Wellness Resources

Rethinking Rest: Beyond Sleep

Rethinking Rest: Beyond Sleep

In our modern world, the pursuit of success often leads us down a path of relentless busyness, leaving little room for what may seem like an inconvenient interruption—rest. However, the true essence of rest extends far beyond simply catching up on sleep. Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, a distinguished expert in the topic of rest, has introduced a multi-dimensional approach to rest, encompassing seven distinct realms that contribute to our well-being.

When we delve into the realms of rest, it becomes evident that the standard eight hours of sleep only scratches the surface. Let’s take a moment to reframe and take a closer look at seven forms of rest, each uniquely essential to us as whole human beings:

  1. Physical Rest: For those in physically demanding industries, such as construction or healthcare, physical rest should involve sleep but also restorative activities like stretching, yoga, or even treating yourself to a massage.
  2. Mental Rest: Attending meetings and making decisions all day can lead to mental fatigue and racing thoughts at night. Deliberately incorporating moments of mental rest, such as short meditation breaks, mind-clearing walks, journaling or purposeful daydreaming, can restore your cognitive edge.
  3. Emotional Rest: Industries like customer service or counseling often entail emotional labor. To prevent emotional burnout, allocate time for self-reflection, authentically share your feelings with others, or establish boundaries that shield you from excessive emotional exertion.
  4. Spiritual Rest: Our body and mind yearn for spiritual rest—a connection with something beyond our immediate selves. Spiritual rest goes beyond the ordinary, allowing us to tap into a deeper sense of purpose and meaning. This can be through prayer, meditation, volunteering or spending time in nature.
  5. Social Rest: We are created for human connection. The type of rest we need in this area depends on if your work day is spent in isolation or filled with social interactions along with knowing if you are inclined towards being introverted or extroverted. Tailor your social rest accordingly: look for micro-moments of solitude and selective socializing, or meet a friend for a regular coffee chat or join a local interest group.
  6. Sensory Rest: We are constantly bombarded with sensory stimuli, from screens, lights, noise and pop-up ads. Create sensory sanctuaries in your environment—quiet spaces, soothing scents, or noise-canceling headphones—to recharge your senses.
  7. Creative Rest: Regardless of what professional we are in creativity is important. Engaging in activities to engage your sense of whimsy and wonder by going outside, playing a game or dip your toes into a new hobby—painting, gardening or playing an instrument,

Now, the question arises: how can you discern which form of rest you truly need? The journey toward self-awareness begins with intentional introspection:

  1. Daily Reflection: Dedicate a few minutes each day to reflect on your energy levels across the seven dimensions. Gauge where you feel depleted or overextended, and consider activities that could restore balance.
  2. Journaling: Maintain a rest journal or send a text to yourself, noting how you feel after engaging in various restorative activities. Over time, patterns will emerge, guiding you toward the types of rest that yield the most profound benefits.
  3. Body Signals: Pay attention to your body's cues—aches, fatigue, or even enthusiasm. These physical manifestations often reveal the type of rest your body is craving.
  4. Feedback Loop: Engage with colleagues, friends, or family to gain insights into your rest needs. They might notice signs of fatigue or imbalances that you overlook.

As you explore your own rhythm of rest, remember that sustainable leadership doesn't emerge from ceaseless hustle. It requires understanding your unique needs, recognizing what restores you, and integrating it into your life. By weaving rest into your days and weeks, you amplify your well-being and set an inspiring example for those you lead.

As you navigate your unique rest profile, consider partnering with a Forte Guide to explore what meaningful rest looks like in your life.