The Seven Types of Rest

Hello Friends!

Last week, I had the magical opportunity to “remote work” from Vienna, Austria. My brother-in-law was in town for a conference and my sister came with him. I haven’t seen them since Christmas 2022 and I wasn’t going to pass up the chance!! So off to Vienna I went, intending to work from there and see my sister in my free time. 

Oh my gosh what a beautiful four days!! Do you know the expression “a change is as good as a rest”? That was exactly what happened last week. I might have been working, and it might have only been a few days, but wow did I feel fantastic after four days of sister time, the beauty of an old European city, springtime sun, and new views. I just felt amazing!

And frankly, that’s not a feeling I have had all that often lately. I’ve been feeling a bit depleted this winter. And I know I am not alone in that. Everyone I know feels completely overworked and under-rested. One of the themes that keeps coming up in my coaching is the theme of the exhaustion from our current pace of work. How can we recharge? How can we replenish our energy, and our energy reserves?

Which reminded me of one of my favourite topics (and not-so-coincidentally yesterday’s Thursday Thought) : The Seven Types of Rest.

I find the concept in and of itself completely fascinating. Prior to reading this article from on the topic, I had always equated “rest” with “sleep” and hadn’t given any thought at all really to the fact that there are not only multiple types of rest, but multiple needs for replenishment. Such an interesting thought!

“We go through life thinking we’ve rested because we have gotten enough sleep — but in reality we are missing out on the other types of rest we desperately need. The result is a culture of high-achieving, high-producing, chronically tired and chronically burned-out individuals. We’re suffering from a rest deficit because we don’t understand the true power of rest.” [emphasis mine]

Rest should equal restoration [“replenishment” resonates more with me] in seven key areas of your life: 

  1. Physical
  2. Mental
  3. Sensory
  4. Creative
  5. Emotional
  6. Social
  7. Spiritual

I thought it would be interesting to delve a bit deeper into these types of rest, and what they might mean for each of us.


I recently listened to a great podcast about the difference between Resting and Laziness. It was such an interesting distinction between those two things. And it really boiled down to this: resting comes *after* you’ve accomplished something. Laziness is when you rest before – and often you’re doing that because you are mentally exhausted. You just don’t have the mental capacity to motivate yourself.

We often procrastinate because we are mentally drained. Our brains haven’t had enough off time, so we feel exhausted.

Now sometimes what looks like procrastination is actually part of your process for thinking. It’s your mental activity doing its thing. But other times procrastination is exactly what we think it is: avoiding doing something, often because we haven’t had a chance to mentally rest. 


I’ve written before about sensory deprivation, sense hunger, and sensory overload. We spend so much time on screens – overusing our eyes and ears, and underusing the other senses. 
We also have a terrible tendency to spend all day staring at a medium-sized screen, and then spend the evening relaxing by looking at a larger screen, while simultaneously scrolling on our small screen! It’s no wonder we need sensory rest!! I don’t know about you, but my eyes need something three-dimensional and natural to look at every once in a while.


For some, the tendency to want to make others happy can veer into people pleasing. On one particular episode of How to Fail, Emma Reed Turrell was interviewed about her book, “Please Yourself: How to Stop People-Pleasing & Transform the Way You Live”. As she explains, one important aspect is to identify who we feel we need to please: “Who we are to other people … it matters to us. It’s just: can we be more discerning about the people that we matter to? Or do we have to matter to everybody, for us to be good human beings?”
This is such a brilliant interview. The author is so astute and articulate in her explanation of what people pleasing actually is and how it can derail our self-care, as well as how much authenticity is required and how much energy it takes to not be authentic. How drained we can get from pretending to be something we’re not; from trying to please everyone else except ourselves, and it is so worth the listen!

My favourite thought-provoking quote from the author: 

“I was saying yes by default rather than by design.”


We expend an enormous amount of energy thinking about and worrying about what others think of us. In fact, we usually underestimate how much people like us, and how much they notice about our flaws. Those are the findings of social psychologist Erica Boothby in this episode of Hidden Brain: How Others See You.
And to make us feel even less forced into a social norm of how we need to look, this brilliant video by Kate Winslet is really powerful. I love how she encourages all women to stand in their own truth, one of my favourite sayings! ♥.


For me, there is nothing that replenishes my soul more than seeing sunshine sparkling on the water. I am definitely solar-powered! 😉 Spending time this past weekend at some of the glacial lakes in Austria was an absolutely boon for my spiritual rest. Heaven on earth!


A picture is worth a thousand words, and these two graphics/pictures provide some great ideas for how to get your seven types of rest!


I love when people recommend books. I’m even part of a group of coaches that has a WhatsApp group just to recommend books to one another. And last week – just before heading to Austria for those few days off – in came a recommendation. Richard wrote “if you have a long flight or train journey, ‘The Family Upstairs’ is a pacy piece of quite smart commercial fiction by Lisa Jewell. I enjoyed it and its sequel”. That sounded promising! So I downloaded the book for my trip.
And it was indeed pacy and smart! And maybe even more importantly, it was not at all predictable. I really didn’t know where it as going and I really enjoyed the ride. The first thing I did when I finished reading it was go out and buy the sequel! Which is always a good sign. 
So if you’re looking for something entertaining that will keep you guessing and engrossed, this could be what you’re looking for!

What type of rest do you need most? And what types of rest do you tend to gravitate toward? I find I need all of them, but in different measures.

I hope you have a beautiful week – maybe even a unicorn weekend with all 7 types of rest! 😊

Be emotional. Stay healthy.



Share this page on: