Ah, the witching hour. That window of time in the evening when us parents…
I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m forever chasing more rest. Life is busy, sure, and you guys know that I’m big on rest as a form of self-care. But sometimes, even with rest scheduled into my day, even when I’m in bed early and get a solid eight hours of sleep, I’m still tired.
What’s up with that?
I recently discovered the work of Dr Saundra Dalton-Smith, a US physician and author who has identified the seven types of rest we need in order to function at our best, and honestly, it was a revelation.
Dr Dalton-Smith’s key message is that sleep and rest are not the same thing.
Of course, it seems obvious when you think about it, but in our very literal, task-oriented lives, with children to care for, bills to be paid, households to run, events to attend, people to see, it’s easy to forget that sleep is only one part of the rest equation.
She identifies the seven types of rest as: physical; mental; social; spiritual; sensory; emotional; creative.
(If you’d like to read more about the characteristics of each type of rest, this article is great.)
So, how can busy, modern women like us incorporate the seven types of rest into our daily lives? Well, I’ve learned it doesn’t have to be all at once, but we can start by identifying what type of rest we need each day and change it up accordingly. Small changes can have a big impact.
Physical rest: Go to bed at a time that will allow for adequate sleep (set a reminder on your phone if you have trouble keeping track of time in the evening); stretch before bed; relax your muscles in a warm bath; ensure you take breaks when doing physical work/activities; switch up daily workouts so different muscle groups get a break (and listen to your body if it tells you it needs a day off); have a massage; invest in a good-quality mattress or mattress topper, pillows and bedding.
Mental rest: Meditation (my favourite app is Insight Timer; or you can check out my blog on how to get started with meditation and my free downloadable meditation schedule to get going on your mindfulness journey); journal or ‘brain dump’ into your planner; listen to calming music or ASMR sounds that will help you switch off your busy thoughts; find a hobby that allows you to singularly focus (such as paint by numbers, cross-stitch, gardening, etc.).
Social rest: Switch off or silence notifications so you choose when you engage with others; arrange for some alone time at home, with no kids or partners asking anything of you; go out for a coffee on your own; take a day off work for no other reason than to just be; say no to invitations you really don’t want to attend; go for a walk with a friend whose company uplifts you.
Spiritual rest: Practice gratitude by making a list or identifying something you are grateful for every day; repeat positive affirmations in the mirror; leave notes for yourself around the house (e.g. you are doing a great job on the fridge; your work matters in your desk drawer; the world needs what you’ve got on your bedside table).
Sensory rest: Dim the brightness of your phone and computer screen; put your phone on silent intermittently throughout the day; implement quiet time for the kids before bed (no screens, dim lights, quiet reading or colouring); wear noise-cancelling headphones when you need to focus; wear a sleep mask.
Emotional rest: Let it all out with a good cry; watch your favourite comfort film; read a feel-good novel; mute group chats that are devolving into gossip and drama; temporarily avoid people or situations that heighten your emotions; have a long hug with someone you love.
Creative rest: Spend time in nature; turn on music and dance like nobody’s watching; use your planner to relieve the burden of ‘remembering everything’; devise a weekly meal plan to eliminate the nightly ‘what are we going to have for dinner’ debacle; binge-watch a great series; listen to a podcast.
I’d love to hear what your go-to rest techniques are. Tag me on socials, let’s nail this rest thing together!
For weekly tips & freebies make sure you’re in my FB community and Steph Pase Planners Communtiy!