can get your creative juices flowing.
7. Spiritual rest
If you have been feeling as though your life is monotonous and meaningless, you need spiritual rest. Diving into philosophical ideas and introspection can help you find meaning in life. Although this may not apply to all people, some may find strength in turning to religion. Either way, it is important to look within yourself and find your purpose. We all need a reason to keep going and a reason to keep fighting: what is yours?
Taking care of yourself is so much more than making sure you get a good night’s sleep. To feel truly happy and fulfilled, you need to take care of your body, mind, and soul. In other words, you need to tend to your physical, emotional, mental, sensory, social, creative, and spiritual needs in order to be truly content.