Give it a Rest

By Tricia Neus, MPH, CHES®, CHW
Program Coordinator and Wellness Coach
Methodist Health System

Have you ever had a good night’s sleep only to wake up still feeling exhausted? You see, sleep and rest are not the same thing. We tend to think that if we had a good night of sleep, then we’re well rested. The fact is, we are a population of chronically tired people, averaging 6.8 hours of sleep per night when adults actually need seven to eight hours per night. Because we lack an understanding of what true rest means, we are burned out and suffering from a rest deficit. Here are seven different types of rest every person needs and some tips to incorporate them into your everyday routine.

  • Physical rest (active or passive). Passive rest includes sleeping or napping, while active rest includes restorative activities that improve circulation and flexibility like yoga, tai chi, stretching, and massage therapy.
  • Mental rest. Do you find yourself waking up feeling like you never went to bed, needing lots of coffee to function, feeling irritable and forgetful, and having trouble concentrating? Then you may have a mental rest deficit. Give yourself a mental break every couple of hours throughout the workday. If your mind is racing at night and keeping you awake, keep a notepad next to the bed and jot down your thoughts. It can help clear your mind for a restful night of sleep.
  • Sensory rest. Bright lights, computer and phone screens, traffic sounds, background noises, and multiple conversations can cause our senses to feel overwhelmed. To balance this, you can do something as simple as unplugging from technology every evening or doing a quiet meditation, eyes closed with no sound, each morning for one minute.
  • Creative rest. Creative rest is critical for those who solve problems or brainstorm new ideas as it helps awaken the awe and wonder inside our brains. Allow yourself to take in the beauty of both nature and art. Experience the beauty of the outdoors. Put up creative pictures or art in your workspace or home.
  • Emotional rest. Are you a people-pleaser who always says “yes” to others even when you want to say “no”? You may need emotional rest. It requires having time, space, and courage to openly express your feelings and worry less about pleasing everyone else.
  • Social rest. Are there people in your inner circle who drag you down instead of lift you up? If so, you need to experience social rest and surround yourself with positive, supportive people.
  • Spiritual rest. The final type of rest is spiritual rest. Spiritual rest is the ability to connect to something beyond the physical and mental. It can be done by praying, meditating, or volunteering. 

Sleep, coupled with rest in different areas of our life, is critical to our health. It can enhance our performance and overall well-being. So wake up to the benefits! 

If you’re looking for an organization that is committed to honoring the work of all its employees, take a look at Methodist Health System. Visit us at

© Methodist Health System


Posted Wellness