The Seven Types Of Rest Needed During Stressful Times

When you think of ‘rest’ you may think of sleeping, lying down or taking a nap. But did you know that there are seven unique kinds of rest both the human body and mind need to thrive?
When you don’t get one or more of these different forms of rest, then you may find yourself feeling burnt out, tired, and overwhelmed, and you may wake up feeling exhausted, even after a restful sleep. Physical rest and sleep is great and necessary, but you may find you need more of the other six kinds of rest - especially during stressful times.

While we all need a little bit of each kind of rest to function well, certain people will need certain kinds of rest more often than others. What type this is and how much of it someone will need may depend on the types and quantity of energy that person will expend each day.

Rest is more than napping, it is replenishing and rejuvenating yourself where you most need it.

Read on to find out the seven types of rest and ways you can incorporate them into your day.


1. Physical Rest

Releasing tension and restoring calm to the physical body.

Looks like:

Being physically tired, feeling drained, in need of some extra sleep or a nap.

How to:
  • Passive physical rest through sitting, lying down, napping or relaxing.
  • Active physical rest through stretching, gentle restorative yoga, massage therapy.


2. Sensory Rest

Quietness and refraining from using the eyes. Bright lights and smartphones can be overstimulating, and causes our senses to feel overwhelmed.

Looks like:
Needing time or space alone, feeling overly sensitive and overwhelmed. 

How to:
  • Close your eyes for a few minutes 1-3 times a day
  • Intentionally unplug from electronics and screens at the end of everyday
  • Grab some noise cancelling headphones and an eye mask and appreciate a moment of complete silence in a quiet space
  • Turn off notifications
    Find a space with no bright lights and/or dim lights
    Dedicate a ’no screen’ time

3. Emotional Rest

A withdrawing from the ups and downs caused by personal interaction and providing emotional labour.

Looks like:

Feeling emotionally drained or overwhelmed, suppressing feelings you are not sure how to address or that you don’t want to feel.

How to:

  • Speak to a therapist or friend
  • Social media and news detox
  • Consciously consume ‘feel good’ content only
  • Say ‘no’ to helping and providing advice
  • Maintain healthy boundaries
  • Tune in to how you are feeling, and express feelings rather than suppress them

4. Mental Rest

A detaching of the mind from all intellectual demands or activity.

Looks like:

Feeling like your mind is ‘full’, feeling tired or overwhelmed after focusing very hard, ‘foggy’ mind, difficulty concentrating.

How to:

  • Meditation
  • Note down your thoughts
  • Let go of the need to ‘do’

5. Creative Rest

Surrounding yourself with inspiration and creativity.

Looks like:

Feeling uninspired, stuck, or unsure what to do next, lack of creativity in your projects.

How to:

  • Dance
  • Read a book
  • Watch shows, movies or documentaries that inspire you
  • Draw
  • Craft
  • Explore nature
  • Garden
  • Release pressure and perfectionism
  • Listen to an inspiring person on a podcast

6. Spiritual Rest

Connecting with something bigger than yourself.

Looks like:

Feeling lost and disconnected from the world or others around you, feeling sad, having big questions about your life and your place in it.

How to:

  • Connect with something bigger than yourself (it does not have to be religious)
  • Pray
  • Meditate (group meditation or loving kindness guided meditation)
  • Volunteer in the community
  • Express gratitude
  • Self-reflect
  • Journal about larger life goals and values


7. Social Rest

Creating space for those relationships that bring you revival, and who nourish and inspire you.

Looks like:

Feeling drained from spending time with too many people, or certain people that drain your energy rather than recharging you.

How to:

  • Surround yourself with positive and supportive people
  • Cut ties with toxic relationships
  • Take a break from socialising or being around people who tend to wear you out
  • Go for a walk or grab a coffee with a friend
  • Resist the urge to text, Facetime or call instead


Are you getting these 7 types of rest in your day? Do you have any things that you do to rest that are not listed here? Feel free to comment below.