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Are you getting the right type of rest?

Updated: May 21


We all know that rest is important, but did you know that there are SEVEN types of rest? We all think about rest being sleep (physical rest), but if you're not getting the right type of rest, you can wake up feeling exhausted, low in mood, low in motivation and you can develop physical and mental disorders as a result.

“We have, for the most part, lumped rest over to this one category, [which is physical rest],” says Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, TedX speaker and author of Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity. “We don't really understand that there are multiple types of rest.”

“You're attempting to get something—[better rest]—that doesn't fully look at the different aspects of it and the different ways that you can accomplish it,” continues Dalton-Smith. “And so what happens is, people tend to excel at getting certain types of rest—and then are completely omitting other types of rest, simply because they don't know they exist.”

“We're all using all seven [types of energy] at some points throughout our day and in our life,” says Dalton-Smith. “But there's usually one or two [areas] that are higher than the others and those areas of highest deficit, are what's going to make you feel the most tired, the most exhausted.”

Getting the right balance is important, to reach optimal levels of health, you need to combine suitable rest and restoration with regular exercise like Pilates. We find that getting the right type of rest, coupled with regular exercise like Pilates, can do wonders for not only your health, but also your mood, motivation and energy levels.

So here are the 7 types of rest. In order to determine which type of rest to prioritise, you need to identify which areas of energy you are using the most, and where you feel the most depleted:

1. Physical - anything that helps to relax and restore your body such as sleep, meditation or massage.

2. Mental - Giving your brain a break. A clear sign that you need mental rest is when you feel overwhelmed and struggle to shut-off your thoughts. Mental rest activities can include going for a walk in nature or writing down nagging/ racing thoughts especially before you go to sleep at night.

3. Emotional - This is about being authentic and honest about your feelings. If you are stuck in a people-pleasing mode (saying 'yes' to a commitment, even though you want to say 'no'), or feeling like you have to always be in good form (responding with "I'm doing great" when really you're struggling) you are showing signs of needing emotional rest. Put yourself and your needs first in this case, say no when you need to and take the time for yourself instead of always putting others first.

4. Social - Socializing with other individuals is a good thing, but sometimes when we are constantly socialising, we need a social rest. A sign of this is when certain relationships or circumstances leave you feeling drained and exhausted.

5. Sensory - When you overwhelm your senses with constant stimuli, such as your computer, TV or phone, you can cause exhaustion of these sensory areas leading to mood swings, difficulty concentrating, or being 'present'. Take a note of how much time you spend stimulating your senses and make sure that you take a conscious break regularly.

6. Creative - when you feel stuck, uninspired and unable to develop new-ideas or solutions to problems, you may need creative rest. This is when you expose yourself to artistic, nature-based, and innovative environments, allowing yourself to feel inspiration from them without feeling the need to produce a creation!

7. Spiritual - When you find it difficult to connect with the bigger picture or are caught-up in your issues, you need to connect to something that is larger than yourself. Meditation and mindfulness are perfect for this.

If you're like many people, who struggle to relax and get the right type of rest, mindful movement can be helpful and it relaxes your body, mind and emotional centres. We've included relaxation and release techniques in our courses to help you achieve more balance of your energies. Check out our courses.

Want more motivation tips, check out our 'Top Tips for Exercise Motivation' and 'The Power of Pilates' blogs

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