The 7 Types of Rest You Need to Avoid Burnout

Have you ever found yourself stuck in a cycle of fatigue, trying to combat your constant lack of energy with more sleep, only to wake up still tired? If that’s you, here’s the secret: Sleep and rest are not synonymous, although many of us incorrectly confuse the two.

We go through life thinking we’re well rested because we have gotten enough sleep — but in reality, we are missing out on the other types of rest we need.

Burnout has become increasingly common in today's fast-paced world. Chronic stress, long working hours and an inability to disconnect from technology can leave us feeling exhausted, both physically and mentally. As a result, we’re suffering from burnout because we don’t understand the true power of rest. These are the 7 types of rest you need to avoid burnout:

1. Physical Rest

Physical rest is the most straightforward type of rest. It includes getting adequate sleep and giving your body the opportunity to recover from exercise or daily activities.

Your mind and body need two types of physical rest, both passive and active:


  • Establish a consistent sleep schedule
  • Nap as required


  • Stretch or do yoga
  • Get a massage

2. Mental Rest

Mental rest involves giving your mind a break from constant stimulation and thought.

  • Write down your to-dos
  • Take a break from problem solving
  • Meditate
  • Set aside time each day to unplug from electronic devices
  • Prioritise leisure activities that allow your mind to wander, such as reading or taking a walk

3. Social Rest

Social rest refers to balancing socialising and solitude.

  • Spend more time with people who give you energy and spend less time with people who steal your energy
  • Establish and communicate your boundaries in social settings
  • Schedule regular alone time to recharge
  • Don't be afraid to say no to social events if you're feeling overwhelmed

4. Spiritual Rest

Spiritual rest is all about being part of something bigger than yourself. This can be achieved through various practices.

  • Volunteer
  • Work a job that feels purpose driven
  • Participate in faith-based activities (if aligned to your belief system)
  • Engage in meditation, or reflection
  • Spend time in nature to feel connected to the world around you
  • Practice gratitude by keeping a journal or sharing your thankfulness with others

5. Sensory Rest

In this digital age, we’re often overstimulated. Sensory rest helps dial down our senses to prevent sensory overload.

  • Take a break from social media
  • Set a relaxing evening ambience (soothing music, candles etc.)
  • Limit screen time and exposure to artificial light, especially before bedtime
  • Use noise-cancelling headphones in noisy environments.

6. Emotional Rest

Feeling unable to express your authentic self leads to emotional unrest. Emotional rest allows you to experience and express your feelings without judgment.

  • Spend time with people you can be authentic around
  • Try talking to someone like a friend or a psychologist to release emotional labour
  • Set boundaries with people who may be emotionally draining

7. Creative Rest

Creative rest is the process of recharging your creative energy and finding inspiration and beauty in the things around you.

  • Take in a sunrise or sunset
  • Go for a walk in nature
  • Expose yourself to new experiences, like visiting a museum or art festival
  • Engage with inspiring music, books, documentaries etc.

It’s easy to forget to look after ourselves and our wellbeing, but we all need rest, every day, in different capacities and areas of our lives. By embracing all seven types of rest, you'll not only avoid burnout but also nurture a happier and healthier self.

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