The new year is here, and according to society, we’re supposed to be feeling rested, rejuvenated, and ready to tackle our goals. But, after the year we’ve had, it’s completely normal to have lingering feelings of burnout and exhaustion. Consider the last time you actually felt rested — and no, we’re not talking about the superpower energy you feel after your fifth cup of coffee.
When we’re feeling drained, our initial instinct is to press the snooze button and opt for more sleep — but it may not be that simple! While there’s no denying we could all use some extra shut-eye, rest and sleep are not synonymous.
That’s right — there are 7 kinds of rest, and your body may need a recharge in multiple areas! Find out which type of rest you need more of and learn expert tips that will help you press the reset button.
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The 7 Kinds of Rest
#1 Emotional Rest
While more people are becoming comfortable wearing their heart on their sleeve, many are still afraid of sharing their feelings for fear of being judged. “We all experience periods of emotional stress — the loss of a loved one, a relationship, a job, a home. Having compassion and empathy puts us at an even greater risk of experiencing mental and emotional distress. And wow, does it have a significant impact on all the systems of the body,” says Dr. Megen McBride, a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine who practices out of Four Moons Spa, a modern beauty, healing, and wholeness space in Encinitas, CA.
When we internalize emotions, our body finds alternate ways to release these feelings “and not in ways that we can necessarily predict or completely understand,” says McBride. Pain, fatigue, sleep, chronic illness, and even disease are all affected by emotional unease, which is why emotional rest, one of the 7 kinds of rest, is crucial.
The takeaway? It’s okay not to be okay. Try these (N.D. recommended) tips to recharge.
Turn Into The Discomfort
“I have a mantra that I say to myself,” says McBride. “Turn into the discomfort, and find peace.” While it may be uncomfortable, “this will often reduce the length of the most intense sense of loss and discomfort. We learn that life continues to have a purpose, and we even rediscover joy and beauty,” she says.
Have a Team of Support
Have a group of family, friends, therapists, and resources you can call on during times of distress.
Practice Mindfulness and Self-compassion
Practice living mindfully (when you eat or exercise, for example). Quality is more important than quantity, says McBride.
Enlist a Professional
Acknowledge that you’re important enough to be taken care of. McBride suggests having your hormones and inflammatory markers tested by a doctor or seeking out a therapist.
#2 Physical Rest
We couldn’t discuss the 7 kinds of rest without mentioning sleep! To ensure you’re maximizing your time on the pillow, here are some tips to help you wake up feeling fresh.
Use Blue-blocking Glasses After Sunset
Blue light disrupts melatonin release in the pineal gland, which disrupts healing and repair at night, says McBride. Try blue-blocking apps, or dim the lights and use natural lighting!
Don’t Eat Within 3 Hours of Sleep
Your digestive system should be relaxed and ready to repair at night, says McBride. However, if you find yourself hungry, you may want to eat a small amount of fat and protein to maintain blood sugar and prevent hypoglycemia. Try these registered-dietician-approved late-night eating tips!
A Nightly Dose of Magnesium
Magnesium calms the nervous system and relaxes the muscles, helping the body to repair more efficiently during sleep. It also helps the immune system and digestive system function properly, says McBride. Most people are deficient in magnesium — so, you may benefit from a dose! Studies suggest magnesium supplementation improves feelings of restfulness and significantly increases sleep time!
#3 Mental Rest
Do you feel like your brain is a computer with a million open tabs, half of which are frozen? If you said yes, this is a telling sign, it’s time to shut down and reboot! Research suggests that we have over 6,000 thoughts per day — it’s no wonder mental rest is one of the 7 kinds of rest! Here are some expert tips to help you calm your mind.
Breathing Exercises & Meditation
The power of your breath can calm the mind, reduce anxiety, and reset the parasympathetic nervous system, says McBride. Try this Anytime Breath Meditation with DeAndre or Unclutter The Mind Meditation with Vytas to help quiet your mind.
McBride recommends EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) to calm the mind and help the body relax and reduce stress.
Pick music with either 432Hz or 528Hz for better relaxation and healing. 440Hz (the standard frequency used right now) can be disruptive and stressful to our neural pathways, says McBride.
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#4 Spiritual Rest
Spiritual rest, one of the 7 kinds of rest, helps us reconnect with our higher-self. Finding something bigger than oneself is a practice of enlightenment and a true rest of the soul, says McBride. When we re-engage with our body, we can re-approach the world with greater self-compassion, self-awareness, and acceptance that radiates outward. So, when you’re feeling tired or stressed, this may be a sign you need to look inward.
Consider meditation if you don’t know where to start. Another alternative? McBride suggests periodically fasting from social media.
#5 Creative Rest
Have you lost your spark of creativity and feel like you’re running on auto-pilot? Here are some expert ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
Stop looking at the world through a screen and join the adventure of going off-grid.
Adult coloring books are not only socially acceptable, but they can be meditative and help calm the mind.
Try stretching, meditation, and yoga.
Taking a 20-minute power nap can reset and recharge the mind, says McBride.
#6 Social Rest
Social rest may seem irrelevant when we’re all longing for connection amid a global pandemic — but this is one of the 7 types of rest that may be necessary now more than ever. While it’s important to stay connected during times of social distancing, emotions are running high, and our energy levels can be easily depleted, regardless if we are in person or not.
“Similar to cleaning out our closets, we all should take a relationship assessment from time to time,” says McBride. Consider whether your relationships are supporting or draining you. We all need a break from that best friend… even extroverts need a break from social stimulation once in a while! But if we have healthy practices of rest, we can still re-engage with draining friends to be supportive and empathetic for those struggling through hard times, says McBride.
Try A Digital Detox
Sign out from social media and take a digital detox (you’ll survive, we promise!)
If you find yourself in a destructive relationship, it may be time to part ways. Also, consider relationships you have with others you don’t actually know, says McBride – (think: Politicians, actors, royalty, famous people whose lives you dig into instead of living your own). Taking a social rest in this area is not only healthy but extremely necessary to stay engaged in reality.
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#7 Sensory Rest
We live in a world of constant stimulation with societal pressure to be “turned on” or “tuned in” 24/7. Between the many realms of social media, around-the-clock access to electronics, and the new world of telecommunication — sometimes our body is screaming for the off button! Whether we know it or not, many of us are in a state of sensory overload at this very moment — which brings us to the last of the 7 types of rest — sensory rest.
Walk away from the screens and step into nature.
Be Mindful of Sneaky Exposures
McBride recommends protecting yourself from prolonged sensory exposures such as EMF exposure, molds and toxins in water, food, and air, harmful bacteria, and even fragrances.
Make the Nontoxic Switch
“This goes a long way in protecting your senses and nervous system so that you can keep enjoying those senses long into your later years,” says McBride. Use EWG to find safe products for makeup, laundry detergents, and cleaning supplies to protect your skin and the environment!
Sensory Deprivation Tank
Shut out the world and float your worries away. Studies suggest the use of float tanks not only increase sleep, optimism, and mindfulness but also decrease stress, depression, anxiety, and pain. See if a local near you offers float therapy!
How To Hit The Recharge Button With The 7 Types Of Rest
The next time you’re feeling tired, consider what type of rest you need and where you may feel depleted. Now that you know the 7 types of rest, you have all the tools to recharge areas that require some extra nourishment!