Feeling Drained? Discover How These 7 Kinds of Rest Can Revitalize You

Between work, social, and family life, there isn’t usually much time left for real, restorative rest. Some of us spend most of the time just trying to keep everything together. While we might recharge here and there, it's challenging to achieve that deep sense of rejuvenation. We often look at breaks as a reaction to stress, when in reality, we can use them as prevention. In this article, we’ll cover seven different types of rest we all need, delve into why it’s so important, and explore how to make it a part of your daily life.

How to rest: 7 types of rest

If you’re ready to hit the reset button on your energy levels, it’s time to dive into these seven types of rest. It’s not just a weekend in pajamas that’s needed — real rest comes in many forms.

mental creative emotional spiritual physical sensory social types of sleep

1. Physical rest

Our bodies need us to rest physically so our cells can spend their energy on recovery. Even athletes have to find a balance between stress and recovery to manage fatigue and improve their overall physical performance. While sleep is essential, you can also take little breaks throughout the day to stretch, lie down, or do a deep rest guided meditation.

2. Mental rest

Just as our muscles need rest to recover, so does our brain. Except, even when we manage to unplug from all the outside noise, our minds often wander through thousands of thoughts. Luckily, we can train ourselves to calm our thoughts and get mental rest through activities like meditation or quiet time in nature. This type of rest can decrease cortisol (stress hormone) and, in turn, improve emotional regulation.

Consider incorporating a few minutes of guided meditation or relaxing music daily to calm your nervous system. Sometimes, we can get so absorbed in something that our brains need a rest from the internal noise.

3. Emotional rest

Even if we can learn to manage our emotions, we still have everyone around us to contend with. That’s why it’s so important to take time away from stressful situations and practice self-care activities that don’t heighten difficult emotions.

Emotional rest lets us calm our nervous system and process our feelings, helping us get a clearer vision of the situation. With this type of rest, we can feel more like our authentic selves, as though we don’t need to hide our feelings.

Try different methods to see what works for you. It could be creating a routine with nature or alone time. Try self-care activities like yoga, dance, cooking, or any other creative work that gets you in the zone. Finally, you can also work on setting boundaries with people or situations that stress you.

4. Sensory rest

Thanks to smartphones and city living, we rarely seem to have a moment’s break from some form of sensory input. Constant stimulation from noise and lights can easily overwhelm our nervous system, making it harder to manage our emotions or thoughts. When we take a rest from environmental distractions, we give ourselves time to reflect internally, which can improve our mental health and cognitive abilities.

Think about ways you can give yourself calm sensory moments throughout the day. For example, time away from the TV and phone, closing your eyes and staying somewhere dark and quiet, taking a bath, or practicing breathwork alone.

5. Creative rest

Even if you think you’re not a creative person, you’re likely always feeling pressured to create and produce something. The demand to be working takes its toll and puts us further away from the state of flow. Creative rest, however, puts you in a state of flow and replenishes your energy. You can give yourself permission to do whatever it is that inspires joy and playfulness.

Disengage from feeling pressured to create, like on weekends, with breaks, and for long vacations. You don’t have to share everything you’re doing on socials or with your friends, you can just be. Feel free to do something that brings you joy, without caring about the end result.

6. Social rest

While we all need a community around us, we also need alone time — which is especially true if you’re feeling drained from over-socializing. Social rest lets us recharge and come back to who we are.

If you’re ready for some social rest but don’t want to be alone, you can focus more on building strong social bonds with just a few close people. Chit-chat and social media can be exhausting, but a meaningful conversation with friends, or even just sitting near them and watching a movie together, can feel comforting and restful.

7. Spiritual rest

Spiritual rest is all about taking the time to nurture your inner self, find meaning, and connect with something greater than yourself. It can promote a greater sense of inner peace and renew your energy to manage life’s stressors.

For some, guided meditations work; for others, it’s time in nature. If you carve out time to feel gratitude or connect with a calming and positive energy, you can understand yourself better. You may be able to prioritize certain activities or goals that align with your values and sense of purpose.

Benefits of rest

There’s no denying the science; rest is essential for overall health. Here are just some of the ways it benefits your well-being:

  • Enhanced cognitive function. Specifically, your memory, concentration, and problem-solving skills can improve.
  • Emotional regulation. It’s much easier to manage your emotions when you’re not constantly at the edge of what you can tolerate.
  • Reduced stress hormones. Restorative rest helps lower cortisol levels, improving overall hormonal regulation.
  • Strengthened immune function. Quality sleep and rest give your body the time it needs to fight infections and recover.
  • Eases burnout, anxiety, and depression. You will likely have more energy to manage stressors and awareness to set boundaries to prevent worsening symptoms.

Signs you need rest

Most of us ignore the telltale signs that we’re physically or emotionally drained. Here’s what to look out for and use as your reason to start getting more rest:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of motivation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Getting sick more often
  • Aches and pains
  • Appetite or sleep changes

How long does it take to feel rested?

We’re all so different, so there’s no way to say how much time you need to feel rested. Plus, how much and what type of rest you need can change drastically depending on the situation you’re in. If you need to overcome total burnout, you might need more rest than if you’ve just had a hard week.

The type and amount of rest you need will always be changing. Experimenting with different types of rest is the best way to discover what works and when. After all, if you’re creatively bored, you might want an exciting adventure, like a trip exploring different villages in a new country. While that’s not physically restful, it can fill you with inspiration and excitement, nourishing your soul.

When to see a professional

If it feels as though nothing is working, consider talking to a professional. When it starts becoming difficult to carry out daily tasks and you don’t know how to make things better, someone on the outside with a more objective view can help. They can advise you on what specifically might work for your lifestyle and needs, and pass on coping tools you can use for the rest of your life.

There’s no shame in feeling burned out or hopeless. We live in a society that glorifies working to the point of exhaustion, where being busy is a badge of honor. We have to take the bold move to reset our priorities and create boundaries to make them happen. If you know you’re not getting the rest you need, try to build a support system that encourages rest. Think of ways to incorporate the different types of rest into your life and prioritize your health and well-being. There’s always a way to add a little bit more rest into your life, even if it’s five minutes of alone time when needed.

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