A common myth among workers in America is that employees who take time to rest aren’t as productive as those who don’t. The opposite is true; those who rest are more creative and more productive than those who work themselves to the point of burnout.
Rest is essential for our mental and physical health. Taking time off work provides a host of psychological and physical health benefits. Rest reduces depression, encourages better sleep habits, and reduces heart disease and mortality. Our bodies and brains appreciate the pause, and considering one’s well-being and productivity will pay dividends.
While we think rest is just catching up on sleep or binge-watching a Netflix series on the couch, there are seven different types of rest you can engage in to feel rested and recharged: physical rest, mental rest, sensory rest, creative rest, emotional rest, social rest, and spiritual rest.
Physical rest is the most common type of rest, which most of us think of when we refer to “rest.” But, there are two types of physical rest: passive and active. Passive rest includes sleeping or napping. This is your binge-watching, bed-rotting type or rest. Conversely, active rest is doing restorative and low-impact activities like yoga or stretching to improve the body's circulation and flexibility.
Many of us struggle with racing thoughts and an “always on” brain, which can cause exhaustion and burnout. If you can relate, chances are you have a mental rest deficit. The good news is that you don’t have to take time off for mental rest. Mental rest reminds you to slow down and give your mind a break. To practice mental rest, try taking short breaks throughout the day or keeping a notepad at arm's reach to jot down any nagging thoughts. The key here is to give your mind a break so you can turn off your brain and empty your thoughts.
Blue light from screens, background noise, and bright lights can cause our senses to feel overwhelmed and overstimulated. If that’s the case, you might benefit from sensory rest or sensory deprivation. Sensory rest can be as simple as closing your eyes for a minute in the middle of the day, turning off the background noise, or unplugging from electronics before bed. This gives your mind and body a chance to reset before returning to a high-sensory situation.
If you have difficulty finding the solution to a nagging problem, you may benefit from some creative rest. Creative rest awakens the wonder and allows us to see things in a new light. That’s why the best ideas come to us when we are doing something else unrelated to the task at hand. The best way to conduct creative rest is to allow yourself to get bored. Being bored relaxes your mind and gives you the mental space to solve problems. Additionally, taking in the beauty of the outdoors or enjoying the arts can also help awaken the creative and innovative ideas inside you.
People pleasers can benefit the most from emotional rest. Emotional rest gives us the time and space to freely express our feelings without feeling pressured to people please. It requires courage to be authentic and truthful about your feelings. Emotional rest allows us to be honest about our feelings instead of giving a reluctant answer we think the other person wants to hear.
Has someone ever told you they needed to “charge their social battery”? If so, they might need some social rest. We all have relationships that fuel us and relationships that drain us. Additionally, how we engage in social rest depends on whether we identify as extroverts or introverts. If you’re introverted, social rest might look like taking some time to stay home and recharge so you feel ready to be around people again. If you’re extroverted, social rest might mean surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people who energize you.
The last type of rest you can engage in is spiritual rest. Spiritual rest connects beyond physical and mental rest to feel a deep sense of belonging, love, acceptance, and purpose. Practicing this type of rest means engaging in something greater than yourself, whether prayer, meditation, gratitude, or community service.
We could all benefit from some rest, not just for our health but for our work output. Take time to engage in one of these forms of rest today to bring your best self to work. Download our ebook to learn how to create a positive PTO culture that allows employees to build in more time for rest.
Published on Dec 18, 2023 by Marketing