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Sleep Isn’t the Only Type of Rest Your Body Needs!

By Heidi Baldwin, MS, Holistic Health Coach

We're all aware of the importance of sleep, and how crucial it is to a healthy body. I remind my clients all the time that the body does most of its healing work while we are sleeping. Remember when we were sick as kids? Rest and hydration were always our prescription for healing. Now that we are all grown up, that should still be our go-to, however, many people push themselves and don’t let their bodies get the rest they need.

When we aren't sleeping enough, we see various symptoms alerting us that something needs to change. I often think that getting sick is the body’s way of forcing us to slow down and get the rest we need. When we think about rest, though, we often just think of it as another word for sleep. Rest for the body in the form of sleep is one aspect of rest, but there are actually several different types of rest we can be focusing on adding to our lives on a regular basis.

Here are five different types of rest you can prioritize for a balanced approach to wellness:

Time to sleep.

This is the first thing that comes to mind when we say we need rest. A good night's sleep is the backbone of a healthy body, and aiming for seven to eight hours of sleep each night will be transformational for your health. If you struggle with this, setting a bedtime and creating a nourishing bedtime routine will help get you into a rhythm you enjoy. Be sure to ditch the blue light exposure at least an hour before bed so that you can fall asleep naturally.

Time to fly solo.

In a world where we have families, work closely with others, and are often involved in our community, sometimes uninterrupted quiet time is the answer. It doesn't matter whether or not you're an introvert. Everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy some silence, and their own company. It can look like a night in with a good book, or a dinner date for one.

Time in nature.

There is just something about being outdoors that is so grounding and healing. It can be as simple as walking barefoot through the grass, or as intense as hiking a mountain. Spending more time in nature has a way of reminding us of our place in the universe. So, grab a friend, or don't, and get some sun on your face.

Time with your people.

Community is an essential part of a healthy life. If you're feeling disconnected, brainstorm how to prioritize creating new relationships and nurturing the ones you already have. I like to add this to my weekly schedule, so it doesn't get put on the backburner. It can be as simple as a quick check-in, lunch date, or a walk after work with a friend. You don't have to be an extrovert to feel recharged by sharing an authentic conversation with the people you love.

Time away.

This can look different for everyone. For some, it can be a weekend stay in a hotel. You may just need a change of scenery, and a good old-fashioned night out. For others, it could take an entire week to rejuvenate you. Some may even need an extended break from the weight of the world. It's okay to step back from commitments or responsibilities while caring for yourself for a season.

Honestly, you may be feeling so depleted that you need to make time for all five types of rest -- and that's okay. Taking time out to recharge is never selfish or frivolous. Each person is different, and worthy of the rest they need to operate well. So, take a step back from glorifying busyness, grab that book you’ve been wanting to read, and let yourself unwind and get some much-needed R&R.

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