If we’re living the “hustle culture” life - caught up in a busy schedule and struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balance - we could probably use some rest. But what if, after drinking that chamomile tea and doing the whole self-care routine, we still don’t feel rejuvenated? It could be that we aren’t getting the type of rest we need. Physician and researcher Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith identified seven different types of rest. Here’s how to integrate each type of rest during your work week, based on what you need to feel rejuvenated.

1. Physical

Taking care of our bodies is more than just exercising and getting enough sleep. First and foremost, we all need physical rest, which improves our well-being. To get some physical rest at work, try:

  • a chair massage pillow
  • stretches at your desk
  • fitting in a quick stretching class (or finding a short video on YouTube)

2. Mental

Perhaps less obvious than physical exhaustion, mental exhaustion can feel like hitting a wall. When we’re constantly using our minds, we might not prioritize the time we need to recover, and we risk adding more stress to our lives. If your ideas feel disconnected and your thoughts escape you, consider:

  • taking short breaks in between tasks
  • scheduling coffee chats or less mind-intensive activities during the workday

3. Sensory

It’s no surprise that the prolonged periods we spend in front of our phone and computer screens can affect our rest. Even a few minutes a day of sensory rest can mitigate the effects of blue light and frequent notifications. Feeling jittery or like your eyes need a break? Try:

  • scheduling times away from a screen
  • pausing or silencing notifications

4. Creative

What do you draw from to get inspiration at work? Every role requires some level of creativity, whether you’re designing a kitchen or brainstorming for a fundraiser. To keep creativity flowing throughout the workday, Dr. Dalton-Smith recommends that we transform our “workspace(s) into a place of inspiration by displaying images of places [we] love and works of art that speak to [us].” Other things that can improve creativity at work are:

  • changing your scenery throughout the day by going for a walk
  • listening to music that brings out your creativity

5. Emotional

We need emotional rest after stressful situations. The impact of frequent stress on our bodies and minds can accumulate over time, affecting our ability to focus and work efficiently. While some work environments are more stressful than others, here are ways we can all address emotional fatigue:

  • prioritize activities at work and outside of work that allow you to be expressive
  • seek out colleagues, mentors, and friends who let you be yourself and feel your feelings

6. Social

While it’s fun to catch up with friends and colleagues, we all need to rest from socializing at some point. For example, you can:

  • choose to interact with people who bring out the best in you, rather than drain you 
  • say “no” to some social events when you need a break (yes, virtual ones too)

7. Spiritual

If you’re feeling lonely or lacking a sense of purpose, there’s an opportunity for you to step back and connect with God. What is He asking of you? Where can your time and skills be most fruitful? Pope Francis said that we should “learn how to take a break, to turn off [our] mobile phone, to contemplate nature, to regenerate ourselves in dialogue with God.” In doing so, he mentioned sensory, creative, and spiritual ways to rest. During the work week, we can prioritize spiritual rest by:


For more tips on rest from expert women, watch the Rest & Resilience Summit Talks here.

Sophie-Anne Baril

Career Section Editor

Sophie spent part of her childhood in Haiti, and then moved to Florida at a young age. Sophie earned her undergraduate degree from Nova Southeastern University and her master’s degree in International Affairs from the George Washington University in DC. Following her early career years in the international development sector, she transitioned to working in the public sector as an international economics professional. Inspired by Ecclesiastes 11:6, Sophie looks forward to helping women cultivate thriving careers and lifestyles.

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