Mindfulness, Workplace Wellbeing

Sleep And Rest Are Not The Same

Every activity you do requires energy, a lot of which is not physical. Yet whenever we feel tired we think we need more sleep.

Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith presents the idea that humans need equal restoration in seven key areas of their lives:

  1. Physical rest can be passive (sleeping or napping) or active (restorative activities such as yoga, stretching and massage therapy). 
  1. Mental rest requires putting your technology to work and scheduling regular breaks throughout the day to pause and slow down.
  1. Sensory rest involves intentional moments of sensory deprivation such as closing your eyes for a minute in the middle of the day and unplugging from devices at the end of every day. 
  1. Creative rest isn’t just about appreciating the beauty of nature, it’s about time spent enjoying creative pursuits (e.g. painting, colouring, origami).  This type of rest is especially important for anyone who must solve problems or brainstorm new ideas.
  1. Emotional rest involves taking a break from others, in particular people pleasing activities and finding the courage to be authentic and share your experiences openly with others.  If you’re in need of emotional rest, you probably have a social rest deficit too.
  1. Social rest doesn’t mean pausing interaction, rather considering each relationship to ensure it revives us rather than exhausts us.
  1. Spiritual rest involves connecting beyond the mental and physical to find a deep sense of belonging and acceptance.  Some may enjoy finding a greater purpose through yoga, prayer or community involvement.

Now that you’ve identified where you are using the most energy and what type of rest you need, it’s time to put it into practice and join the rest revolution.

This post was adapted from Dr Saundra Dalton-Smith’s TEDxAtlanta Talk.  Watch it here.