Hey wild League!
The other day I was scrolling through TikTok and saw a video about the “7 Types of Rest.” I thought, “Do we need 7 types of everything these days?” Yet this was new information and I felt the need to read about it in case I was missing something important.
So many things grab our attention that it's challenging to know what is worth the time to read or watch.
It turns out the 7 types of rest are: physical, mental, emotional, sensory, creative, social, and spiritual. This subject was also a TedX talk by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith. Physical rest might mean sleeping or restorative yoga. Mental rest means taking more breaks through the day to give your brain a rest from always being engaged. Sensory rest means giving your body a break from constant bright lights and loud noises. You see where these are going though, mostly common sense stuff.
I am not suggesting that these rest periods aren’t important. What I am wondering is whether it is necessary for us to have to think about so many things that we are supposed to be doing in order to ensure our health and well-being. The amount of information we are exposed to just in terms of health is astonishing…and it makes things more confusing that they need to be.
In a similar vein, I saw someone else who had made videos that were targeted mobility work. I’m a fan of mobility and think most people need a lot more of it! But in this case, these videos were marketed as “When you do this stretch for 2 weeks and your lifetime of knee pain disappears” which I found overly simplistic. Targeting mobility is sometimes what we need. But this content creator had around 250 videos all targeting various common ailments, like sore knees, hips, and lower backs. How is someone supposed to know which of the 250 videos are the most important to do? How do we begin to make decisions for our health when there is SO much information out there?
Likewise, are we supposed to make time in our days and our planners to work in 7 different ways of resting our minds and bodies?
I love information. Our medical world mostly does a poor job of helping us to understand what we can do at home to contribute to our health outcomes, so I truly appreciate the people who are working to get information out to people. But that leaves us, as content consumers, on the hook for knowing what to apply, and how. It’s a tall order, and it takes time for us to learn all of that information. There is just so much of it that it can paralyze us from knowing where to go next because there are too many options and everything seems really important.
So what can we do? I think we can simplify much of the content that is out there and combine things to ensure we are well-rounded and hitting the most important factors. For example, a walk in nature can take care of a significant number of those 7 types of rest. Likewise it lubricates the joints and helps our stress management, our mental health, and helps us sleep better later. The same is often true for yoga, swimming, or strength training. For me, strength training is how I work intensity and restlessness out of my body. When I am too sedentary, my body can’t rest, ironically. For me, it is a way to help my body to relax and rest, even though it’s a challenging activity.
This goes for our minds, too. We have access to so much information that is being thrown at us at all times. Books/audio books, podcasts, studies, blogs, and 34 million new videos every day that get posted to TikTok alone. We can’t possibly consume even a fraction of it. For some people that fact alone causes them extra stress – knowing that there will always be a podcast or a book that they are missing out on. FOMO at its worst.
But so many of these points that everyone is throwing at is can easily be reduced to a handful of actions based on our values, if we so choose. My goal, as I’ve mentioned before, is to live a life of wildness close to the cycles of nature. I can use that to guide me in what content deserves my attention. Is this piece of information likely to move me closer to my goal? Or is it just a curious distraction? I’m curious about a lot of things and I love to learn, so I’m not suggesting that you give that up. Just that it’s important you learn how to discern that something is worth your attention and time.
When it comes to the “7 Type of Sleep” types of things, for me those mostly aren’t worth my time not because they are wrong, but because I already know that information. After seeing the 7 types I knew exactly what would be recommended and I stopped reading at that point because I already integrate those things into my daily health practices naturally. If something grabs my attention, I look at it quick and determine if it’s new information that will be beneficial or if it’s just a distraction.
You can take areas of your life and put them to the test to see if new temptations will bring you closer to your goals or not. I often get sucked into nutrition info, including podcasts that are sometimes 3 hours long! Yet I know that the advice is almost always the same: Eat real food. Pay attention to where it comes from. Limit processed junk. I don’t need to know more than that to fulfill my goals. Now, if that 3 hour podcast has info that you can use, by all means enjoy it! My point is that too often I seek out content that I already have the answers to and as a result I’m just using that content to distract myself. It leaves me feeling like I am always waiting for that one perfect bit of information to fall into my lap so I can finally start on the right path. I spend a lot of time “restarting” as a result. There’s no need to do that. Do something consistently and you’ll see results.
Simplify. Seek out opportunities to combine simple actions that tick multiple boxes. It’s just like weight lifting. When you perform compound moves, you are getting more work done in the same amount of time. Similarly, you can go for a walk in the woods and tick almost all the “type of rest” boxes. You can do a solid mobility routine and touch all the areas in 20 minutes that took 250 videos for someone to explain on TikTok.
You likely have a solid idea of what works for you already. You just need to do it consistently for the results to come rather than believing that a single video or blog has all the answers you seek. It always takes trial and error to figure out what our bodies need compared to everyone else. Once you know, you can run with it and know it’ll serve you well.
Have a wild weekend!