Let's talk about something that we all need, but can often be lacking in our busy and demanding lives: rest. Did you know that there are six different types of rest that we need to truly recharge and feel rejuvenated? So if you feel like your sleep is pretty good but you're still feeling fatigued, (providing everything else is ok medically) you might be lacking rest in one or more of these areas.
Physical rest is essential for our bodies to repair and recover after a tough gym or dynamic yoga session. When we push ourselves too hard without giving our bodies enough rest, we risk injury, burnout, and exhaustion. Physically resting can include activities like taking a warm bath, getting a massage or Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep). It's important to listen to our bodies and give them the rest they need.
In our fast-paced, always-on world, mental rest can be hard to achieve. Our brains need downtime to process and recharge, and without it, we can feel overwhelmed, anxious, and stressed. Mental rest can include activities like reading a book, taking a break from social media, practicing meditation or deep breathing exercises, or simply finding a quiet space to relax and unwind. Occasionally disconnecting from technology or setting boundaries around it's usage is a great way to unplug mentally and bring awareness back to our surroundings.
Emotions can be exhausting, and we need to give ourselves time and space to process and release them in a healthy way. Emotional rest can include activities like talking to a trusted friend or therapist, journaling, practicing self-care activities that make us feel good, or simply allowing ourselves to feel our emotions without judgment or shame. It's common for emotions to arise during or after our yoga practice since it's a quiet part of the day that allows us to check in, internally. Give yourself space post-practice to feel and process what comes up for you.
Our senses can be overstimulated by the constant noise, light, and activity of modern life. Sensory rest is all about reducing or eliminating external stimulation to give our senses a break. This can include activities like meditating, taking a break from screens, or spending time in a quiet and peaceful environment. Savasana with an eye mask or meditating in darkened space can help shut out external sensory distractions.
Creativity can be a powerful force, but it can also be draining if we don't give ourselves time to recharge. Creative rest can include activities like engaging in a hobby we enjoy, experimenting with something new, or simply taking a break from work and deadlines to allow our minds to wander and explore. If you have a regular creative outlet, taking time away from it to pursue other hobbies and passions is also essential from time to time to allow for fresh inspiration to emerge.
Finally, spiritual rest is all about connecting with our inner selves and something greater than ourselves. This can include activities like meditation, spending time in nature, practicing a spiritual or religious ritual that resonates with us, or simply taking time to reflect on our values, beliefs, and purpose in life.
By recognising the different types of rest we need and taking actionable steps to rest in each area of life, we can feel more refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to take on whatever comes our way. Remember, rest is not a luxury but a necessity for our overall health and wellbeing.