How Leaders Can Help Employees Get Rest

We don’t function well when we’re exhausted- and many of us are currently suffering from fatigue. Our minds have slowed down, we can’t concentrate, and we get easily irritated or frustrated. We desperately need rest. And sleeping in for one full weekend doesn’t help.

Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith identified seven types of rest she feels we need to renew our energy and restore our sanity: physical, mental, emotional, social, sensory, creative, and spiritual. Jennifer V. Miller has considered what leaders can do, beyond providing work breaks and personal time off, to help their employees get rest.

Physical rest is about resting the body. Leaders can make sure that meetings aren’t held back-to-back and there are stretch breaks during the meetings. They can also make massages or yoga sessions available.

Mental rest is about giving the brain a break. Leaders can avoid sending emails or texts at night and can set reasonable response times. They can avoid overloading employees with work and setting conflicting priorities. They can also encourage their staff to unplug or use noise-blocking equipment when they need to concentrate.

Emotional rest is about being authentic and honest about feelings. Leaders can address friction points between employees and between the leader and her peers. They can also pay attention to significant behavioral changes in an employee and advocate for appropriate treatment.

Social rest is about having positive social connections or taking a break from socializing. Leaders can avoid having a “camera always on” policy for meetings, pay attention to who might be left out of group activities, and take active steps to include them.

Sensory rest is about giving the senses a break. Leaders can adjust the noise level in the office and during meetings, avoid scheduling all day meetings, and advocate brief “quiet breaks” so employees don’t get fatigued.

Creative rest is about being exposed to innovative environments and being inspired without feeling required to be creative. Leaders can ask their employees if their work is energizing or draining and do what they can to make adjustments where necessary and appropriate.

Spiritual rest is about connecting with a higher purpose. Leaders can engage employees in creating their own objectives and point out how their objectives mesh with company objectives. They can also give a sense of purpose by discussing and highlighting what is important to each employee. 

Question: Which types of rest will help you the most?

Deborah Laurel, The Peer Learning Institute

#seventypesofrest #addressingemployeefatigue



Comment: Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith’s book, Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity, can be found at


You can read Ms. Miller’s article, How Leaders Can Help Employees “Give It a Rest” at

Another good article is How to Leverage the 7 Types of Rest to be Your Happiest, Most Productive Self, by Deanna deBara at


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