Hi, I'm Megan, and I suck at sleeping.
So, I gotta say, when I first saw this viral Twitter thread about the seven types of rest we need to avoid burnout, my first thought was, SEVEN?!?!? That's too much work.
And I'm definitely not the only one who felt that way.
I was super curious about what all the different kinds of rest could even be, so I dug in to the thread. Some of them actually seemed pretty easy to incorporate in my daily life while others felt more abstract. But as someone who whines that I'm soooo tired at least once a day, I figured it couldn't hurt to give each one a try.
The thread also links to a Rest Quiz that breaks down what kinds of rest you may need the most. After I got my results, I decided to try an experiment. I made a plan to spend a week trying one type of rest per day, going in order of what the quiz said I needed the most. I also did my best to choose rest options that could be more accessible for the average person than, say, a day at the spa (though that would've been nice).
Here's what happened during my week of rest and relaxation:
1. Day One: Sensory Rest. I gave my overstimulated brain a break by changing up the evening ambiance in my house.
To create a chilled-out atmosphere after dinner, I dimmed my lights and relief immediately flooded my eyeballs. You know when you've been clenching your jaw for hours and hours without realizing it and then you finally let it go? Just lowering the lights felt like that times 10 for me. It's such a small and easy change, but at the same time, it made a huge difference.
2. Day Two: Social Rest. I indulged in my introverted tendencies by giving myself some extra alone time.
After work, I usually go for a walk as a sort of fake-commute. To build in some extra me-time, I brought a book with me and took a break from walking to hang out in the park with me, myself, and I. It was sort of relaxing, but I had a hard time letting myself enjoy it.
3. Day Three: Emotional Rest. I treated myself to a little emotional rest by having a drink with some friends.
So, I met up with a couple of friends to share a cheese board, drink wine, and cackle like witches on the patio of one of our favorite bars. It made me realize how "serious" I tend to be in my daily life, even though I feel like a goofy little gremlin at heart.
4. Day Four: Physical Rest. I did some bedtime stretches to wind down my day.
With my mood lighting in full effect and a comfy show playing in the background, I dusted off my yoga mat and set out to do about 10 minutes of gentle stretching. But once I got started, I kinda lost track of time and ended up flowing for 40 minutes.
5. Day Five: Mental Rest. Not to brag, but I already do most of the stuff listed in the tweet below, because otherwise, I will forget literally everything.
Meditation is the only thing on the mental rest list that I don't regularly do, so I decided to try a quick three-minute meditation in the afternoon.
6. Day Six: Creative Rest. I spent more time with a book on my lunch break.
I always want to read more, but the tired and burned-out part of me tends to look at this as "work," so I often reach for my phone instead of a book. Reframing reading as rest made it so much more relaxing and enjoyable.
7. Day Seven: Spiritual Rest. Finally, I finished up my week by going through my budget and finding room to set up a recurring charitable donation.
I ended up finding a couple of subscriptions that I'd forgotten about and haven't been using. So, I canceled them and set up a recurring monthly donation to my local food bank instead.
My biggest takeaway from this week is that even though my tired brain wants to not do things, I feel so much better when I fight through that feeling and do them anyway.
Thinking about these self-care things as "rest" instead of "activities" also made it so much easier to get into them and enjoy myself. Like, the difference between saying to myself, "I should really read more" vs. "Now I get to relax with a book" is huge.
I don't know if I'll continue doing all of these things, but a few that were really impactful are definitely sticking around in my daily routine. Lowering the lights, stretching before bed, and reading at lunch were all pretty easy to add into my day, and, unlike scrolling on my phone for hours, they all made me feel a little less tired.