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The Seven Types of Rest Every Teacher Should Know Before Going Back to School

"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time." ― John Lubbock, The Use Of Life

Have you ever found yourself waking up tired, even after getting a full eight hours of sleep? Do you often feel drained and exhausted throughout the day? You're not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 1 in 3 adults in the United States don't get enough rest or sleep on a daily basis.

Rest is not just a luxury; it's essential for teachers. Just like professional athletes schedule quality rest in their training routines, teachers need rest to perform at their best. Rest allows your mind to focus, boosts your motivation, reduces stress, increases resilience, and helps prevent burnout.

As summer break unfolds and you finally have a chance to catch your breath, it's crucial to recognize the significance of rest in recharging your mind, body, and spirit. I understand the demands you face throughout the school year, which is why I want to share with you the transformative power of seven distinct types of rest. The seven forms of rest is rooted in and inspired by the research of Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith. By exploring and implementing these forms of rest, you'll not only revitalize yourself but also enhance your teaching practice, leaving a lasting impact on your students' lives.

So, let's dive into the different forms of rest that can help you restore balance in your life and experience a greater sense of well-being. Let's start by identifying which type of rest resonates with you:

👩🏽‍🎨 Creative Rest:

Do you feel like you've lost your creative spark? Are you struggling to come up with fresh ideas for your lessons? If so, you need creative rest. Take time to engage in activities that bring you joy and curiosity, allowing your imagination to awaken. Explore hobbies like painting, writing, or crafting, where your mind can wander freely and unlock new realms of self-expression.

🧘🏽‍♀️ Emotional Rest:

Do you often find yourself on edge, easily triggered by even the smallest things? Are you struggling to regulate your emotions? It's time for emotional rest. You're running on empty. Find activities that bring you joy and peace, such as mindfulness or setting healthy boundaries. Seek support from colleagues or loved ones to help you cultivate emotional resilience.

🚶🏽‍♀️ Mental Rest:

Do you constantly overthink, struggling to quiet your mind even after school hours? Are you finding it difficult to concentrate and recharge? You need mental rest. Your thoughts have become overwhelming and draining. Engage in activities that promote relaxation and mental clarity. Consider a digital detox, nature walk, or journaling to calm your mind and restore mental balance.

💃🏽 Physical Rest:

Do you juggle multiple tasks and responsibilities without taking a break? Are you physically and mentally exhausted, struggling to concentrate, and feeling drained even after a full night's sleep? It's time for physical rest. Prioritize activities that allow your body to recover, repair, and replenish. Establish a consistent sleep routine, engage in gentle stretching or yoga, and embrace activities like swimming or dancing.

🛀🏽 Sensory Rest:

Are you highly sensitive to external stimuli like noise, bright lights, or constant interruptions? Do you feel overwhelmed and anxious in a bustling school environment? It's time for sensory rest. Your senses need a break. Seek out quiet and peaceful environments, indulge in relaxation techniques like a soothing massage, or create sensory-friendly experiences like an aromatherapy bath to regain focus and calm.

👯 Social Rest:

Do you find yourself seeking validation and approval from others? Is setting boundaries and saying no a challenge for you? You may be neglecting your own personal space. It's time for social rest. Nurture your relationships and foster meaningful connections. Take time for solitude, prioritize quality time with loved ones, or enjoy a game night with friends to recharge and rejuvenate your social energy.

💆🏽‍♀️ Spiritual Rest:

Do you feel like you're going through the motions, lacking a sense of purpose or deeper meaning in your teaching? Do you yearn for a greater sense of purpose? It's time for spiritual rest. Nurture your soul and cultivate a sense of purpose. Engage in gratitude practices like writing in a gratitude journal, seeking moments of reflection through prayer, or writing positive affirmations. These practices can help you reconnect with your inner self, find a deeper sense of meaning, and restore your spiritual well-being.


Now that we've explored the various types of rest, you can see that rest is not a luxury but a necessity for your overall well-being and the success of your teaching journey. Rest will help you maintain your passion and reach your teaching potential. By implementing these seven types of rest into your life, you'll create a solid foundation for the upcoming school year. Take inspiration from the activities mentioned and personalize them to suit your preferences and lifestyle.

As you cultivate a restful mindset, you'll notice how your energy, passion, and enthusiasm soar. I encourage you to commit to a rest plan, incorporating these practices into your daily, weekly, and monthly routine. Remember, by prioritizing your own well-being, you become an even greater force of impact within your classroom. Embrace the power of rest and witness the transformative ripple effect it has on both your students and your teaching.

Whatever you choose to include in your rest plan, I hope you rest well, recharge, and get ready to shine brightly in the upcoming school year!


We invite you to join the Restful Teacher 31-Day Challenge and embark on a transformative journey towards a healthier and more balanced teaching journey. This challenge will provide you with daily prompts and guidance to incorporate the seven types of rest into your routine, helping you cultivate a restful mindset and experience the profound benefits of rest. Don’t miss this opportunity to prioritize your well-being and unleash your full potential as a teacher. Sign up now and let the rest revolution begin! Click here to join the challenge:


Dalton-Smith, S. (2019). Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity. FaithWords.

Dalton-Smith, S., MD. (2022, October 16). The 7 types of rest that every person needs.


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