Improve your mental health by finding out what rest you need

When you’re feeling rundown, we simply assume a sleep-in or afternoon power nap would be the solution. But have you ever tried this and woken up only to feel 100 times worse? As if you’re agitated, moodier and in fact, even more tired?

Well apparently, there’s an actual reason for this.

Shutting your brain off when you’re sleeping can provide you with some rest, but there are actually six other forms of rest that helps us function as humans.

In her book Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore You Sanity, internal physician Saundra Dalton-Smith, MD., notes rest and sleep are not mutually exclusive and humans need physical, mental, social, creative, emotional, spiritual and sensory rest to thrive.

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According to the Well+Good team, the seven types of rest are as follows:

1. Physical

What: Resting to relieve the body of physical stress such as lack of sleep, headaches and muscle tension.

How to rest: A sleep-in, skipping that HIIT class for a yoga session, taking deep breaths during the work day.

2. Mental

What: Resting to silence your anxious mind.

How to rest: Turn off all screens, meditate, closing your eyes and repeating a calming mantra.

3. Social

What: Resting to recognise which relationships need replenishing, and cut ties with toxic ones.

How to rest: Catching up with an old friend who understands you, or taking a night off from socialising all together.

4. Creative

What: Resting to allow for beauty to inspire and motivate.

How to rest: Going for a walk outdoor, reading a book.

5. Emotional

What: Resting so you’ll be able to express genuine feelings.

How to rest: Talking to a therapist or friends and family members who you can be 100% yourself.

6. Spiritual

What: Resting to tune into your spiritual beliefs.

How to rest: Volunteering, talking to a friend about current events.

7. Sensory

What: Resting to decrease receptive input received from devices, noise and so on.

How to rest: Reading a book, catching up with a long-time friend you trust.

Which brings us to the next step: identifying what rest you’re missing.

“For a lot of people, if you have a deficit in an area, you’re likely to experience specific symptoms,” Dalton-Smith tells Shine in an interview. “If your deficit is in mental rest, you might have trouble with concentration. If you have an emotional deficit, you may find you’re snapping at your spouse and they haven’t done anything. If you have a sensory rest deficit, maybe you used to love 4th of July fireworks, but now you’re jumping out of your skin, or you’re chronically anxious when getting out of the car.”

To help you ID which part of your life needs a little TLC, Dalton-Smith has created an online quiz you can take here, that forces you to dig deep into your emotions. Like really deep.

Happy resting!