Portrait of male resting at home on his couch

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.

Have a read below and see what type of rest you need the most right now—hint: It might be all five:

1. 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 different for everyone. It may be blocking out certain days of the week, taking a whole week’s pause, or going an entire season with nothing on your plate. The thing is, you can’t beat burnout until you let yourself rest.

2. Time Alone

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 exhausting you, 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.

3. Time Sleeping

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’re not 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.

4. Time Outdoors

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 levels.

While it can be easy to forgo time outdoors in favour 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 opposite.

So the 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.

5. 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.