“Rest is the most underused, chemical-free, safe, and effective alternative therapy available to us.” – Saundra Dalton-Smith M.D.

When you hear the term “get some rest,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Chances are, it has something to do with sleep. But, sleep and rest are not the same things.

It’s time to know about these seven types of rest. 


1- Physical

Physical rest is about “resting” your body. This could be either passive or active. Passive physical rest means time spent asleep, including napping. On the other hand, active physical rest is any activity that improves your physical well-being, like massage, exercise, stretching, or yoga.


2- Mental

Mental rest is about giving your brain a break. 

Mental rest allows you to disconnect from cognitive demands and allow your brain to slip into that default mode network. For people in information-driven work or who spend a lot of time on the computer, this kind of rest can be beneficial.

Schedule a ten-minute break every two hours. During that break, take a quick walk, grab a snack, take deep breaths and use it as your time to rest and reset, so you’ll be ready for another two hours of productive work.

We can also rest our minds by being unavailable for some time and disconnecting from the internet, social media, and our emails.


3- Emotional

Emotional rest tends to come down to setting effective boundaries. It is about being authentic and honest with your feelings. People need emotional rest when they get stuck in people-pleasing. When you feel emotionally drained, it can be a sign that you said “yes” to something that should have been a “no.”

Give yourself a moment to weigh the pros and cons of each decision, and don’t agree to do it just because someone else wants you to (unless that person is you).


4- Social

Social rest is about pursuing positive, energizing, and supportive social connections or simply taking a break from socialization altogether. We often need social rest when we fail to differentiate between those relationships that revive us from those relationships that exhaust us. 

Every person has various relationships in their lives — family members, coworkers, friends, and acquaintances. Managing your energy is about finding the right balance between the relationships that drain you and the relationships that nourish and inspire you. Try not to judge your balance by what anyone else is doing, as we all have different social needs and preferences. Reach out to people who make you feel good about yourself and spend more time with them. Even if your interactions have to occur virtually, you can choose to engage more fully in them by turning on your camera and focusing on who you’re speaking to.

Change up your hangouts. If you usually go out for dinner and drinks, try meeting up for a workout class or paint-and-sip.

Say no. If you’re feeling depleted, turn down an invitation or two and recharge at home.

Don’t multitask when you’re spending time with friends. Leave your device in your pocket or limit the size of the group you’re hanging out with.


5- Sensory

Sensory rest is about giving your senses a break. People need sensory rest when they overwhelm their senses with constant stimuli. Bright lights, computer screens, background noise, and multiple conversations — whether they’re in an office or on Zoom calls — can cause our senses to feel overwhelmed.

Try a digital detox. Turn off the notifications on your phone. Unplug your electronics, turn the lights off if possible, and shut your eyes for a few minutes to recharge. Just five minutes can help you feel more refreshed.

And if you’re feeling seriously depleted, consider a one-day (or one-week, if you’re really up for the challenge) vacation from all unnecessary electronics. 

Extra tip: meditation can also help you learn to notice — and not be swept away by — external stimuli or internal chatter.


6- Creative

Creative rest is about exposing yourself to artistic, nature-based, and innovative environments without feeling the need to produce a creation—and feeling the sense of inspiration that comes along with them. 

This type of rest is especially important for people that feel stuck, uninspired, and unable to develop new ideas or solutions to problems or brainstorm new ideas.

You can’t spend 40 hours a week staring at blank or jumbled surroundings and expect to feel passionate about anything, much less come up with innovative ideas.

Get out into nature. Take a walk through a park, along the beach, or go for a hike. And don’t bring your phone. 

Do something just for fun. Turn on some music and sing and dance in the kitchen. Or you might want to sit and read a book or watch a movie that you find particularly inspiring.

Immerse yourself in other people’s creativity. Visit a museum or get together with friends who inspire you. 


7- Spiritual

Spiritual rest is about connecting with something larger than yourself. It’s the ability to connect beyond the physical and mental and feel a deep sense of belonging, love, acceptance, and purpose.

Volunteer for a cause that’s personally meaningful to you.

Work with a coach or mentor to reconnect your short-term goals to the bigger picture. 

Start meditating.


As you can see, sleep alone can’t restore us to the point we feel rested. So it’s time for us to begin focusing on getting the right types of rest we need and incorporate them into our life.



Unstressed: not feeling worried; feeling relaxed.

Rested: cease work or movement to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.

Stuck: unable to move from a particular position or place or unable to change a situation.

Activities: something that is done for enjoyment.

Meaningful: having a serious, important, or useful quality or purpose.



Chill out

“We spent the whole week chilling out on the beach.”

Wind down

“My son knows that when I read a story, it’s time to wind down and get ready for bed.”

Take it easy

“You’ll need to spend a few days taking it easy after the funeral.”



Put your feet up: sitting down and relaxing.

Slow down: relax, not rush.

Let your hair down: relax and enjoy yourself, or even go a little bit wild.

Switch off: to totally relax.

Recharge your batteries: have a break and come back feeling fresh and relaxed.