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How to Recover from Burnout? (Part 3: Seven Types of Rest You Need)

Do you get "enough" sleep and still feel tired? Today, we're chatting about rest as an *integral* ingredient to life in general and burnout recovery specifically. Check out previous articles for Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, which explore the first three ingredients of the list below:


  1. Don't believe the part of you that says that you're a failure for not being able to "get it together" or "get over it"

  2. Believe your body when it tells you that there needs to be another way

  3. Ask for help

  4. Practice different types of rest and encourage others to practice different types of rest with you

  5. Add joy


4. Practice different types of rest and encourage others to practice different types of rest with you


Consider: what type of tired (or exhausted) are you and how do you rest accordingly? According to Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, every person needs 7 different types of rest. I 10/10 invite you to check out this 9 minute Ted talk where she describes each one and how we might tap into them. Yes, sleep is important *and* Dr. Dalton-Smith explains that "rest should equal restoration in seven key areas of your life". The article and Ted Talk include:


1. Physical rest: engaging in passive physical rest (through sleep) or active (through movement)

2. Mental rest: using pre-planned breaks to remind you to slow down

3. Sensory rest: taking intentional moments of sensory deprivation

4. Creative rest: reawakening your sense of awe and wonder

5. Emotional rest: having time and space to freely express your feelings

6. Social rest: engaging in relationships that revive you

7. Spiritual rest: connecting with something greater than yourself I invite you to ask yourself 3 key questions:


a) What's the type of rest I need?

b) How does this need show up for me?

c) Based on these signs, what type of recovery do I need to engage in?


The idea here is to get familiar enough with our own cues that we can sprinkle these types of rest throughout our days to consistently replenish our batteries before we're running on fumes. *And* that we invite those around us to notice what they need and how we can act accordingly to support each other's wellbeing. Here are some personal examples to help illustrate the 7 types of rest:

1. Need for physical rest: for me, fatigue around the eyes is a telltale sign that I need a 'body break' aka a nap, food, water, and/or a solid recharge night of sleep.


2. Need for mental rest: shows up as hitting a wall with whatever thinking task I'm trying to accomplish. That signals a need for a 'brain break'. This means letting my body do something "mindless" like watering my plants, doing the dishes, and/or going for a walk.


3. Need for sensory rest: sensory overload shows up as being easily overwhelmed or feeling distracted by just about anything. That means that I need to take 20 minutes of 'Paws Time', as a friend named it, of literally staring up at the roof in absolute silence while hanging out with my cat to recalibrate.


4. Need for emotional rest: for me, it shows up as irritability and frustration. I need to tap into comedy podcasts, step away from the stressor, and/or dance out the stress with a 5 min 'dance break'.


5. Need for creative rest: shows up as black and white thinking, cynicism, and a hyper-focus on the negative. This means I need to get back to my Morning Pages journaling, listen to my favourite songs on repeat, watch delightful shows/movies, support friends' art, and/or listen to an audiobook that brings a new reality into my life.


6. Need for social rest: for me, it shows up as sadness and/or anxiety. This means I need a solid hang out with my best friends asap. To me, what's restful about that time is the ease of connection that comes with people who you know and know you deeply.


7. Need for spiritual rest: shows up as hopelessness. That means that I need to tap into evidence that the world is also full of wonder and that there's more to this life than the dreadful. That sounds like belly laughs with dear ones, looks like walks through my favourite park, and feels like taking a couple of minutes to do a body scan.


Want to tap into several types of rest in just 45 minutes? Join us for Yoga for Joy online on Saturdays at 11 am EST.

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