Burnt out? You’re not alone. The demands placed on the modern day human are more than enough to overwhelm even the strongest of us.
Burn out is not just a buzzword floating around. In some ways, it’s a pandemic in its own right. I mean, I know it’s not the most credible statistic in the world but practically every other tweet I see is complaining about the unending sense of tired haunting the tweeter.
And it’s not a problem sleep alone can fix. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably noticed that no matter how many Zs you catch you still feel exhausted.
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Then, after discovering Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith’s theory of rest I realised that sleep is not the full answer. The answer is rest. (Hint: sleep and rest are not the same thing.)
Rest is about restoration. It’s something we need for our long-term productivity and well-being. Without rest, we are doomed to let exhaustion limit our efforts and fatigue halt our wellness.
According to Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, there are actually 7 kinds of rest that we all need to replenish and recharge:
1. Physical Rest
a.k.a. resting our body.
We do this every time we sleep but it includes everything that replenishes the body e.g. a massage or some yoga.
2. Mental Rest
a.k.a giving our mind a break.
It includes anything that relieves us from feeling overwhelmed by tasks. For example, taking a walking break on a busy day, meditatingor journaling. I love song and dance breaks. Seriously, I put on upbeat music and lip sync for my life in the middle of my living room. It always takes my mind off whatever is stressing me out!
3. Emotional Rest
a.k.a honestly acknowledging our feelings.
It involves speaking the truth to ourselves about our emotions and getting into our authentic selves. From putting on a brave face to loved ones even when we’re hurting to having a professional attitude in the workplace, it’s not always appropriate to express our true feelings. I mean, can you imagine a world in which service workers told us what they really thought of us as customers? So it’s very important to give ourselves the space to stay honest with ourselves and giving ourselves a break from the image we project onto the world.
4. Social Rest
a.k.a replenishing our social battery from relationships that drain us or leave us feeling exhausted.
This can mean reaching out to a supportive close friend or even taking a break from it all and spending time with ourselves.
5. Sensory Rest
a.k.a giving our senses a break.
It’s easy to find ourselves at the mercy of our phones, computers, TVs and other screens offering us never-ending stimuli for you to get lost in no matter the circumstances. These constant stimuli can make us feel overwhelmed and, in the case of social media, totally jaded. We need to give ourselves a break from having to use so many of our senses at once.
6. Creative Rest
a.k.a experiencing nature, art and more aesthetic pleasures and being inspired by them.
When we find ourselves in a slump, creative rest awakens a sense of awe that can re-energise us. For example, a feel-good film can help you rediscover your sense of passion and drive. (This happens to me every time I watch The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Every time I watch it I’m inspired to grab life by the horns and ride it full speed into wonder.)
[See also: 5 Tips For Busy Creators]
7. Spiritual Rest
a.k.a connecting with something bigger than yourself.
Hey, we all get a bit self-centred and sometimes it can feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders. Spiritual rest is about taking ourselves out of a me-me-me mindset and bringing ourselves to see the world beyond us. If you’re religious, this might be something faith-based like attending fellowship or Bible study or even solo praise and worship. For the non-religious, this can be community-based like “fellowship” with like-minded people, being part of a club, or volunteering. Whichever way you lean, we all need spiritual rest to help us feel a sense of belonging and draw meaning into our lives.
We don’t always need all these types of rest at the same time but there is a point in all our lives that they will be needed. Just as important it is to know when we need to rest, it’s imperative to know what kind of rest we need to best replenish. I hope this helps you figure out what particular kind you need right now to beat burnout.