In our fast-paced world, energy is a coveted resource that often eludes us. Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, an internal medicine physician and author of “Sacred Rest,” emphasizes that the key to replenishing our energy lies in rest, not just sleep.
Rest, she explains, encompasses various rejuvenating activities that help us recharge throughout the day and combat burnout caused by our relentless schedules and digital distractions.
Dr. Dalton-Smith’s research highlights a widespread rest deficit in our society, exacerbated by our constant busyness and the mounting stress from global uncertainties like COVID-19.
To counter this, she underscores the importance of understanding and nurturing different types of rest, each tailored to address specific energy depletions.
Here are the seven types of rests Dr. Dalton-Smith identifies:
- Creative Rest: Engaging with inspiring activities like nature and art.
- Mental Rest: Quieting the mind and focusing on what truly matters.
- Physical Rest: Alleviating muscle tension and improving sleep quality.
- Social Rest: Spending time with cherished relationships that enrich our lives.
- Emotional Rest: Expressing our deepest feelings and being authentic.
- Sensory Rest: Seeking respite from background noise, digital devices, and negative self-talk.
- Spiritual Rest: Connecting with something larger than ourselves, finding belonging and purpose.
Dr. Dalton-Smith emphasizes that the rest we need varies from person to person, depending on the specific energy pools we regularly deplete.
To determine your unique rest deficit, she offers an online Rest Quiz.
Once you identify the types of rest you lack, it’s time to take action.
For example, if you find yourself needing more creative rest, Dr. Dalton-Smith suggests simple adjustments like using an image of a serene beach as your screensaver to evoke feelings of rejuvenation.
These small changes can have a profound impact on your well-being.
To maintain a consistent recharge, she advises integrating restful activities throughout your day:
- Mental Rest: Practice meditation or engage in repetitive activities that allow your mind to relax, such as running.
- Physical Rest: Incorporate gentle movements like stretching, restorative yoga, or a leisurely walk to relieve physical tension.
- Emotional and Social Rest: Be open and honest about your feelings with trusted friends, family, or a counselor to reduce emotional stress.
- Sensory Rest: Create moments of silence by turning off distractions and ensuring your sleeping environment is calm and dark.
- Creative Rest: Immerse yourself in nature or engage with inspiring art forms that spark creativity.
Additionally, Dr. Dalton-Smith recommends two strategies for maintaining productivity while preserving your energy:
- Take Regular Breaks: Implement “flow-break cycles,” where you work intently for an hour or two, then step away from your screen to stretch, walk, or hydrate. This practice can reenergize you mentally, creatively, and physically.
- Turn Off Notifications: Limit notifications to essential texts and calls, as constant digital interruptions trigger stress. Consider time-blocking for email management to reduce the frequency of alerts and maintain focus.