Are You Getting Seven Kinds of Rest?

In Your Oxygen Mask First, I talk about Resilience Rituals (Chapter 3 Double Your Personal Resilience) that keep you strong and at your best, at work and in life.

Sleep and rest are such an important part of maintaining resilience, so I was intrigued by some recent research by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith. In her book Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity, expands the definition of rest into seven types and talks about how they are absolutely critical to enable you to meet the demands and stresses of work and life – for your energy, creativity and happiness.

Rest deserves respect.

Here are the seven kinds she talks about:

  1. Physical Rest

This comes in two forms:

  • Passive: Sleeping 7+ hours every night and taking power naps
  • Active: Stretching, massage, using an ergonomic chair and desk.
  1. Mental Rest

Give your brain a break from constantly figuring things out:

  • Make lists – things to do and references for packing, groceries, etc.
  • Create shutdown rituals to separate work and life
  1. Social Rest

Be selective with your social time. Spend more with people who give you energy, and less with people who steal it.

And if you’re an introvert, make sure to block out alone-time.

  1. Spiritual Rest

Be part of something bigger than yourself. Volunteer or donate to a charity, work in a purpose-driven job, or participate in faith-based activities (aligned with your belief system).

  1. Sensory Rest

Give your over-stimulated brain a break:

  • Take a Social Media break
  • Turn off sound and visual alerts/notifications
  • Limit video meetings
  • Create a relaxing evening ambiance – low lights, soothing music, candles, etc.
  1. Emotional Rest

Replenish yourself from the emotional toll when you when you feel you can’t be authentic – spend time with friends you can be authentic with, to laugh and have fun, or being still. You may also want to talk to a therapist if you feel overwhelmed.

  1. Creative Rest

Appreciate and participate in beauty in any form:

  • Go for a walk, take in a sunset
  • Visit a museum, gallery, art festival
  • Engage with inspiring books, music or films. 

I am already aware of my need for physical, social and spiritual rest, but I didn’t consider sensory rest. I want to be productive, even in my downtime, so there’s still a lot going on – like when I drive on a highway, I make calls or listen to audio books. To get that sensory rest, I could just enjoy the drive and stay away from the phone and books.

This is not about giving yourself a whole bunch of extra things to do. Think of it as doing something kind for yourself – doing just one thing, can make a huge difference to your resilience.

The Challenge

  • What type of rest would you benefit most from and how can you get it?

Additional Blogs

The Gift of Wellbeing and Resilience

What Makes You Happy?

Taking a Mental Health Break


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