I am Rested. I am Exhausted.
Both are true.
I just returned from a ten-day vacation in the UK. It was delightful, but I am exhausted.
These big trips with extensive international travel always leave me feeling this way. There are the time changes, the long travel days, the never fully adjusting to the beds, lights, and noises in hotels. Food is delicious, but different than my day-to-day fare.
This always leaves me feeling like I’ve missed the mark somehow. I took a vacation, this precious time off to refuel. I should feel rested, right? And yet, I’m so very tired. Clearly, I’m doing it wrong. I’m failing at vacation.
Thinking about this today, I found myself reflecting on what I've recently learned about Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith's work on types of rest. She categorizes rest into seven different types: physical, mental, emotional, sensory, creative, social, and spiritual. For most of us, when we hear the word "rest," we usually think of physical rest like napping, sleeping, or being still in some way. The sort of activity that makes us feel less physically tired. However, Dalton-Smith suggests that there are many different ways to find rest (here's a good primer on all seven of them).
Applying this framework helps me understand that while I am not physically rested from my trip, I did actually get rest in other ways.
I experienced social rest by spending time with friends and being refueled by their company. These moments were filled with laughter, joy, and the comfort of being with people who truly get you. There was also a lot of emotional rest that came from being surrounded by this supportive community of friends.
I experienced sensory rest by limiting my interaction with my phone (i.e., email and social media) to certain times when I had access to Wi-Fi. Traveling and exploring new places also heightened my senses and brought me into the present moment. Not knowing where everything is and seeing new things every day provided a sense of mindfulness (mental rest) as well.
I also experienced creative rest through visits to art museums, cities full of interesting architecture, drives through the countryside, and spending time walking the grounds of a beautiful wedding venue.
Turns out, I didn’t fail at vacationing. I am both exhausted AND I am am also so very well-rested in all the other ways. Got to love a good both/and reframe.
Now off to put myself to bed early all week.
Beautiful Thing of the Week
One additional little thing bringing me joy (in addition to all the above):
🎥 The difference between British and American weights and measurements came up a few times in those laughter filled conversations with friends, making this video feel very timely:
*Thanks for sharing, Lindsay ()!
What are your thoughts on these types of rest? Have you had experiences where you feel rested in some ways but not in others? What’s bringing you tiny joy this week?
Be well, find tiny joy-