According to one study, more than 60% of Americans rarely feel rested and energized when they wake up.
Our ‘always-on’ culture glamorizes working to the brink of exhaustion and glorifies those who can push through even when their bodies are begging them to stop.
Even if you get the recommended seven hours of sleep each night, there’s a good chance you’re still waking up tired and sluggish. That’s because there’s a difference between sleep and rest.
Today, we’re discussing one of our most oft-neglected habits to uncover the restoring power of true rest.
What is Rest and Why is it Important?
Quality sleep is a critical component of rest, but it is not synonymous. Rest is an intentional action you take to disengage your mind and body from the environment.
It’s as simple as acknowledging gratitude before starting the day. It could be a planned rejuvenation, ranging from a daytime nap, a day at the spa, or a vacation.
You might feel guilty reserving those moments to yourself, notwithstanding an endless to-do list and loved ones who need your attention. However, rest will improve your mental, physical, and emotional well-being.
Research shows that people who engage in regular rest tend to have better cardiovascular health and lower blood pressure. They also have lower cortisol levels, widely known as the stress hormone. Proper rest encourages a more positive mindset and soothes anxious thoughts as well as helps you live longer.
When you protect rest in your daily life, you’re far less likely to fall victim to the pressures that try to overtake your day. You’ll achieve a new level of wellness.
Then, when it’s time to work again, you’ll find that your performance didn’t suffer because you took the time to press the reset button. Instead, you’ll have more energy, focus, and motivation.
Different Types of Rest
As we said sleep and rest are not synonymous.
Let’s look at the many ways to rest.
Physical rest can be both passive and active.
Passive rest includes sleeping and napping.
Signs of high-quality sleep include:
- Falling asleep within 30 minutes of getting into bed
- Waking no more than one time per night
- Sleeping the number of hours recommended for your age
- Falling back asleep within 20 minutes if you do wake up
- Feeling recharged and restored when you wake in the morning
Napping has also proven health benefits. Experts reveal that naps can boost your memory, elevate mood, ease stress, and improve your job performance. While it might be unrealistic to pencil a nap into your schedule daily, try to take one if you can. Power naps work.
Active physical rest includes doing things that move your body but relax your mind. Some people discover this inner calm on a long run or in the middle of a yoga session. Others prefer to go on a hike or take a few laps around the office, stretching deeply before getting back behind the desk.
You need both passive and active physical rest to keep your body healthy, strong, and in peak shape.
Mental rest includes finding ways to quiet the constant thoughts racing through your mind. We live in a data-heavy society in which all our devices are connected. We’re flooded with new content every second, and we weren’t built to retain it all.
If you find that you’ve become more forgetful or scatterbrained lately, your mind is likely taxed to exhaustion. To achieve mental rest, take a break from information deluge.
Look for activities that calm your psyche and allow you to disengage temporarily. That might include soaking in a bubble bath, listening to relaxing music, or reading a favorite book. Sometimes, it’s as simple as turning your phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode and checking out for the evening.
As you prioritize mental rest, it becomes easier to concentrate on the tasks that do require your attention. Think of it as emptying the recycling bin on your computer, freeing up space, and helping your mind machine work more effectively.
Social rest means surrounding yourself with people who are easy and enjoyable to be around. While some relationships are worth the hard work it takes to sustain them; you shouldn’t always feel forced to spend time with individuals who drain the energy and inspiration out of you.
This might mean limiting interactions with that friend who’s constantly involved in some new drama and is more than eager to unload it on you. It may look like distancing yourself from a needy relative or co-worker who seems to take but never gives.
Your time, energy, and focus are precious. You deserve to be around people who pour into you just as much as you pour into them. Think about the relationships in your life. Evaluate how many of them are life-giving and which ones leave you feeling drained.
You might find that some of that exhaustion is attributed to your spouse or children. If you feel over-extended and crave a moment to yourself at the end of the day, it could mean that you need to get more reciprocity from those closest to you. Evaluate those feelings and talk to your loved ones about them. When they know how you feel, they can start adjusting their interactions with you, prioritizing your well-being as much as their own.
Spiritual rest is connected to our belief system. We all want to believe that our actions and behaviors count for something.
We want to feel validated in our efforts and know we’re contributing to an end bigger than ourselves.
Spiritual rest is related to personal meaning. If you’ve been questioning why you work or if your efforts are worthwhile, then it could be that you don’t derive deep sustenance from your career. At the office, this can lead to burnout. At home, it can lead to a sense of detachment, insecurity, and isolation.
Spiritual connection is necessary: some seek it through social and community interactions, while others find it practicing their faith.
Discover the activities that bring peace and calm and restore your inner sense of purpose – that’s where you’ll unlock the value of spiritual rest.
Have you ever felt touched out? Moms of toddlers arguably know this feeling the best, as little hands grab at them for countless hours each day.
Touch is only one of your five senses, but it can be a powerful one. You may also experience sensory overload when your phone is buzzing and dinging off the hook, your laptop screen is too bright, everyone in the house is calling your name, noisy conversations are in the background oat work, or the dog barks to go outside.
Taking a break from these sensations can be incredibly refreshing. Without adequate sensory rest, we tend to become short-tempered and irritable. Look for moments you can spend a little time alone with your thoughts, without anyone or anything demanding your attention.
As humans, we’re designed for emotional connection. Shouldering all your thoughts, worries, and anxieties on your own can leave you feeling weak and drained. It can also exacerbate feelings of nervousness and dread.
Emotional rest includes finding people we can confide in and allowing them to be present and share those feelings back with us. Without it, living your true, authentic self can feel impossible. It can make you feel as though you’re shouldering a burden that’s too heavy and biting your tongue when you want to scream.
Whether it’s a spouse, loved one, or a trusted coach, look for individuals open to receiving your emotions and won’t scoff or turn away as you share them. This release is necessary for your well-being and can help alleviate the stress and strain in your life.
You achieve creative rest when you allow yourself to be immersed in anything that inspires, delights, or lights a spark in you. Often, this means enjoying the creative work of others, whether that’s walking through a museum, enjoying a live musical or ballet performance, or viewing the beauty in nature.
When you tap into this part of yourself, you’ll feel recharged and motivated to recreate that creative energy in your life. Suddenly, painting a canvas, standing by the ocean, or knitting a potholder won’t feel like a waste of time. You’ll begin to see it as a critical component of self-care, and you may discover new talents along the way.
How to Identify Which Type of Rest You Need
Are you tired? Exhaustion goes beyond the physical realm and can also include your emotional and mental state.
It can be hard to determine which type of rest you’re lacking and which areas require recharging. Deprivation can be multi-faceted, and there may even be needs you aren’t aware of yet.
Discover the healing power of rest and find ways to apply it to every facet of your life. Contact me to learn more about how you can reclaim the calm you deserve.