By Dr Saundra Dalton-Smith
It was during an online conference on sleep that I first encountered Dr Saundra Dalton-Smith’s work and her book, Sacred Rest. It came as an enlightening surprise to when she illuminated the importance of seven types of rest – of which sleep and the physical act of resting is just one. It piqued my interest immediately, made instinctive sense, and now I can’t imagine thinking any other way about how I rest myself.
So, how is it we’ve over-simplified rest so much that we pretty much think we’re either busy doing things or we’re asleep? I don’t think many of us are very good at embracing ‘rest’ and many of us were raised to think it was a bit lazy to just sit around doing nothing.
Resting is not popular. It seems slack, boring and well, a bit pointless. If I’m tired, I’ll sleep. If I want to just ‘switch off’ after a long day in the office I’ll just watch some Netflix, right? Wrong. Watching Netflix may actually be taxing your sensory energy even more. I got pulled up by this one!
Alas, there is SO much to understand about the power of rest to truly replenish us. And the good news is that once you have your head around it, you can become skilled at giving yourself the particular kind of rest you need in order to fill your tank best.
“A well-rested life is a secret hidden in plain sight. It is a life at one with God, self, and others. It’s a life strengthened by winding down the expectations of others and charging up your expectations for yourself. You become in tune with what you need to be at your best.”
Like many informative books, Sacred Rest was borne out of Dr Dalton-Smiths’ personal journey with energy issues and the need for replenishment as a busy doctor. In her very readable book with many client case studies and stories, she maps out the seven types of rest, providing good examples for each, and helps the reader think about how they might want to apply it to themselves.
She talks about the types of rest we might expect to hear about like physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, but also sensory, creative and social rest also. All of these aspects of ourselves benefit from the right kind of tank-filling activities that truly replenish us and have us feeling truly energised for a full and enjoyable life.
“Rest is not for weaklings. Hollowing out space for rest is work…It means having limits with ourselves. It means having limits with others. It takes courage to rest in the midst of an outcome-driven society. It takes strength to walk away from good in the pursuit of better.”