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Episode 13: Sacred Rest, Part I

Description: This week Dr. Boogren is introducing the beginning of a three part series on rest that will inspire every member of your team from the newbies to the vets from teachers to administration.


1. Feel inspired by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith's TedTalk here.

2. Order your copy of the Sacred Rest text here.

3. Finally, explore the rest of Dr. Dalton-Smith's work here.

Listen Now:


Transcription: Hi, and welcome to season three, episode 13 of Self-Care for Educators. I'm your host, Tina Boogren. First of all, I just wanna start us off ... I want you to just take a really deep breath. Whew. I feel like a lot of us have kind of been holding our breath lately that as we move into this chunk of time between Thanksgiving break and our winter break, it's hard. All the teachers that I had been working with, from newbies to experts to vets to just everyone, administrators, the whole gamma, everyone is really in that disillusionment phase this year. I think I say it every year, but I'm gonna say it again. It feels even more intense this year. So, what I'm gonna do for the next three episodes to take us into our winter break is we're going to explore the theme of rest, and we're gonna do this in chunks, because our brain can only handle so much at any given moment.

We're gonna start with ... I want to give you kind of the background here, if this is something you wanna dig into more. So, this work comes from Dr. Sandra Dalton-Smith, she wrote an incredible book entitled Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life. Renew Your Energy. Restore Your Sanity. Whew. Doesn't that sound nice? And, in that she presents this idea that we need seven different types of rest in order to feel fully alive and fully ourselves. She says that the antidote to burnout isn't just say a vacation. It is identifying the types of rest you need most desperately and adopting small strategies to replenish them. Ooh, that sounds so good.

You know, we know sleep is essential. I've harped on sleep for a long time. We talk about sleep as a basic physiological need and as one of the cornerstones of physical wellness. But, what I'm learning more and more and more as I dig into this is that it goes just beyond getting a good night's sleep. In fact, that's what Dr. Dalton Smith talks about is that she kind of reached a place of burnout, and she worked really hard to get good sleep, and she got to a place where she was getting really good sleep, but she was still waking up totally exhausted. And so, that's where she kind of went down this road of figuring out what is going on here. That's what I want us to dig into. So, here's what she says. She says, work-life balance is such a misnomer. No one wants to work on one side of the scale, have work on one side of the scale and life on the other side. And, that scenario, if you think about it, if you're succeeding in one area, you're actually failing in the other. And, that's not what we want. What we actually want is work-life integration or work-life harmony. We want to have this ebb and flow. We can succeed at both and also thrive. So, Dr. Dalton-Smith spent over 10 years researching and looking at the different types of rest and narrowing them down to the ones that she says most people are missing and what people need to be aware of to stay at their personal and professional best.

So, there's seven types. I'm gonna tell you what they are, and we're gonna dig into just a few at a time over these next three weeks. So first, just let me share them, all of them. So, seven different types of rest are physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, social, sensory, and creative. So, each type relies on ... It's got its own set of characteristics, and it will present, they will present themselves if you have a deficit in this area. So, we're gonna dig into the first two today. Physical rest and mental rest. So, when it comes to physical rest, physical rest actually has two components. It has the active component and a passive component. So, passive, that's what we tend to think of. Things like sleeping and napping. And yes, we absolutely need quality sleep at night. Remember, we're going to stop with the revenge bedtime procrastination. We're gonna put our devices away and get a good night's sleep.

When it comes to physical rest, it goes beyond that. It also includes active, that active component. So, this is things like yoga and stretching, using a foam roller, getting a massage, making sure that your workstation like your desk is actually isn't hurting your body even more. This is essential, and I think this is so that we can really start to work on, so you will know that you have an active physical rest deficit if your body has some aches and pains. That just made me kind of stop in my tracks. I have been having this kind of nerve issue down the back of my leg. I think it might be my sciatic nerve. I'm not really sure. What I know for certain is that when I take the time to stretch and do yoga and use a foam roller, it absolutely matters. So, it's like my body telling me this is what you need.

For some of you, it could be swelling in your legs or feet after you've been sitting for a while. It could be like a spasm in your back. So, that is a sign that you need physical rest. You either need to really work on quality sleep at night, or you need to make sure that you are incorporating those active rest kind of activities. Again, that yoga, stretching doesn't have to take a long time, but your body's going to send a signal to you and let you know if this is something that you need. The second type of rest for us to talk about today is mental rest. So, what she says is that someone with a mental rest deficit might find themselves lying down to go to sleep at night, but their mind is racing. It's that feeling of not being able to shut your mind off, not being able to get a quiet so that you can fall asleep. Another example is the person who walks into the grocery store and is trying to find three items that they went in for, and they can't seem to recall the information. That one hits home for me as well.

For these folks they're struggling with concentration and recall, and it's not like we're too old. That ... It's part of that, although for me it might be, but it's someone, it's someone who ... Gosh, when, no matter what age we are, we just cannot hold onto those three items for longer than a, than just a few minutes. Because, of our busy brain, they're not able to hold onto information. So, this is where you guys ... Here's where we've got to get it out of our head. Write it down. Don't rely on our brain. This is why I'm a big fan of just write it down. Just write it down. We think we will remember, and we won't write it down. Put it in your phone. Don't give your brain more work to have to do. Allow yourself some of that mental rest. So, that's what I want you to play around with this week. I want you to think about rest, and I want you to start thinking about physical rest and mental rest. Do you feel like you have a deficit here, a celebration here? How could you incorporate physical and mental rest into your day or days this week? I'm gonna work on it, too.

As always, a huge thank you to Brooke for making this happen. Thank you to Solution Tree and Marzano Resources for this job I get to do, and for you. As always, my bad-ass Self-Care Squad. Oh, let's really think about rest, particularly physical and mental rest this week. You've got it. I'm cheering so hard for you guys. Have an amazing week.

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