The seven types of rest for long-term performance.

You may have noticed that I don’t have consistent content programming. I write sporadically, and on a myriad of topics spanning self-development, business, and performance.

I usually write after I’ve had a chance to reflect on things that pop up in life and business. Sometimes it’s about a new podcast, book, or a mental model I’ve come across.

Recently, I injured myself (no biggie — i’m fine). It forced me to put an abrupt stop to my routine, which in hindsight — I’m thankful for.

I was pretty bitter about it. But it gave me the opportunity to slow down, reflect, and rest.

I used to think of rest as form of weakness. Why stop when you can keep going?

That was poor judgement.

Rest is critical to productivity and performance:

  • Sleep facilitates information storage and activates our cognitive self-cleaning mechanism (the glymphatic system).

  • Rest allows our muscles (that have been broken down during exercise) to heal and recover, which is key to development and hypertrophy.

  • Breaks let our brains to enter a ‘default mode network’, allowing our minds to retrieve memories, link ideas, and synthesize complex concepts.

  • Relaxation allows our minds to wander and come up with creative ideas. An advertising Creative Director once told me he got his creative ideas (slogans, art direction) during periods of rest. He would intentionally schedule blocks of time at the office to play table tennis — and his ideas would appear during this time.


Rest is a vital source of fuel. Adam Grant couldn’t have put it better:


Medicine physician Saundra Dalton-Smith M.D talks about 7 types of rest:

  • Physical — Can be active (yoga) or passive (napping) to restore our bodies.

  • Mental — Giving our brains a break by scheduling breaks or journalling to calm your monkey mind.

  • Sensory — Providing a much-needed break from all the stimulus in everyday life: music, lights, screens, sirens, chatter — you name it. Meditation is helpful here.

  • Creative — Allow yourself to be inspired and be in awe. Nature, architecture, music, poetry, sports are examples here.

  • Emotional — Creating the opportunity to freely express your authentic feelings.

  • Social — Surround yourself with positive people and good energy.

  • Spiritual — Be a part of something greater than yourself and build community.

Try this:

If you’re reading Musings & Perspective, you’re probably a high-performing, self-aware, growth-oriented individual, who is working their butt off.

Take a second this weekend to reflect, and assess your need for rest on the domains above (physical, mental, sensory, creative, emotional, social, spiritual).

What are your instincts telling you?

Additionally, try these exercises:

  • Pick a day to do a full digital and social media detox. Turn off all notifications and spend a day with minimal technology and no internet.

  • Excuse yourself from all obligations and take a day to do absolutely nothing. No brunch, no chores, no work. See where your mind takes you,

It’ll be worth it, I promise.

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