The Seven Types of Rest

Let’s be real, as working dads, our idea of rest often boils down to catching a decent amount of shut eye and calling it a day. But with our calendars looking like a game of Tetris, there’s more to winding down than just clocking out. We’ve got a whole spectrum of rest to explore that goes beyond the usual Z’s. Think of it as fine-tuning seven different parts of your life, from the brain cells to your soul. It’s about getting your head clear, your emotions in check, and even your senses a little holiday. We’re talking about mixing in some quiet moments, letting your creativity loose, enjoying some ‘me’ time, and finding some everyday purpose to feel good about. Don’t worry, it’s not about being lazy; it’s about playing the long game so you can ace being the pro at work and the hero at home. Ready to dive into these seven types of chill that could seriously up your dad game? Let’s break them down

The concept of the seven types of rest was popularized by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, a physician and author, particularly through her book “Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity,” where she discusses these types as part of her research and perspectives on rest and its importance to overall health. Let’s see what that means for busy working Dads.

What are the seven types of rest?

What are the seven types of rest?

1. Physical Rest:

Involves sleeping, lying down, practicing yoga, and walking to rejuvenate the body.

2. Mental Rest:

Achieved through mindfulness, meditation, and taking breaks to clear the mind.

3. Emotional Rest:

This entails expressing emotions and getting support from others to manage emotional stress.

4. Sensory Rest:

Focuses on avoiding overwhelming stimuli and digital detoxing to give the senses a break.

5. Creative Rest:

Involves engaging with art, music, and nature to feel inspired and rejuvenate creative energy.

6. Social Rest:

Spending time alone to recharge from social interactions.

7. Spiritual Rest:

inding purpose in daily routines to connect with one’s sense of a larger existential framework.

Some of this may be about developing new habits which we discuss in depth on the Dads in Business blog. Check it out!


For the working dad, ‘physical rest’ isn’t just about grabbing sleep between work and a child’s midnight wake-up calls. It’s about smart, conscious choices that help the body bounce back from daily wear and tear.

First, prioritize quality sleep. Even if you can’t extend the hours, make sure the ones you get are solid—think comfort, darkness, and a hint of coolness in your bedroom. Quick power naps can be lifesavers, too. If possible, sneak in a 20-minute snooze during lunch to recharge your batteries.

Then, let’s talk daytime. Even a 10-minute walk during a break can work wonders for your body and mind, shaking off the stiffness and refreshing your thoughts. Incorporate stretches or basic yoga moves into your morning routine or after work—it doesn’t have to be an hour-long session; even a few minutes can increase blood flow and reduce stress.

Lastly, standing desks are a hit for a reason. If you can, alternate between sitting and standing while you work. It’s a simple switch that can reduce back pain and keep the energy levels steadier than that third cup of coffee.

Putting physical rest into practice means being intentional with the moments you have. It’s about making small shifts in your daily routine that, collectively, keep you in the game both at home and in the office.

For more about sleep fitness and quality sleep, check out this brilliant conversation on the Dads In Business YouTube all about Sleep Fitness.


Mental rest for the busy dad is like hitting the refresh button on your favourite device—it’s essential for keeping things running smoothly. It’s not about long, drawn-out meditation sessions you can’t fit into your day. It’s about finding pockets of peace in the hustle and bustle.

Try mindfulness on the go. Instead of scrolling through emails at red lights, take a deep breath and notice your surroundings. These mini-mindful moments can add up to major calm. And meditation? It doesn’t need an hour of silence; just five minutes in your parked car before you head into the house can shift your mind from work stress to home life.

Then there’s the art of the break. A quick pause between tasks—think stretching, a stroll to the water cooler, or just closing your eyes for a minute—can stop stress in its tracks. It’s about giving your brain a breather before it switches gears.

Remember, it’s not selfish to take these moments. It’s smart. You’re equipping yourself to be more present and patient both at work and at home. Integrating mental rest isn’t just good for you; it’s a win for the whole family.


Emotional rest is crucial, yet often overlooked, especially for dads who are used to putting on a brave face. It’s not about keeping it all together; it’s about letting it out in healthy ways. This could mean having an honest chat with your partner after the kids are in bed or calling a friend to vent about a tough day.

It’s also about acknowledging when you’re stretched too thin and seeking support—whether from a trusted confidante or a professional. Remember, seeking help isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a strategy for resilience. It’s about finding balance, so you’re not always the rock, but sometimes the one being anchored.

Consider setting up a regular check-in with your buddies or joining a dads’ group. Sometimes just knowing you’re not in this alone can lighten the load. And if the day gets too heavy, step aside for a moment, take a few deep breaths, and remind yourself that it’s okay to feel.

By making emotional rest a non-negotiable part of your routine, you’re ensuring that you can be emotionally available and strong for those who need you most. You’ll be surprised how much a little emotional honesty can refresh your spirit and improve your relationships at home and work.


