Ep. 99 – Reclaiming Realistic Rest

Hey, are you tired today? Mm, are you kinda tired most days?

Not that you can’t and don’t function very well and get all sorts of things done. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a residue of fatigue that clings to our days. 

In my work, I get to speak to lots of different groups and in the casual conversation before and after the nerdy stuff, a common complaint shared among the super awesome, super busy people is this whispered wish for more…of less. And time to rest. 

The Bottom Line on Top of this episode is that not working (or doing) does not equal real rest.  

Resting is different from restoration. Rest can mean a temporary pause from activities; whereas restoration is an intentional return to a healthier place. In researching this topic, I saw a great definition that said to restore a situation means to cause it to exist again. I love that idea.

I recently got back from a week and a half in Hawaii. The time away allowed space for true restoration. In our go-go days, there is always a timetable that keeps us on track. And, for me, it also means coexisting with the timetable of two active dudes, a rescue dog, and being an entrepreneur. 

So time to myself was an exercise in restoring my own rhythms. Waking up without a clock, getting to do reading or deep work, delicious afternoon naps, eating when I’m really hungry – not just when there was a break in schedules or somebody else wanted to eat. A lot of time what I teach in time and energy management ties in with chronobiology – this is the natural cycle and preferences of our body. However, it can take time to get back to our factory settings, so to speak, and we’re usually working within schedules set by the people and places where we live and work. 

Finding restoration through rest requires intentionality and, in most cases, permission to ourselves to hit that power off button. 

There’s a great quote by American author Anne Lamott that says, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

And there are many ways to unplug and find rest beyond just sleep. Modern wellness guidance outlines seven key forms of rest for a return to overall wellbeing. So in this episode, I’ll walk quickly through each of those seven:

  1. Physical Rest: This is the most known form of rest and centers on giving your body time to recuperate through sleep, relaxation, and breaks from physical exertion. It includes both passive rest (such as sleep) and active rest (such as stretching or gentle movement).
  2. Mental Rest: Mental rest is about giving your mind a break from cognitive tasks and stimuli. This can be through things like meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing exercises, or simply taking breaks from mentally demanding activities. 

    Some days, even routine tasks seem mentally demanding for me. So on the days I am spending a lot of time on technology, I try to follow the 20-20-20 rule – which means taking a visual break from all devices every 20 minutes or so for at least 20 seconds and looking off in the distance of at least 20 feet. It really helps with eye strain and that blue light headache that can come after a whole bunch of digital excess. Do this even when using tech for entertainment, too. It’s a subtle form of stretching the brain and resting the eyes. 
  3. Emotional Rest: Emotional rest is about addressing and managing stress. It doesn’t mean solving all the things that are stressful but minimizing at least one area. This might include spending time with loved ones, enjoying what Episode 98 called “joy bursts” where you find just a couple minutes of play, and fun. Emotional rest can also mean seeking support from a therapist, counselor, or trusted confidant.
  4. Social Rest: Social rest involves nurturing our relationships and social connections. Spending time with friends, family, and in communities brings a sense of belonging. And if you’ve been a little too “peopled out,” social rest can be letting you be a little more introverted until you are ready to interact with folks. Social rest also helps with loneliness, which is an ongoing issue for a lot of adults. In fact, a 2023 MetaGallup survey of more than 140 countries showed that nearly one in four people worldwide feel lonely. 

    A key element of social rest is to surround yourself (in person or virtually) with people and communities who are positive and supportive. For more on that, check out Episode 6 to hear about people in our lives who are engines and anchors. 
  5. Creative Rest: Creative rest involves stepping away from that ongoing problem-solving  to allow your mind to recharge and gain fresh perspectives. Taking part in activities unrelated to your usual efforts can help stimulate creativity.

    For me, I usually find new ideas or new energy to tackle previous efforts once I’m back from a walk. There’s a Japanese phrase called shinrin-yoku  (I probably said that incorrectly), which translates to ‘forest bathing’This isn’t about exercise; it’s about simply connecting with nature through our senses. 
  6. In this same spirit, number 6 is Sensory Rest: Sensory rest involves reducing exposure to all that stimuli to prevent sensory overload and promote relaxation. This might include spending time in quiet environments, minimizing screen time, lighting a candle and being under a blanket, or being near a fire, or like our nature one-being outside.
  7. Finally, #7 is Spiritual Rest, which involves nurturing your sense of purpose, meaning, and connection to something greater than yourself. This might include practices like prayer or worship, meditation, volunteering, or activities that align with your values and beliefs.

To recap, the seven rest categories are physical, mental, emotional, creative, social, sensory, and spiritual. There isn’t one recipe for rest, and the point of this episode is to provide ideas on the many ways you can take care to take care of you. 

Find what’s within reach for today and see where you can create space for each of these areas. Doing so just might help rest and restoration exist again. 

Your brain is hungry. Give it some intellectual snacks in the
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I'm Kristin

I left my corporate work and dove further into how to navigate this noisy, digital, exhausted world. The result is a methodology centered on communications, productivity, and culture that blends theory with practice and helps people better enjoy the life they worked so hard to get.