Ever wondered why you try to go to bed an hour earlier but you still wake up the next day feeling completely exhausted? We have all tried it but wonder why it doesn’t work. When was the last time you woke up and felt completely rested? According to Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, sleep and rest are not the same thing which is why many of us are falling into cycles of exhaustion.
We often go through life thinking that if we feel rested, we must have had enough sleep, but the reality is, many of us are missing out on other types of rest we desperately need. A high achieving, high producing culture may be great, but it is slowly starting to build chronic burn out in many individuals and in turn, it means we have forgotten how to engage the power of rest.
Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith says that rest should be divided into these seven key areas in your life and she lists them all here:-
1. Physical rest – which can be passive or active. Passive physical rest includes sleeping and napping, while active physical rest means restorative activities such as yoga, stretching and massage therapy that help improve the body’s circulation and flexibility.
2. Mental rest – Do you know that colleague who starts work every day with a huge cup of coffee? He’s often irritable and forgetful, and he has a difficult time concentrating on his work. When he lies down at night to sleep, he frequently struggles to turn off his brain as conversations from the day fill his thoughts. And despite sleeping seven to eight hours, you wake up feeling as if you never went to bed. This is mental rest deficit. To help overcome this, schedule short breaks to occur every two hours throughout your workday as these breaks can remind you to slow down. You might also keep a notepad by the bed to jot down any nagging thoughts that would keep you awake at night.
3. Sensory rest – Bright lights, computer screens and background noise, whether you are in an office or online video calls, this can cause our senses to feel tired. This can be countered by doing something as simple as closing your eyes for a minute in the middle of the day, as well as by intentionally unplugging from electronics at the end of every day. Intentional moments of sensory deprivation can begin to undo the damage inflicted by the over-stimulating world.
4. Creative rest – This type of rest is especially important for anyone who must solve problems or brainstorm new ideas. Creative rest reawakens the awe and wonder inside each of us. Allow yourself time back to take in the beauty of the outdoors — even if it’s at a local park or in your garden. It can really provide you with creative rest you might be craving. Furthermore, you can display images and works of art that speak to you. Surround yourself with images that help you feel happy and creative.
5. Emotional rest – this gives us the time and space to freely express our feelings and cut back on people pleasing. Emotional rest also requires 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 then go on to share some hard things that otherwise go unsaid.
6. Social rest – 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 gives us the space 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 meditation, or community involvement to your daily routine.
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Note: Fatigue can also be associated with numerous health problems, so please get checked out by your doctor if it persists.
To learn more about Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, watch her TEDx Atlanta Talk here: Dr Sandra Dalton Smith