Sensory overload isn’t just a buzzword—it’s a daily reality for many dads. Between the pings of work emails and the weekend warrior’s DIY drills, our senses are constantly bombarded. Sensory rest is about dialling it back to give our eyes, ears, and minds a moment to decompress.

Start with something simple: designate tech-free zones or times at home. Maybe the dinner table is just for conversation, or after 8 p.m., the smartphones go to sleep, too. Use this time to engage with your kids or partner, or just enjoy the rare silence.

At work, if you can, turn off unnecessary notifications. Choose specific times to check emails instead of being at the mercy of every ‘ding’. Even changing your phone to grayscale can lessen the visual strain.

And don’t underestimate the power of nature. A quiet walk outside, away from screens and machines, can be surprisingly restorative. If you’re stuck indoors, try dimming the lights now and then, or even using noise-cancelling headphones to block out the office buzz for a few minutes.

Sensory rest is about finding pockets of peace in a world that’s always on. It’s a chance for your senses to take a breather, so you can ultimately engage more fully with life’s moments—both loud and quiet.


Creative rest isn’t just for artists—it’s for every dad who’s ever solved a problem at work or figured out how to fix a toy without the instructions. It’s about sparking the imagination and finding inspiration in the world around you.

To tap into this, you don’t need to paint a masterpiece or write a symphony. It can be as simple as listening to your favourite album on the drive home, swapping out the news podcast for some jazz or classic rock. At home, you might spend a few moments with a book that transports you to another world, or just sitting with your kids and letting their boundless imagination lead the way.

Get outside when you can. A walk in the park, a weekend hike, or just tending to your garden can help reset your mind and get those creative juices flowing. It’s about appreciating beauty and letting it refresh your thinking.

Even rearranging your workspace to include some personal touches—a photo that brings back good memories, a plant, or a doodle pad—can make a big difference. These little changes can help keep your mind fresh for when you need to think outside the box.

Creative rest is recharging through inspiration. It’s a reminder that creativity isn’t a luxury—it’s a part of life that keeps it vibrant, solutions flowing, and work and family life enriched.


For the dad who’s always there for a game of catch, a parent-teacher meeting, or a catch-up with the crew, social rest is the unsung hero of your day. It’s about carving out the time to step back and enjoy some solitude. Alone time isn’t selfish; it’s a way to ensure you can be your best self for those around you.

How do you find it? Wake up a bit earlier to savour a coffee in quiet, or take the long route home from work some days. Use this time to reflect or just be. Maybe it’s a solo jog where the only footsteps you hear are your own, or a quiet hobby that lets you get lost in your thoughts.

It’s also about setting boundaries. It’s okay to say no to social obligations that feel more draining than fulfilling. It’s not about cutting people out; it’s about giving yourself the time you need to recharge.

Remember, taking time for yourself to just be, to ponder, or to unwind, without the constant pull of social interaction, is crucial. It’s these quiet moments that can recharge your social batteries and give you the space you need to be the social, engaging dad you want to be.


Spiritual rest might sound lofty, but for a dad who’s always on the move, it’s about grounding yourself in something bigger amidst the chaos of daily tasks. It’s less about specific beliefs and more about feeling connected to a larger purpose that gives meaning to the hustle.

This could be as simple as mindful moments where you consider the impact of your work and your role in your family. It’s finding those instances that remind you why you do what you do—like the smile on your kid’s face over a bedtime story or the satisfaction of a job well done.

You can find it in routine, too. Maybe it’s a morning affirmation while brushing your teeth, or thinking of three things you’re grateful for before you even get out of bed. These acts don’t just set the tone for the day; they connect you to a sense of gratitude and purpose.

And if you’re religious or spiritual, it might mean prayer or meditation in the morning or evening, or volunteering some of your time for a cause that’s close to your heart. It’s anything that helps you tap into a sense of peace and understanding that there’s more to life than the to-do list.

Integrating spiritual rest into your life can help align your daily grind with your values and beliefs, providing a powerful source of energy and motivation.


Understanding and embracing the various types of rest can transform a working dad’s life from a series of tasks to a more balanced and fulfilling journey. Physical rest is about more than sleep; it’s about finding moments to let your body recover through brief walks or yoga. Mental rest can be as easy as mindful breathing at traffic lights or a five-minute meditation session in your car. Emotional rest involves honest conversations and seeking support when needed. Sensory rest means setting tech boundaries and enjoying nature. Creative rest is fuelled by engaging with the arts and your environment, while social rest is found in cherished moments of solitude. Lastly, spiritual rest connects you to the bigger picture, offering a sense of purpose in everyday routines.

For more detailed insights and strategies on these rests, consider the following resources:

1. Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith—This book lays the groundwork for understanding the seven types of rest and offers practical advice for integrating them into your life.

2. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle—A guide that touches on the importance of presence, which can contribute significantly to mental and spiritual rest.

3. Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker, PhD—While focused on physical rest, this book provides a deep dive into the science of sleep, emphasizing its critical role in overall well-being.

Exploring these types of rest can help working dads not just survive but thrive in their dual roles at home and at work.

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