Now that we are in the holidays season, some of us may find that our sleep cycles get out of whack. And we all know how important good sleep is for stress relief.
But did you know that there are seven types of rest? According to TED.com speaker Saundra Dalton-Smith MD, sleep and rest are not the same thing. Rest should equal restoration in seven key areas of your life:
- Physical – whether it be passive like sleeping or active like stretching/exercise and getting a massage to help improve your body.
- Mental – where microbreaks, journaling and meditation can help calm your noisy mind.
- Sensory – bright lights and electronics can lead to sensory overload, so detoxing from technology is important for proper rest.
- Creative – especially if you need to brainstorm new ideas as part of your work, creative rest is critical. Spending time in nature and surrounding yourself with colors can be very helpful.
- Emotional – the opportunity to freely express your feelings, which can be done in the privacy of your own space using the Emotional Freedom Technique.
- Social – it should come as no surprise that negative people suck our energy, while positive people do the opposite. To get this type of proper rest, it is best to avoid negative people and limit your use of social media.
- Spiritual – whatever spirituality means to you, doing a daily gratitude exercise can be a game changer in changing your overall outlook.
In her book Sacred Rest, Dr. Daulton-Smith says that determining what type of rest you need starts with evaluating where you’re using energy throughout your day. The areas where you expend the most energy are likely going to be the areas where you need to prioritize rest. For example, if you’re a graphic designer and spend most of your time creating new designs, you’re using a lot of creative energy throughout the day—and, as such, will need to prioritize creative rest. If you’re in the middle of training for a marathon and are running 15 miles every day, your body is going to be exhausted—and you’ll need to get plenty of physical rest to recover.
So next time you are wondering why a solid night’s sleep doesn’t refresh you, take into consideration which type of rest you may actually need in order to reduce your stress and perform at your best.
Please note that there is no guarantee a particular stress relief tool will work for you. Thus you must take complete responsibility for using them and for your own physical and emotional wellbeing. Further, Professor Pete Alexander is not a licensed health professional. Please consult qualified health practitioners regarding your use of any stress relief technique. Medical advice must only be obtained from a physician or qualified health practitioner.