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Sleep = Rest...WRONG....Autistics need different kinds of REST; Sensory Rest is one of them

Do you go to sleep feeling exhausted but then lie there for hours with your brain reeling  before finally drifting off to sleep only to awaken just as exhausted as you were the night before?  Have you been feeling agitated or even experiencing bouts of crying and moments of frustrated anger?  Have you had more headaches or migraines than usual, tension and tightness in your neck and shoulders?  Have you been feeling disconnected from the world and like you have no purpose?  Have you been struggling to remember things you just heard or just read?  

These are just a few signs we autistics experience as a result of not having sufficient rest. Did you know there are other forms of rest besides sleep? There are 7 types of rest and sleep is just one of them. Today, you will be learning about the other forms of rest you may not be getting and how to recognize what kind of rest you may need along with access to a quick quiz to help you evaluate your personal rest needs so you can feel fully restored each day. Be sure to watch the short video linked at the end with tips and how to’s on gratitude journaling as this is a great tool in your rest and restoration tool box.

Before we get started I want to share some exciting news with you and a new resource. I have just launched a new podcast called, Mind Your Autistic Brain, there is a link below. The trailer is out so go take a quick listen. This show will be sharing the voices and journeys of other late identified adult autistics and they will be sharing their insights, experiences and even some tips they found helped them along their autism journey. We all arrived late to the party and I want you to know you are not alone. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the first interview this Wednesday with Diane J. Wright of Autastic. 

 This was such an incredible conversation I can’t wait to share it with you.
I am not just autistic I also am ADHD. I know that many of you here today are as well. I believe it is that combination that has led me to burnout so many times because I didn’t know how to truly rest; not the passive physical rest of sleep, but rest in the other aspects that I didn’t even know existed until about a year ago. Thanks to my friend Barb Roose, who through her podcast, Better Together, introduced me to Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith and her book, Sacred Rest. 

 In the show notes below, I have links to this episode so you can listen to Dr. Dalton-Smith in her words and I have also included a link to a very insightful episode Barb did entitled, We are Blessed When We Rest. If you are a Christian and seeking deeper spiritual rest this is a wonderful teaching on rest from a Biblical perspective. If you are a non-Christian, spiritual rest can come in other forms and I have included a link below for you as well. 

 Everyone comes to a place of spirituality in their own way and in their own time. As autistics we often experience spiritual and religious hurts and because of that I know that the spiritual aspect of our humanity gets shut off for self protection. If that is something you have experienced and are in a place where you are ready to begin healing those past hurts, my dear friend Rebekah, who is autistic, has a wonderful group just for this purpose and there is a link to her group below.

Rest comes in 7 different forms which are: physical, emotional, social, mental, sensory, spiritual and creative.

Physical- that is the passive rest of sleep or a nap, and active physical rest such as a nature walk.

Emotional- this is where we are able to be our authentic selves not a masked version. This can be an ongoing kind of stress that drains us.

Social- this form of rest is when we can spend time with those people who pour energy back into us. It is necessary to define those who drain us and just because someone drains our energy it doesn’t mean they are a bad person or are trying to harm us, sometimes those who drain us are the ones we love the dearest, like our children. It isn’t about removing them from our life it is about learning how to balance the time we spend that we are drained and how we re-energize ourselves to stay rested and in balance between times.

Mental- Netflix is great and we all enjoy surfing facebook on our phones, and they can provide mental rest, but they can also add to our mental exhaustion. Finding mental rest where you spend quiet time being quiet and still is an energizing form of mental rest.

Sensory- As autistics we have sensory issues. And sensory exhaustion is huge in our world. We often don’t recognize just how bad it has built us because it is layered on so thick throughout our day such as the noise of the ceiling fan, the humm of a light, the television on in the other room, the texture of the sofa or just the sound of our own heartbeat in our ears. These build up and until the power goes out and the world is finally quiet, we don’t realize how stressed and exhausted those sensory elements have made us.

Spiritual- As humans we seek understanding of our existence outside of ourselves. Some of us connect with and find this through religion or god others find this through existentialism, or philosophy. I am a christian and find this spiritual rest in pray and through a relationship with god. I know that not everyone believes this, but I do encourage you to seek out and find a place of spiritual rest for yourself. This is part of the four foundational bedrocks that bring us into full balance.

Creative- This brings to mind drawing, painting, music and this is just a small part of creative rest and restoration. Finding and seeing the world around us and appreciating its beauty can come in many forms such as math, there is a beauty in numbers. Finding avenues of self expression that reflect our inner artist can be writing or journaling, not just paint and jewelry making.

Barb asked Dr. Dalton-Smith a great question: “How do we know when we are rested?”

Her response was so clear...What improved afterward? Was there restoration of energy, were your muscles relaxed, do you feel more creative?

I have included a few articles for you in the description box below on rest, a link to the Healing Place group, links for both christian and non-christian spiritual rest, and be sure to check out the link to listen to the trailer for my new podcast premiering next Wednesday, Mind Your Autistic Brain. The podcast will feature interviews with other late identified, adult autistics who will be sharing their voices and journeys as well as their insights on what they have learned along the way.

Click on the link below in the description to take the REST QUIZ to find out what kind of rest you need and what kind you are currently getting.

I am including a resource for a pre-sleep routine to help you get to sleep and get better quality sleep to restore your brain and your body below as well.

Be sure to watch the short video linked at the end with tips and how to’s on gratitude journaling as this is a great tool in your restoration tool box.

Question for the Comments Section:

What kind of rest did the quiz show you that you need?

Affiliate Links:

“As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

Access the book, Sacred Rest, HERE:

Link to the Video on YOUTUBE:

Links to Group:

Link to Barb Roose’s podcast:

Episode 51, We Are Blessed When We Rest

Episode 40, Learning How to Really Rest

CHECK OUT THE NEW PODCAST, Mind Your Autistic Brain:

The Trailer is out and the first episode airs next Wednesday. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the first interview with Diane J. Wright of AUTASTIC.COM.


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