7 Kinds of Rest

7 Kinds of Rest: We might not always be able to take a break from life, but we can add pockets of intentional rest to help rejuvenate parts of ourselves.
7 Kinds of Rest

7 Kinds of Rest

We are back to busier lives. We may have more in-office days than home days now. The kids are being rushed from sport to sport and we are being called to every birthday, baby shower, wedding, Oilers games, Elks games and any other special obligation out there. We have moved away from “the new slower, more self-compassionate normal” and back to our exhausting lives. Many people are much happier in the go-go-go mindset, but we are also getting exhausted and sometimes wish for the days we didn’t have to leave the house.

When we get overwhelmed, exhausted, and burnt out, we think we need a break from everything. In reality, how likely is that? Not very!

I have learned through groups and individuals that when we can identify where we are the most drained, we can add intentional rest to help rejuvenate us more quickly. There are 7 mains areas we often feel we need rest or a break from, and some of the rest we take in overlap. These are some examples – feel free to make your lists.

*Read to the end for a special bonus!

Physical Rest

Physical rest
We will start with the most obvious type of rest, physical. We usually know when our bodies are physically tired by our aching muscles, feeling like we can’t move anymore. We come home and our bodies’ last step lands us on the couch where we sit staring into the abyss. We may feel more tired or lethargic, like our bodies don’t want to carry us any further. Our bodies feel tight and tense and like they need to move because we have been stuck at a desk and in our cars for over 40 hours this week. If you feel tired and seek intentional physical rest, you may feel more rejuvenated.

Ways to get physical rest

Mental Rest

Mental Rest

We know when we are mentally tired because our brains are just not working effectively. We see this when people are overwhelmed with school work, bookwork, doing case notes, quotes or solving mentally heavy tasks. However, sometimes the tedious tasks leave us mentally drained or unstimulated. When we are mentally drained, we may be more headaches, be unable to focus, avoid or procrastinate on tasks, and feel uninspired. 

Ways to get mental rest

Sensory Rest

Sensory Rest

When we need sensory rest, it is because everything around us activates us. Our senses are constantly taking in our environment. Our eyes take in information as we look around, looking for threats and rewards. Our sense of smell is continuously taking in new scents and connecting to memory paths in our brains. Our ears always listen for new information and content about what is happening around us. Our touch sensors may work hard to navigate different parts of our environment. If we are parents with small children climbing on us, we may feel “touched out.” Often we have our taste sensors lit up by the foods or drinks we ingest. We get sensory overload and often do not realize it is happening because we have become accustomed to being “on.”

Ways to get sensory rest

Creative Rest

Creative rest

When we get into the mundane routine of life, we can feel blah. We are bored with the same old routine. It feels like you are doing the same thing on repeat; you may need a creative break. Creative rest is required to help light up our desires and passions. It wakes up our creativity and brings color back into our lives. It connects us back to ourselves and hobbies and crafts we forgot about or do not make time for. 

Ways to get Creative rest

Emotional Rest

Emotional Rest

Many times we get emotionally drained. Emotional exhaustion happens when we give a lot of energy to others by listening, helping, or caring for them. We provide a lot of ourselves to the people around us, which can leave us empty if we are not getting an emotional rest. Being around people who hear you and see you for who you are is emotional rest. 

Ways to get emotional rest

Social Rest

social rest

Social rest can be two things. First, it depends if you are extroverted or introverted. Introverts need alone time to rejuvenate and extroverts need social interactions to feel rejuvenated. It can also depend on your job. When we spend our jobs in isolation, we may seek to go out on weekends to socialize. You might need some time with people after a long week at work or isolation due to sickness. If our jobs require a lot of socializing, we may want to avoid seeing people on the weekend. You know yourself best and will know which social break you need.

Ways to get social rest

Spiritual Rest

Spiritual Rest

When we feel disconnected from humanity and like we are floating, we may need spiritual rest. We can feel like we have no real purpose or meaning, leading to spiritual or disconnected burnout. Our world has a lot of chaos and we can feel powerless to help.

Ways to get spiritual rest

We might not always be able to take a break from life, but we can add pockets of intentional rest to help rejuvenate parts of ourselves. When we know what area we need rest in, we can be more intentional about our time and create rest in areas that we need most, thus helping us rejuvenate more quickly. 

special bonus!

Download a printable version of the 7 Kinds of Rest and have rest options at your fingertips. Happy healing!

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Jennifer MacKinnon

About the Author

Jennifer MacKinnon MA, C.C.C

Jennifer MacKinnon is a Canadian Certified Counsellor.  Throughout her career in the helping profession, Jennifer has supported people from children to seniors with various mental health development concerns through a strength-based approach.

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