What are you doing during the summer? Where are you going? Where are you traveling to? are frequent questions echoing around as the campus prepares to wind down for a well-deserved summer break. All of these indirectly seem to imply that there must be some action or movement over the summer. What if we asked each other instead, How are you resting this summer? or What type of rest do you need? 

Rest is an essential component of a healthy and balanced lifestyle. It’s critical to ensure we are getting enough of it throughout the school year and even more during the summer when we can focus on replenishing our mental and physical resources. 

With no alarm to wake up to, summer is the perfect time to get plenty of sleep. We often think of rest as an opportunity to sleep in but there are other types of rest that can help to heal and rejuvenate our minds and bodies. 

According to Dr Dalton- Smith’s theory of rest, every person needs 7 types of rest.

Physical rest: Passive physical rest is undoubtedly one that we need first and foremost to allow our body to repair and heal itself. Sleep, naps, and relaxation enable our bodies to recover physically. At the same time, we can engage in active physical rest involving light restorative activities to reduce stress and promote recovery. 

Mental rest: While sleep is helpful and essential, it may not feel restorative enough. Our brains may often feel cluttered with information, thoughts, and worries. Dr. Dalton Smith recommends short but frequent breaks throughout the day or journaling before bedtime to aid the brain in getting the mental rest it needs. 

Sensory rest: Throughout the school year, we find ourselves in constant stimulation: people, noises, screens, messages, and constant discussions. Summer is the perfect time to engage in intentional moments of sensory deprivation, which, according to Dr. Dalton Smith, will help us to feel recharged. Reducing some of the sensory overloads by cutting on screen time, for example, can be impactful in getting a sensory rest. 

Emotional rest is finding an opportunity and space to be true to ourselves. Throughout a regular school year, we may often engage in emotional labor, i.e., putting others’ feelings before our own and suppressing our emotions. Surrounding ourselves with people we feel safe to be authentic with can give us the emotional rest we need this summer. 

Social rest: Understanding whether you gain energy from others or feel exhausted after spending time with them can help you plan your summer social activities. How much or little social interaction do you need to recharge? 

If you would like to read more about the other kinds of rest Dr. Smith Dalton discusses, check out her website and listen to her TED talk. or read this article in Psychology today.

It is important to note that everyone’s rest needs differ, and the type and amount of rest will depend on factors like age, activity level, and health. Incorporating various rest types into your summer can help ensure that you are giving yourself what you need to function at your best during the school year. 

Wishing you all a wonderful and restful summer, and see you in August. 

Would you like to find out what type of rest you need? You can do the quiz here to find out more.