Beating Burnout – the 7 types of rest we all need!

If you’re feeling physically + mentally exhausted no matter how much sleep you get, or feel cranky, apathetic, and drained, this one’s for you!

And trust me, I’ve been there – I used to wake up feeling just as tired as when I went to bed, wondering how it’s possibly when I just got a solid 8 hours of rest. That is, until I learned that there are actually SEVEN types of rest we need in order to feel our best, and sleep alone just wasn’t cutting it!

1 – Physical Rest 

This covers sleep/napping, which are more “passive” forms of physical rest, but massages, foam rolling, stretching etc that care for your body physically also fall into this category.

You’ll know if you need more physical rest if you notice you’re more physically tired such as sore muscles, low energy, or poor muscle recovery.

2 – Mental Rest 

This is all about switching your brain off – which means, if you think you’re resting by sitting and watching tv in the evening, but you’re feeling immense guilt for doing so, or stressing about your to do list, it’s not actually very restful! Things that help you get sufficient mental rest would be time away from your phone, meditation, listening to music, or taking short brain breaks throughout the day.

If you’re lacking in this type of rest, you may notice increased anxiety, overwhelm, rumination, or difficulty in switching your brain off, particularly in the evenings, or feeling “wired” when trying to go to sleep.

3 – Emotional Rest 

So many of us are so incredibly burnt out after entering a global pandemic paired with the current housing/cost of living crisis and possible recession – we’re bombarded with heaviness every time we watch the news, and can be incredibly draining.

To get more emotional rest, you might need to work on really *feeling your feelings*. Talking to your loved ones, journalling out what you’re feeling, or seeking therapy to get help in processing your emotions.

You might get a sense of needing emotional rest when you’re feeling a sense of apathy or compassion fatigue. For example, constantly worrying, or doing emotionally labour-intensive work (such as working as a therapist, nurse, paramedic, or social worker) without recharging, and feeling either emotionally “empty”, dissociative, or disinterested. Put simply, you can’t pour from an empty cup, and you’ve been pouring out to others until the very last drop, so it’s time to fill up!

4 – Spiritual Rest 

This does include prayer and attending church, but doesn’t have to be religious – spiritual rest is about taking a step back from the rat-race of life, and connecting to something greater than yourself, to feel a sense of purpose and connection. 

This could be having a shared experience at a concert, walking out in nature without technology, or some element of community involvement.

5 – Social Rest 

You might feel a little “people’d out” from time to time, when your social battery is drained. But social rest can be a hard one to juggle – too much social contact can be exhausting and draining, but too little can feel isolating and lonely, so it’s important to find the sweet spot for you.

Being proactive about seeking connection when needed will help get the connection you need, but setting healthy boundaries around saying no to things when you’re tired or need some solo time is important too!

6 – Sensory Rest 

This is a huuuuge one for me as someone who lives with ADHD – I experience a lot of sensory overwhelm particularly after staring at a screen all day, so in the evenings it’s really important for me to have some time in the dark, turning all the lights off or using soft lighting such as lamps and candles to give my eyes and senses some time to reset.

Noise can also be a trigger for those with sensory sensitivities, so noise cancelling headphones or earplugs can be great to keep handy – I take my Loop earplugs with me if I’m going anywhere loud and busy such as shopping centres, and even sometimes use them around the house if I just want to drown out the background noise of cars passing, dogs barking etc. It’s nice to have some time in a little sensory bubble if you do feel this type of overwhelm!

7 – Creative Rest 

This is another form of more “active” rest – doing creative activities that feel restorative and re-invigorating, for your own enjoyment, not for the purpose of producing! Do some childlike, nostalgic activities, random crafts you’ve seen on Pinterest, or even things like cooking and creating a new recipe!

Personally, if I’m experiencing burnout, creativity is one of the first things I notice declining, so it’s a great check engine light for me to gauge if I’m starting to exhaust myself or just need some time to re-fill that cup.

It’s important to note that you don’t need to be ticking off all seven types of rest, all the time. But it’s great to get to know what elements you might be lacking, or things to look out for, so that when you are experiencing any negative elements as a result of living in this crazy-busy world we’re in, you know what kind of restorative action you need to help you feel like yourself again!

Need help curating a self-care action plan to help navigate stress, anxiety or burnout? Click below to book a free consultation so we can chat about how I can help!

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