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The 7 Types of Rest

When I was teaching, I was speaking to my then-headteacher about misunderstandings or myths around rest, one example was being watching TV on an evening. His response was 'well, I think I feel pretty relaxed' and my question was 'do you think your mind and your body are also relaxed?'.

This completely threw him.

Because what our mind perceives as 'rest' and how our body experiences rest can be two entirely different things. Just because we are 'doing nothing' whilst watching TV does not mean it is restorative for our mind or our body. Our body might be holding a whole lot of stress that we are not even aware of, that we haven't released and many of us don't know how to release.

Rest is essential to our deep health. Did you know that there are 7 ways you can practice rest?

Here you go:

1. Physical Rest

You might think TV was one of these - but nope. I don't just mean sat watching a screen. Physical rest is your body finding the restoration it needs: naps, stretching, sleeping, breathing slowly etc. Other non-sleep deep rest includes yoga nidra and restorative yoga.

2. Cognitive Rest

Basically: a break away from the thinking, rational, logical part of your brain. This might look like taking breaks during your day. It might also look like meditation, journalling, stepping away from screens, getting outside etc.

3. Social Rest

Spending time with people that fill you up, that you can be yourself with. It doesn't (just) mean spending time by yourself, but also being around people who support you, understanding you and give you energy.

4. Spiritual Rest

This could mean many, many things. In short, it's a way of connecting to something that's bigger than you, or your feeling of purpose. It might mean praying, meditating, or self-enquiry.

5. Emotional Rest

Emotional rest is about expressing yourself. Practicing saying no, setting boundaries and making a decision that's right for you. It might also be processing your emotions in a healthy way.

6. Sensory Rest

This type of rest is about decreasing the amount of stimuli we are exposed to. That means noise, screens, notifications, and everything we say. Sensory rest can be wearing your comfiest clothes, wrapping yourself in a blanket, using noise-cancelling headphones, listing to calming music, closing your eyes,

7. Creative Rest

You may not connect with this feeling in yourself, but everyone is creative. That doesn't have to mean art, it means exploring your creativity in a way that suits you: daydreaming, making something, learning a new skill, getting out in nature etc. If you shook off the story of 'I am not creative', what might you let yourself do?

Which type of rest intrigues you the most? And which could you try a little more of this week?

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