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The 7 Types Of Rest - Parent Edition

The word rest seems to be pretty straight forward.  For me growing up, it was a word synonymous with just ‘not moving’ for a period of time.  Into adulthood, the meaning didn’t really change all that much until that is, I had kids!  After becoming a mother, the word ‘rest’ took on a whole other meaning and a whole new role. Now, in the rapidly evolving health and wellness world, more and more research is telling us just how much more rest is important to our overall health than we ever once understood.  Rest doesn’t only mean the sleep you get.  Understanding the different types of rest can transform the way we approach getting the rest we need.  Addressing each type can play a vital role in your overall health and wellbeing. By finding ways to bring these forms of rest into our lives, we can move toward a more balanced, energized, and higher wellbeing. 


1. Physical Rest


Good quality sleep is a big part of physical rest. As parents, our sleep routines go out the window and amount of hours of sleep reduce to fractions of what they were pre-children. Newborn hood is rough, no way around it.  But it doesn’t have to stay that way.  Developmentally, babies can sleep through the night after 6 months old and if they are waking frequently this means both their sleep and yours is suffering.  Sleep is a pillar of health and prioritizing your baby’s sleep is as important as prioritizing and protecting your own sleep. If you’re a struggling with your child’s sleep and hit your breaking point, reaching out for support from your community is essential. As a family sleep coach, I am part of that community, ready to help.


2. Mental Rest


Think of how many decisions we make from the moment we wake up.  How many times we shift our attention, process, continually processing information and solving problems. Mental rest can give your mind a break from this relentless activity. Mindfulness practices like breath work,  meditation or engaging in hobbies that let your mind wander, can help achieve mental rest. This can help you reduce mental fatigue, enhance focus and boost creativity.  Taking short breaks in your day is one example of giving your mind a rest.  Studies have shown that taking a walk in a green space significantly lowers cortisol levels. 


3. Emotional Rest


Emotional rest means allowing yourself to feel and express your emotions in a healthy way. It's about being honest about your feelings, seeking support when you need it, and stepping away from emotionally draining situations.  Knowing who or what your emotional stressors or triggers are is the first step in managing your emotions.  This can lead to improved emotional intelligence, better relationships, and a greater sense of inner peace. These days, technology has made it much easier to seek professional guidance in your emotional rest journey. There are many apps out there but seems to have the best reviews overall and is available in Canada. With the option to pick the type of therapy, type of therapist and method of communication it is really quite the resource to have at your finger tips.  


4. Sensory Rest


Our world is full of constant stimulation: bright lights, loud noises, screens -  and if your a parent, multiply that by 1000x! Sensory rest involves reducing this overload. Having regular device free family time, turning the TV off in the background as you feed baby, dimming lights after dinner and enjoying nature when you can. Sensory rest can help in reducing the strain on your senses and can lead to a calmer, more focused state of mind.


5. Creative Rest


I believe all humans are creative beings. Creativity isn’t reserved for professional artists. And creative rest allows you to rejuvenate your innate creativity.  Engaging with the beauty in the world, whether it's art, nature, or music, can allow you to become inspired. This type of rest can spark new ideas, enhance problem-solving skills, and bring joy.  The easiest way to find what sparks you creatively is to think about the thing you loved to do when you were young.  Did you used to be crafty?  Dance, play music, sing, enjoy painting or photography but never got into it?  Let this be your sign to get into it now.


6. Social Rest


Carving out the space in our lives for positive social interactions can be a complex endeavour for parents. Opportunities for having adult conversations become less occurring once we have babies and young children.  But it’s a time when building meaningful adult friendships are crucial for mental health. Social rest involves surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people. At the same time we need to distance ourselves from relationships that are draining or stressful. This can greatly improve your mood and outlook on life.


7. Spiritual Rest


Finding meaning and purpose beyond your daily routines is known as spiritual rest. It can be achieved through activities that connect you to something greater than yourself, like prayer, meditation, or community involvement. Spiritual rest can provide a deep sense of calm and a renewed perspective on life. I've personally been exploring the various yoga retreats available locally. I love how some even have a day-retreat option which is even more accessible for the average mom!


All of the above practices have been shown to lower cortisol levels.  Cortisol is the stress hormone and elevated amounts for extended periods of time are know to disrupt sleep and overall health.  So if you are among one of the many parents who still experience insomnia, even after their child starts sleeping through the night, implementing the 7 types of rest into your life regularly will help reduce the main cause of poor sleep amount adults: Stress and anxiety.

As a sleep expert and certified pediatric sleep consultant I help families solve their sleep struggles every day.  If your looking for 1:1 support to get to your family’s unique sleep goal, let’s chat!  Book a free sleep discovery call to find out all about what I offer here.

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