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Déjà Leonard is a copywriter and freelance journalist based in Calgary.

Lina DaSilva started her business, Toronto Shine Cleaning, in 2019. By 2020 she was facing extreme burnout.

“Burnout for me was like a shadow that gradually, yet persistently, crept in,” she says. “I felt like a machine that was running on low battery. There was a constant sense of exhaustion, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally too.”

So, Ms. DaSilva decided to book herself a vacation in Banff, Alta. She took two weeks off to surround herself in nature and take time away from the constant calls and emails.

Yet, when she came back home to Toronto, she says “the underlying issues remained unaddressed.” She was still exhausted.

Ms. DaSilva, like more than three-quarters (78 per cent) of Canadian workers, according to a survey by the Harris Poll on behalf of Express Services Inc., say they’ve felt burnt out in their careers at some point.

While owning your own business is a distinct experience, the complexity of burnout remains the same.

The seven types of rest you need

Megan Rafuse, psychotherapist and chief executive officer of therapy practice Shift Collab, said she and her team have seen an increase in patients facing burnout over the past few years.

This lines up with recent global data from McKinsey & Co. that shows that, on average, one in four employees are reporting experiencing symptoms of burnout.

“Burnout can present as this chronic feeling of depletion, hopelessness, avoidance, criticism, a lack of productivity and mental and emotional exhaustion,” Ms. Rafuse says.

However, she said that burnout is a complex issue, and getting more sleep or taking a vacation often isn’t enough.

There are seven different types of rest everyone needs: physical, mental, emotional, sensory, creative, social and spiritual. These seven types that Ms. Rafuse works on with her patients were first devised by internal medicine physician and author Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith.

Physical rest is what most people might think of when combating burnout. Things like making sure you get enough sleep and doing gentle exercise such as yoga.

Mental rest means you’re allowing yourself to decompress and clear your mind.

“Write your worries in your notebook and put your notebook down before you go to sleep,” Ms. Rafuse advises.

Sensory rest is more about what you’re consuming and what’s going on around you. For example, try taking a break from the doom scrolling at night, and even taking healthy breaks from the sensory stimuli of being around your children if you’re a parent or guardian.

Creative rest can be more of an action, Ms. Rafuse says. Things like going for a walk in nature or creating something of value that isn’t tied to work such as sewing or writing a poem.

Ms. Rafuse says emotional rest is one of the most important types of rest that people often forget about.

“I typically encourage people to think about the relationships that occur with the people that they spend most of their time with. I ask them, on a scale of one to 10, how nourishing or depleting is this relationship?” she says.

Lastly, Ms. Rafuse describes spiritual rest as, “what helps us stay connected to our world beyond the physical and mental.”

Whether you’re religious, you meditate, you volunteer or you collect crystals, she says spiritual rest helps connect you to something outside of yourself.

Beating – or avoiding – burnout is a journey

Ms. DaSilva says she now incorporates mental health breaks into her routine and sought professional help to deal with the impacts of burnout.

“Burnout isn’t something you can simply ‘vacation’ away,” she says.

Thinking about all of the different types of rest you need may sound like even more work, but Ms. Rafuse says understanding these categories can help people work through stress and prioritize their wellbeing before it becomes burnout.

“I always say, instead of suddenly waking up at 5 a.m. and changing your whole morning, why don’t you just schedule in 15 minutes to be mindful of one of the other types of rest besides sleep?”

What I’m reading around the web

  • Does textbook leadership advice really work when certain populations face different biases and challenges? In this article, experts explain why being vulnerable at the workplace can be a complicated task for women in leadership positions.
  • Alberta and Newfoundland are competing for workers and trying new strategies to entice people to move. From promises of an influx of jobs and affordable housing to cash bonuses, this Globe and Mail article looks at how the different provinces are drawing in more workers.
  • CEO pay has received criticism for some time now, with many workers believing they are grossly overpaid, especially in comparison to other people at the company. According to a recent survey, start-up founders are facing the opposite problem: they aren’t paying themselves enough. This can be bad for business when founders are more focused on making ends meet than growing a successful company.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story did not mention the seven types of rest framework was first devised by internal medicine physician and author Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith. This version has been updated.

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