The Seven Types of Rest To Avoid Burnout

Posted by Sarah Kinsler-Holloway on

I've been hearing, well actually reading, a lot of estheticians complain of burnout recently.  And if I'm to be honest, I'm feeling it, too.

Running your own business is hard.  It's a never ending to-do list, and perhaps most draining, is the energy it takes to interact with our clients daily. 

There is a book I recently read called Sacred Rest by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith.  It really changed my perspective on how necessary rest is, and I think about it often. 

Then just today, while I was perusing Goop, I saw an article that cohesively identifies the 7 types of essential rest, and I was inspired to share them with you.

1. Physical Rest

Physical rest has two components. It has the active component and a passive component. Passive being things like sleeping and napping. We need high-quality sleep. But physical rest also includes active things like yoga, stretching, using a foam roller, getting a massage, and making sure that the ergonomics of your work station are not toxic to your body.

Signs that you have an active physical rest deficit could be body aches and pain. It could be swelling in your legs and feet after sitting at your desk for long periods of time; it could be spasms in your back.

Ways to take a physical rest include: Massage, yoga, simply laying around, or sauna

2. Mental Rest

Someone with a mental rest deficit might find themselves lying down to go to sleep at night and their mind’s racing and they’re not able to quiet it and fall asleep. Another example is the person who walks into the grocery store and is trying to remember the three items that they went in there for, and they can’t seem to recall the information. They’re struggling with concentration and recall, and there's not a risk for dementia. We’re seeing people in their thirties who can’t remember three items for longer than a few minutes because of this busy brain. They’re not able to hold on to information.

Ways to take a mental rest include: Journaling, taking frequent breaks, and meditating, watching tv, gardening, and coloring, to name a few.

3. Social Rest

Social rest is the rest we experience around life-giving people. Most of us spend the majority of our time with people who are pulling from our social energy. Not that they’re negative people, but they’re negatively pulling from our energy, whether that’s your spouse, your kids, your coworkers, your clients—they need things from you. They’re pulling from that social energy. You can tell that you’re feeling that if you ever find yourself saying, “Can I just get a moment for me?” You feel like everybody’s taking from your cup, and no one is filling it. 

One of the ways of evaluating your social rest is to think about all of your relationships. Are you always the one who’s pouring out into the lives of others? Do you spend time with people who don’t need anything from you, where you just enjoy each other’s company and each other’s presence? That’s what we want to have in our lives: some people we just enjoy spending time with. Your kids and your spouse can be part of your social rest, but you do have to be aware of the dynamics of the relationship so that you don’t spend all your time pouring yourself into them. Let them pour back into you.

The best and easiest way to take a social rest, is to just say no!

4. Spiritual Rest

Spiritual rest needs vary based on someone’s own belief system. At the very core of that is that need that we all have to feel like we belong—that need that we feel for our work and our efforts to contribute to the greater good. We need to feel like we’re pouring ourselves back into humanity.

Somebody who might be suffering from a spiritual rest deficit is someone who goes to work for a paycheck, but they’re like, “What I do doesn’t really matter. What I do doesn’t benefit anybody. If I do it or don’t do it, if I do it with excellence or not, it’s not going to make a difference.”

If you don’t feel like your work has meaning, you will experience burnout. Find a way to connect to desire for meaning, whether that’s through community, a work culture where you feel like what you do matters, or a faith-based culture. We all have that need to feel like we belong and that we are contributing.

Spiritual rest can mean many different things, but includes meditation, prayer, and practicing gratitude

5. Sensory Rest

Whether or not you are consciously aware of the sensory input around you, your body and your subconscious self are going to respond. That sensory input might be the sound of phones ringing in the background, the bright lights of your computer, the kids playing while you’re at your home office, your notifications on your phone or email, or even the visual backgrounds of everyone on a Zoom call.

All of these sensory inputs over time can cause you to develop sensory overload syndrome. The number one way most of us respond to sensory overload is irritation, agitation, rage, or anger. And so people with a sensory rest deficit may find that you’re good in the beginning of the day, but you can’t understand why at the end of the day you’re so agitated or irritable.

Sensory rest includes putting your phone down, turning off the TV, and saying no to events that may be overwhelming.  It's all about refraining from activities that put your senses on high alert

6. Emotional Rest

Emotional rest specifically refers to the rest we experience when we feel like we can be real and authentic in how we share our feelings. Many of us carry quite a bit of emotional labor privately, in that we don’t share with people what we’re feeling. We may be carrying emotional labor because we don’t want to share with our kids the negative effects of the pandemic and how it’s affected our finances. You may be carrying emotional labor if you’re in management and are responsible for lay offs. It's emotionally taxing to uphold the facade that everything is OK. 

There are a lot of times we carry emotional labor and we hide our feelings without giving them the opportunity to be expressed or exposed. The symptoms of an emotional rest deficit are feeling that you always have to keep your emotions in check, that you never have the freedom to be truly authentic about what you’re feeling.

Emotional rest can include therapy, journaling, or venting to a friend

7. Creative Rest

So creative rest is the rest we experience when we allow ourselves to appreciate beauty in any form. Whether that’s natural beauty, like the oceans and the mountains and the trees, or created beauty, like art, music, and dance.

Signs of this deficit are a hard time being innovative. When you have a hard time brainstorming, when problem-solving is difficult for you. Creativity is more than just art; it’s any type of innovation. A lot of people over the pandemic used an excessive amount of creative energy because everything we previously knew, changed. There was a lot of problem-solving required, which means there was a lot of creative energy required. And most of us, because we don’t see ourselves as creatives, never thought about replenishing that energy. 

Creative rest includes immersing yourself in nature, listening to music, and exploring the fine arts


Restoration + Avoiding Burnout

According to Dr Dalton-Smith, "The restoration process has to be something you can do at almost any time without a lot of limitations. You don’t have to take a three-month sabbatical or some kind of big carved-out period of time. You need a strategy of small things you can do today to start feeling better. I’d rather you do small amounts of restoration through your week than nothing, because then at least you’re pouring a little bit back into those buckets that are getting depleted and not letting them go all the way to burnout."

Restoration can mean something different to everyone so the key is to figure out where you're tapped out, and find ways to rest, recharge and reignite passion. 


In business + skincare,


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