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Types of rest

Not All Rest and Recovery is Alike

During quarantine, I have noticed that myself and many others are feeling unrested despite spending a lot of time in our house where we have a bed to escape for a nap. This Ted talk about the 7 types of rest shows that there are different types of rest needs. A light bulb went off. Ah, there is a spectrum of rest and recovery. It makes total sense.


So here is my summary of the 7 types of rest from the Ted Talk in case you want a structured set of recommendations. You will likely see yourself in multiple areas here, but there might be one or two that feel especially urgent to address right now. Check-in with yourself to see how you can get better quality rest.


Type of Rest

Deficit Symptoms



Tight muscles, foggy mind, lethargy, low physical energy

Passive (sleeping, napping), Active (restorative yoga, stretching, massage therapy)


Hyperactive mind, ruminating thoughts, anxiety, stress, negative self-talk, worries

Scheduled mental breaks during the day, notepad by the bed to jot down nagging thoughts, meditation, exercise


Sensory overload: Bright lights, screaming kids, computer screen, background noise, multiple conversations

Sensory break (close eyes for a minute) during day, boundaries with tech, meditation, silent breaks with no podcast or music


Writer’s block, low motivation and inspiration, inability to find innovative solutions, falling behind deadlines

Nature and beautiful outdoors, inspiration (art, exhibits), travel


Feeling drained, tapped out, unappreciated, disconnected, unable to express oneself

For people pleasers: give yourself courage to say “no” and to be authentic about how you’re feeling. Be honest when people ask “How are you?” and cut back on people pleasing.


Packed social schedule, demanding relationships, Zoom fatigue, virtual call overload

Pick relationships that revive you and de-prioritize relationships that drain you. Pace social activities to suit your needs and gently say No.


Feeling empty inside, seeking meaning to something bigger, missing a purpose

Engage in something greater than yourself and if possible find a community of like-minded people. Prayer, mindfulness, faith, volunteering are all examples of this.


Which of these resonate with you?


We talk so much about Rest and Recovery, but we don’t always understand the nuances that exist. Start with one thing that can meaningfully help you where you have the biggest Rest Deficit. Try to experiment with different ways to feed your rest needs. While sleep is important, it isn’t the only way we get rest. Try to practice tuning in to see what you are needing the most today.

My best,


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