There Are 7 Types of Rest, According to a Therapist — It's More Than Physical and Mental

It's important to take time to rest, and Tasha Bailey, MBACP, a trauma and creative counselor in the United Kingdom, wants to remind you that there are several forms of rest to focus on — and that we need them all. She lists seven types, including a few you're most likely familiar with and some you may not have heard of before: physical, mental, emotional, social, creative, sensory, and spiritual. She credits Saundra Dalton-Smith, MD, who laid out these classifications in her book Sacred Rest.

"The society we live in, especially now, demands us to be switched on and available all of the time," Bailey told POPSUGAR. "This has a huge impact on our brains and bodies, and without sufficient rest, we will eventually burn out." She further said that she believes sensory rest is oftentimes overlooked. For instance, we tend to use social media and streaming sites like Netflix as a source of escape from our daily lives, she explained, but we don't realize that "we are giving our minds even more stimuli to process." We require rest from that stimuli to give space for inner reflection, she said.

Additionally, Bailey noted that spiritual rest can be one of the types of rest easily forgotten "because we so frequently link spirituality to religion, which might not fit for everyone. But spiritual rest is about realigning yourself to your purpose and mission on Earth, whatever that may be."

You can click through Bailey's infographic above or keep reading for her breakdown of what each type of rest is and how they can be achieved. We added some tangible tips as well.

Physical Rest

Physical rest is exactly how it sounds. It means, Bailey wrote, "ensuring the body can recharge by allowing it to slow down and repair." This could mean going to bed earlier, taking naps when need be, doing yoga, or making time for restful lunch breaks. Check out these 11 yoga poses for soothing stress or even try this 20-minute bed yoga sequence.

Mental Rest

Again, this is exactly how it sounds. Bailey stressed the importance of recharging mentally when it's difficult to concentrate or we feel as though our observations are hypercritical and judgmental. Examples she gave are unplugging from your devices (think: TV and phone), trying affirmations, or putting on music. Here's how to use bridge statements to promote positive self-talk. As for music, you can consider listening to some calming playlists.

Emotional Rest

Emotional rest means "offloading emotional baggage" and sharing your emotions with someone else who's willing to listen. That could be, Bailey indicated, a therapist, close friend, or support group. Here are some resources that might be helpful:

Social Rest

Social rest means "restoring ourselves through connecting with our tribe and mentors," Bailey wrote, but it can also mean just reconnecting with yourself specifically. Here are 50 ways to feel better about yourself right now. And, as for connecting with friends, one person wrote for POPSUGAR that she rekindled a friendship with someone she used to be close with — read her experience and apply that to your life if need be. Plus, remember that you can find connection even when being physically distant from others.

Creative Rest

Taking breaks from creativity in order to keep ourselves energized and find more inspiration is important. Bailey suggests removing ourselves from our own creativity and turning to the creativity of others: read a good book, go for a walk in nature, or look at artwork. One POPSUGAR contributor said cleaning her living space has deemed useful in decluttering her mind — maybe you can try that too. Here are some new romance novels and some YA books as well. (You might also want to consider audiobooks.)

Sensory Rest

"Retreating from sensory overload by reconnecting with yourself," Bailey described, is crucial. Some of the same tactics mentioned previously work for this: turning off your devices, getting fresh air, and journaling. If you haven't journaled before, check out these therapist tips for how to start. Interested getting some movement in outdoors? Try this HIIT running workout or a hill interval workout for running or walking. Interested in hiking? Read up on how to make your next hike easier on your joints.

Spiritual Rest

Spiritual rest is the last form of rest highlighted by Bailey. "We need this to feel anchored and realigned with our sense of purpose and harmony," she wrote. You can read scriptures or philosophy writings, go out and volunteer, or meditate. These guided meditations might work well for you, and check out a 30-minute restorative yoga flow and meditation session from Class FitSugar below.

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