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The Importance of Rest Even When You Seem Idle in the Present Times

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  • Post last modified:September 26, 2023

Vitality. It appears that no one can ever acquire an adequate amount of it, regardless of how diligently one tries. The most effective approach to obtain it is by revitalizing oneself through appropriate repose, affirms Saundra Dalton-Smith, M.D., an internist and the author of Sacred Rest. Sounds straightforward enough, correct?

Take notice that here, the key term is repose, not slumber. “Repose is not an identical concept to sleep,” asserts Dr. Dalton-Smith. “Repose encompasses the restorative activities we engage in to replenish our energy reserves, which become depleted throughout the day. It genuinely reinvigorates us,” she remarks. Assuming you have ever experienced burnout from work or excessive stimulation from excessive phone usage, you will likely concur that you necessitate more than a mere nap to experience true rejuvenation.

In her investigations, Dr. Dalton-Smith has discovered that the majority of individuals suffer from a deficiency of repose. “We reside in a society that is ignorant about how to not be preoccupied. We are perpetually working and expending energy, thus becoming depleted,” she expounds.

Furthermore, due to the incessant onslaught of health concerns, spanning from COVID-19 variants to seasonal maladies, it can occasionally seem impossible to quiet one’s mind. “We are burdened by a great deal of stress stemming from all the uncertainty,” concurs Dr. Dalton-Smith. “We have no knowledge of what will transpire in six months’ time with the virus or our occupations. There is a multitude of anxiety accompanying that. Therefore, it is particularly crucial to learn how to obtain the correct kind and amount of repose,” she states.

Yes, various forms of repose exist. Below, learn about all the types of repose that your body and mind necessitate, as well as methods for obtaining sufficient amounts of each variety.

The Distinct Varieties of Repose Essential for Everyone

Dr. Dalton-Smith has identified seven forms of repose that apply to everyone in her research. Nevertheless, the extent and frequency of replenishing each type of repose differ from individual to individual. “There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to repose. Each activity draws from a distinct reservoir of energy. The most effective repose occurs when you restore the specific kinds of energy that you consistently deplete,” she elaborates.

These are the seven forms of repose and their respective characteristics, as delineated by Dr. Dalton-Smith:

  • Imaginative: Engaging with things that inspire and motivate you, such as natural environments and artistic endeavors.
    • Cognitive: When you calm your mind and concentrate on what’s truly significant.
    • Bodily: Rest that relieves your physique of muscle pains and tension and aids in enhancing your sleep.
    • Interpersonal: Investing time in cherished relationships and engaging with individuals who enrich your life.
    • Emotive: The capacity to express your deepest emotions and be authentic.
    • Sensory: Taking a break from ambient noise, including negative self-talk and interaction with digital devices.
    • Spiritual: Tapping into the sensation of being part of something greater and experiencing a sense of belonging.

    You may be encountering a deficiency in one or more of these domains. To determine the kind of rest you need to incorporate into your life, Dr. Dalton-Smith has devised an online Rest Quiz that you can take to comprehensively understand your specific rest insufficiency(s).

    How to Obtain Each Variation of Rest

    Once you have identified the domains where you are lacking, you can begin working on cultivating them. “For example, suppose you have a deficit in creative rest,” explains Dr. Dalton-Smith. “Ask yourself: When do I feel revitalized and replenished?” she suggests.

    Then initiate the integration of that activity throughout your day. “If you find being at the seaside restorative, research indicates that gazing at an image of that scene evokes the same response,” elucidates Dr. Dalton-Smith. Utilize a photograph of a stunning and tranquil sandy beach as your screensaver, and you will experience creative revitalization each time you glimpse it. Although it may seem trivial, “minor adjustments like that can yield significant benefits,” she affirms.

    It is crucial to accumulate rest at various intervals throughout the day to ensure that you are always recharging, advises Dr. Dalton-Smith. Here are some of her top recommendations.

    Mental Rest: Engage in Meditation

    Research demonstrates that engaging in meditation — even focusing on a solitary word or thought for just a few minutes — allows your brain to settle down. Embarking on a run produces a similar effect. As it is a repetitive activity, your brain does not need to actively concentrate on it, enabling your mind to wander and unwind, explains Dr. Dalton-Smith.

    Physical Rest: Engage in Movement

    It might appear counterintuitive, but gentle movement enhances circulation, leading to a better physical state, according to Dr. Dalton-Smith. In this case, it is not about intense exercise; rather, partake in activities that physically restore and aid relaxation.

    Stretch, engage in rehabilitative yoga, embark on a stroll outdoors — all of these activities will alleviate your stress and alleviate any discomfort you might be experiencing.

    Emotional and Social Rest: Share Your Emotions

    Many individuals live under a constant level of pressure concerning their feelings, states Dr. Dalton-Smith. “We have the sensation that we must conform to a particular image or persona, which inhibits us from honestly communicating what is truly happening in our lives,” she explains. After upholding that image for a while, it becomes easy to develop a fear of being authentic and vulnerable, and this can be draining.

    “We all need someone with whom we can be honest and say, ‘I’m not fine. I’m feeling anxious. I’m afraid,'” remarks Dr. Dalton-Smith. “It could be a relative, a trusted companion, or a therapist — whoever you feel most at ease with. If not, you begin to experience a sense of disconnect, as if no one truly comprehends who you really are. This is a precarious mental state that may lead to issues like depression,” she adds.

    Sensory Rest: Embrace Silence

    You might not be aware of it, but you are likely constantly overwhelmed. “We live amidst bright lights and background noise, whether it’s our children clamoring, cars speeding by, or our phones beeping,” explains Dr. Dalton-Smith. And this has an impact. Each day, regardless of how busy you may be, find time to be alone in stillness to recharge, she suggests. Turn off the television or the music and put away your electronic devices. When you go to bed at night, ensure that the room is as dark and quiet as possible. Give your senses an opportunity to completely unwind and replenish.

    Creative Rest: Step Outside

    Being in nature elicits awe and inspiration — two elements that are crucial for creativity, according to Dr. Dalton-Smith. Some individuals also derive these benefits from visiting an art gallery, listening to a symphony, or watching a theater performance. Discover what ignites your creative spark and engage in that activity.

    Rest Techniques to Employ While Working

    Avoid remaining glued to your desk for extended periods. You will be more productive and feel revitalized and motivated if you practice these two uncomplicated techniques, advises Dr. Dalton-Smith.

    Take Regular Breaks During Your Workday

    “Practice what I refer to as flow-break cycles,” advises Dr. Dalton-Smith. “For an hour and a half or two hours, focus on your work intently. When the designated time is up [set an alarm if necessary], take a few moments to step away from your screen. Push your shoulders back and stretch. Rotate your neck a few times. Rise from your chair, take a short stroll, get a glass of water. This will assist in mentally, creatively, and physically reenergizing you,” she explains.

    Disable All Those Notifications

    The alerts on your phone and computer serve as a constant source of stress. “The fight-or-flight response is triggered each time one of them goes off, and with time, this will deplete your energy and leave you exhausted,” states Dr. Dalton-Smith. “For most of us, notifications are only necessary for text messages and phone calls. Disable the others,” she recommends.

    If you are required to frequently check your email for work (let’s be honest, who isn’t?), attempt what she calls time blocking — allocate three to five intervals throughout the day specifically for reading and responding to emails.

    That way, you’re not receiving that ding, ding, ding all day, triggering the stress response,” highlights Dr. Dalton-Smith. Thanks for your input!