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  • Writer's pictureRosie Nicholas

The different types of rest, and why they're all important

Ahh, rest. That old friend you hardly see anymore, and when you do, it's never for long enough and you're always left wanting more. What if I told you there were different types of rest, and instead of feeling overwhelmed by choice, knowing what they are could actually help you work out what you really need at different times?

The dictionary defines rest as "to cease work or movement in order to relax, sleep, or recover strength". Which sounds lovely, but often when I'm presented with rare time to myself, I don't know what's best for me in the moment, or even where to start. Then follows the inevitable guilt when times up and I question whether I've used those precious moments as best I should (there's that s word again...).

The author and physician Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith has identified seven different types of rest. These categorisations can be immensely helpful in allowing us to tune in, discover what our mind and body actually needs, and then be able to give ourselves exactly that. Especially because, as busy mums, we never have that long anyway. By using the guide below, I hope you're able to maximise the time you have to rest, and use it as a radical act of self-care.

1. Physical Rest

Do this: Gentle movement (walking, stretching, yoga), take a nap, use a massage gun, go to bed at the same time every night, try a mindfulness technique before you go to sleep.

2. Mental Rest

Do this: Allocate a set amount of time in the day for worrying, jot down anything that comes to mind to think about it at that time only; move your body, meditate, listen to music, dance.

3. Sensory Rest

Do this: Remove your phone from the bedroom at night, limit screen time, turn off notifications, make your environment as quiet as possible (when the kid/s are in bed!), dim the lights, seek silence.

4. Creative Rest

Do this: Create a mood board with magazine cuttings, read a book (that isn't to do with parenting!), get out in nature, play an instrument, craft, cook, bake.

5. Emotional Rest

Do this: Hold your boundaries, connect only with people who fill your cup (and not those who drain it), put your needs first (it isn't selfish), book a date night, talk with friends or a professional.

6. Social Rest

Do this: Spend quality time with loved ones, say no to the next social engagement that fills you with dread, make space in your diary.

7. Spiritual Rest

Do this: Meditate, chant, sing or listen to spiritual music such as mantra or hymns, journal, visit a religious or historical building that reminds you of the bigger picture, spend time in nature.

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