5 Types Of Rest To Help Revive Your Energy, From A Functional Medicine Expert
Are you tired of being tired? After starting one of the first telehealth functional medicine clinics over 10 years ago, I found myself needing rest more than ever. Over the years of honing what that means for my life and my patients, I see that rest isn't a one-size-fits-all approach and can come in many forms that are all equally important.
So take a look and see what type of rest you need the most right now—hint: It might be all five:
Time on pause
Burnout is a very real thing and can come from taking on too much responsibility at once, without setting up healthy boundaries. Taking a breather is so crucial: You have to give yourself time to refill your own cup so that you have something to pour into others.
A break from responsibility can look differently for everyone—whether that's blocking off certain days of the week, taking a whole week's pause, or going an entire season with nothing on your plate. You can't beat burnout until you let yourself rest.
Within the grind of the day-to-day, setting time aside to be alone and enjoy your own company can leave you feeling more refreshed than you might expect. Spending time by yourself gives you the space to reflect on everything that is happening around you. Not only will this give you clarity into situations that might be a point of exhaustion, but it will also allow you to get to know yourself better—which will help you set up healthy boundaries and know what you stand for when life gets stressful and tiring. (Worried about FOMO? Check out my take on JOMO: the joy of missing out.)
Sometimes, you just need actual sleep to feel rested. Since our society glorifies busyness, it can leave you burning the candle at both ends—too many late nights followed by early wake-up calls. Experts advise getting seven or more hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep every night to function optimally, if you aren't getting that, it's no wonder you feel exhausted all of the time.
You might just need a nap to do the trick and get you through the day. But if you find yourself needing this kind of rest on a regular basis, it's probably time to think about rehabbing your sleep habits.
The Japanese concept of shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, can be a very restorative practice. Research even suggests it may help lower stress and support healthy inflammation levels1.
While it can be easy to forgo time outdoors in favor of hours in front of your TV or phone, there are virtually no studies that show a link between screen time and feelings of rest. In fact, it's usually the opposite2.
So next time you are tempted to shut off and mindlessly tune in to technology, consider going for a walk instead. Even just 10 minutes can be enough to leave you feeling more refreshed.
Time with others
In order for time spent with others to be truly refreshing, it needs to be with people around whom you can be your most whole, authentic self. While we should always strive to be ourselves in every situation, not everyone should be privy to your innermost struggles, thoughts, and feelings.
Unfortunately, there are people out there who don't have your best interests at heart, and sharing your challenges or dreams can be met with resistance, belittling, and discouragement—which can be truly exhausting to battle. Instead, spending time with those in your circle who build you up will leave you feeling rested, not drained.
Remember, wellness isn't just about the food you eat. It's also about allowing yourself to rest so you can be the best, most thriving version of yourself every day.
Will Cole, IFMCP, DNM, D.C., is a leading functional medicine expert who consults people around the globe, starting one of the first functional medicine telehealth centers in the world. Named one of the top 50 functional and integrative doctors in the nation, Dr. Will Cole provides a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. He is the host of the popular The Art Of Being Well podcast and the New York Times bestselling author of Intuitive Fasting, Ketotarian,The Inflammation Spectrum, and the brand new book Gut Feelings: Healing the Shame-Fueled Relationship Between What You Eat and How You Feel.