The 7 Types of Rest & How to Refill Your Cup

Resting. It’s such a necessity, but often overlooked in our lives. We are so focused on achieving, on doing, and being busy has become a sort of “proof” to others that you’re important and have a life filled with appointments. But what if it doesn’t have to be this way?
What if you could live a life, getting plenty of rest when you need so, and show up as your best to yourself and others?
A belief I’ve been “unlearning” for a few months now is that our worth is attached to our productivity. The more we do, the more we achieve, the better we feel. But also, we feel like we need to deserve our rest.

What if you could give yourself permission to rest?

Mindfulness is a continuous journey and it continues teaching me so much. Giving yourself permission to slow down, but also resting, is one of those things.
And, as always, it starts with bringing in awareness.
I always say: fill your own cup first, because you can’t pour from an empty cup. Translation: take care of yourself first, because you’re no use even to others when you’re exhausted, and not your best self.
So, in order to know what you need most, you need to ask yourself: where am I pouring out the most and not pouring back in?
Next, it’s time to find the best way to refill your cup. Maybe you’ve got your self-care routine perfectly settled already or maybe you’re not sure what you really need right now. Wherever you are, it’s okay.
One of the tools that might help you is this list of 7 types of rest. Because yes, rest is more than napping – it is replenishing and rejuvenating yourself where you most need it. So let’s dive into it!

Physical rest

Looks like: being physically tired, feeling drained, in need of some extra sleep or movement.
How to: firstly, there’s active physical rest: working out, going for a walk, dancing, but also, there’s passive: napping, getting a massage, laying down. Both give you more energy and replenish your body. It’s up to you to see which one you need more. Sometimes, moving when you’re tired actually gives you more energy. But if you’ve moved too much, it can be time to relax and slow down.

Mental rest

Looks like: feeling like your mind is “full”, feeling tired or overwhelmed after focusing very hard, difficulty concentrating, having a “foggy” mind
How to: noting down thoughts to pass them from your mind onto paper a.k.a. journalling, or meditating to clear your mind and let go of the day, also doing any activity that allows you to focus on something else for example painting, playing a game,…

Sensory rest

Looks like: feeling overwhelmed, needing time or space alone, feeling overly sensitive
How to: close your eyes for a few minutes, take some deep breaths, nap, spend time in nature, or other less sensory places – quiet places, without many triggers or people

Creative rest

Looks like: feeling uninspired, stuck, or unsure what to do next, lack of creativity in your projects
How to: take inspired action & release pressure and perfectionism – just start and try something, it does not have to be perfect. Talk/listen to an inspiring person (hello, podcasts!), spend time in nature (when is this not a cure, really?), travel! (this might be the best way to boost your creativity – leave your comfort zone, set foot onto a new land, literally, even if it is domestic travel).

Emotional rest

Looks like: feeling emotionally drained or overwhelmed, going through emotional times, experiencing feelings and unsure about where they come from, suppressing feelings you are not sure how to address or you don’t want to feel
How to: take time to feel feelings and express them rather than suppressing them or postponing it – know they are temporary, so invite compassion more than comparison to times when you were feeling better/happier. Take a break from work (if possible) if that is causing you stress and schedule in moments to take a break and tune in with how you are feeling.

Social rest

Looks like: feeling drained from spending time with too many/certain people that drain your energy more than recharging you, also: feeling drained after being social a lot or spending time with a lot of people, or the opposite: feeling lonely and not nourished by the relationships in your life
How to: spend time with yourself and turn the loneliness into solitude (enjoy your time alone by taking small steps in getting comfortable being by yourself), or try to hang out with people who recharge you and fill your cup, not people who are “energy vampires”

Spiritual rest

Looks like: feeling lost and disconnected from the world or others around you, feeling sad, having big questons about life and being unsure
How to: connect with something bigger than yourself – it does not have to be religious. I am not religious, but I am spiritual, and that has helped me a lot in navigating through these feelings and realising we are all connected and part of the same oneness. Know that you are never alone, you are part of something much bigger. Try meditation (try a loving kindness meditation or group meditation), try our community involvement or, if you are religious, prayer.

I really hope this has helped you or inspired you to rest, recharge and relax – even when you are not burnt out or exhausted or even tired. It’s okay to give yourself permission to rest, you don’t have to wait until you’re burnt out. And as you see, rest is more than physical or mental, there are many aspects to it. Take care of yourself and remember to be mindful: compassionate, kind, non-judgmental and aware.