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The 7 Types of Rest to Avoid Burnout and Adrenal Fatigue

Acupuncture for burnout and adrenal fatigue

It's a constant struggle. We juggle, work, relationships, kids, exercise, personal commitments, and somehow, rest feels like something that never takes priority.

But the truth is, neglecting rest is a recipe for burnout, with stress, fatigue and overwhelm leading to decreased productivity, weakened health, rifts in relationships. So, how do we prioritise rest when our schedules are already bursting at the seams?

The answer lies in understanding that rest isn't a reward, it's a necessity. It's the foundation for a thriving life, not a luxury to be enjoyed only when time permits or when you reach burnout stage.

I know it's cliche to say but this is a saying for a reason - you quite simply can't fill someone elses cup if yours is empty.

Whether it's being a mother, excelling in the workplace, building your business or nurturing relationships, our ability to care for others is directly tied to our own state of wellbeing. When we prioritise rest, we refill our own cup, allowing us to show up fully present, patiently, and with genuine care for the people or tasks around us.

This translates to being more present with your kids or partner, increased productivity and engagement at work, and stronger, more authentic connections in our personal lives. By prioritising your rest, you're not just investing in yourself, you're investing in the quality of your health, your interactions with those around you and the wellbeing of those who rely on you.

In Chinese Medicine burnout or adrenal fatigue is generally linked to our Kidney Qi, which represents the energy required to fuel our entire body. It is also supplemented by the food that we eat, our digestive energy (Spleen and Stomach Qi), and our lifestyle habits plays an important part of protecting this Kidney Qi. When we constantly rush through life with no energy we are draining our vital Kidney reserves - which can directly impact hormones, fertility, ageing and more.

In today's modern, fast paced world, burnout is a constant threat. We push ourselves to the limit, neglecting the essential need for rest. But true rest goes beyond simply getting enough sleep. To truly combat burnout and adrenal fatigue we need to address a broader spectrum of our lifestyle and start looking at other forms of rest that can help us feel more energised, productive and emotionally balanced.

Here are the seven types of rest we can start to think about when you feel you have no time to prioritise rest:

1. Physical Rest: This involves giving your body time to recover from daily activities and exercise. It is not only prioritising quality sleep,but other activities such as taking regular breaks throughout the day to move your body, having naps when you need it/can have one, and activities like stretching, yoga, facial gua sha or massages.

How do I rest when I dont have time?

2. Mental Rest: Give your mind a break from constant stimulation. Letting your mind wander instead of being intensely focused all the time. Practice mindfulness activities like meditation, spend time in nature, avoid screen time before bed, and engage in hobbies that require less mental effort to give your mind the break it needs.

3. Social Rest: Evaluate your social interactions. Spend time with people who energise you and limit contact with those who drain your energy. Say no to social events when you need alone time or are simply exhausted from running from activity to activity, and set boundaries to maintain a healthy social balance.

4. Emotional Rest: Acknowledge and address your emotions. Practice self-compassion, prioritise activities that bring you joy, and express your feelings in healthy ways. Seek professional help if you struggle to manage difficult emotions. Vulnerability to acknowledge that you struggle with this shows strength, not weakness.

5. Sensory Rest: Limit your exposure to overwhelming sensory input such as phones and devices. Turn off notifications, dim lights during relaxation time, and create a calming environment at home. Engage in activities that provide sensory soothing, such as listening to calming music or taking a nature walk.

6. Creative Rest: Take breaks from creative pursuits. Don't force creativity when inspiration wanes. Allow yourself to engage in mindless activities or hobbies that differ from your creative endeavors to replenish your creative energy. On the flipside listen to music, do something different like taking that ceramic art class.

7. Spiritual Rest: Connect with something greater than yourself that provides a feeling a community. This can involve spiritual practices (whatever that means to you), spending time in nature, volunteering, or engaging in activities that foster a sense of purpose and belonging.

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for burnout

You don't need to implement all of these types of rest over night.

You can start to incorporate these into your routine as a preventative measure to combating burnout and start working towards a more balanced life with better energy, resilience, and wellbeing to be present in the things that mean the most to you. Just remember, it's not a sign of weakness to prioritise rest, but an investment in a healthier, happier you and the things that mean the most to you.

Here are some simple strategies to integrate the seven types of rest into your busy life:

1. Micro-rests throughout the day: Short breaks are powerful. Take five minutes for deep breathing exercises, a mindful walk, or simply stretching your body. These micro-moments of pause can significantly improve your focus and energy levels throughout the day.

2. Schedule rest like you schedule appointments: Treat rest with the same respect you give important meetings. Block out time in your calendar for sleep, hobbies, or simply "quiet time." This helps you visualise your need for rest and prevents it from getting squeezed out by other commitments.

3. Identify your energy drains: Be honest about what depletes your energy. Are there specific tasks, people, or situations that leave you feeling drained? Look for ways to minimise their impact, delegate tasks, set boundaries to suit your energy levels.

4. Prioritise quality sleep: Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. Establish a regular sleep schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine, and optimise your sleep environment for darkness and quiet.

5. Multitask your rest: Combine activities whenever possible. Listen to calming music while commuting to work, practice mindfulness while doing household chores, or connect with friends during a relaxing walk in nature.

6. Delegate and say no: Don't be afraid to delegate tasks or politely decline commitments that overload your schedule. Protecting your time for rest is essential for your overall wellbeing.

Remember, prioritising rest isn't selfish. It's an investment in your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing for yourself that feeds into your entire life. So, the next time you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, remember: rest isn't a luxury, it's a necessity. Be gentle with yourself.

If you are struggling with finding a regular pattern for exercise and mindfulness, you can download the free MOVE & MIND planner which keeps you on track.

It also:

  • helps set healthy habits around exercise and mindfulness and how equally important they are

  • monitors how you feel before and after each planned activity

  • provides reflection and creates awareness of how each movement and mindfulness activity makes you feel, how much you are able to realistically fit in every week and how it needs to shift to suit your lifestyle and aims

  • sits very prominently on the fridge to let people in the house know that you have made a commitment to carve out time to do something for yourself, to actively support your physical, emotional and mental health

Glow is here to support your stress, emotions, fatigue and burnout either in clinic or virtual consultation. Book here for Acupuncture or Chinese Medicine for burnout, stress and anxiety.

(The 7 Types of Rest from Sacred Rest, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith).

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