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  • Writer's pictureAlex Young

How to avoid burnout by practising 7 types of rest

Personal Development specialist, Ben Meer, recently published a series of tweets all about rest which went viral. We delved into his thread and have complied the info you need to be able to understand what types of rest you need more of in your life right now. We’re so often told to simply rest if we’re feeling like we’re burning out but have you ever wondered what that actually means? Where do you start and how do you know if you’re resting in the way you actually need to?

There are actually 7 types of rest, according to Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith. Let’s delve into what these are so we can ensure that we stay at our best!

01. Physical Rest

Usually, physical rest is what we think of first when trying to unwind. Lack of sleep and overtraining deplete our body's energy.

There are two types of physical rest that we need, passive and active:


• Sleep 7+ hrs every night

• Take power naps (as needed)


• Stretch

• Get a massage

• Use an ergonomic chair + desk

02. Mental Rest

Ben states that ‘mental rest deficit is caused by overtaxing your thinking’. Here is how you can counteract this:

• Write down all of your to-dos

• Use checklists, referring back to them (for packing, for food shopping, etc.)

• Create a routine to mark the end of your working day

• Take a break from problem-solving as and when you need, you’ll come back better for it

• Meditate, this can be done however you find works for you personally, all you need to try to do is notice your thoughts - simply notice them

03. Social Rest

Now this is a big one and can feel extremely hard to do but it’s important that you evaluate your relationships.

• Spend more time with people who give you energy

• Spend less time with people who take away from your energy

• Do not underestimate the power of blocking out time to be alone

04. Spiritual Rest

Being part of something bigger than yourself is fulfilling in a way which is hard to describe, here are some ideas on how you can experience this:

• Volunteer

• Work on tasks that feel purpose-driven

• Participate in faith-based activities if they are aligned to your belief system

05. Sensory Rest

It’s not up for negotiation, the modern individual is overstimulated.

• Take a break from social media, even if it’s just for a few hours. See if you can work yourself up to a day off a week, the clarity you feel will be incredible

• Turn off notifications whenever possible, you can also use the Do Not Disturb function

• Limit video meetings, see if you can schedule calls where you can go for a walk instead

• Set a relaxing evening ambiance (soothing music, candles, etc.)

06. Emotional Rest

Ben writes that ‘emotional rest deficit occurs when you feel like you can't be authentic’. Reading that for the first time might have you questioning whether you experience that. Some of us have become so accustomed to it that it’s hard to recognise.

A good example is for anyone working in a customer facing role. If you feel you must always smile at work, despite rudeness you experience, you may well get to the end of the day and feel completely exhausted.

• Spend time with people you can be authentic around

• If you feel you need to then try speaking with a therapist to help you release the emotional labor you’re experiencing

07. Creative Rest

Finally, our favourite one: creative rest. To participate, all you have to do is appreciate beauty in any form, whether natural or human-created:


• Take in a sunrise or sunset

• Go for a walk in nature


• Visit a museum or art festival

• Engage with inspiring music, books, documentaries, etc.

Dr. Dalton-Smith recommends starting with your 1-2 biggest rest deficits. Then, over time, you can create daily and weekly habits to get all 7 into your regular routine.

Take her Rest Quiz here to figure out where to start.

It’ll always be easier to focus on what you love to do when you feel your best.


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