woman reading newspaper - rest and sleep

 

How many times recently have you awakened in the morning with the thought, “I’m still so tired?” Dr. Saundra Dalton, author of Sacred Rest, says that many of us have made chronic rest deficit our norm. The good news is that in this interview, she offers solutions beyond the quick fixes that have left us disappointed. Tune in for a truly transforming conversation that will help you to create deeply restorative rest. (Spoiler alert: rest and sleep are not the same thing!)

 

 

 

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woman reading newspaper - rest and sleepYour Turn

  • Are you operating in a rest deficit or a rest overflow?
  • What quick fixes have you tried to overcome a rest deficit? Did they help?
  • Do your relationships feel draining or restoring? What’s one tip you heard today that could move them into the restorative category?

 

Today’s Guest — Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith

Dr. Saundra is an author, speaker, and board-certified internal medicine physician. She has an active medical practice in Alabama (near the Birmingham area).

Dr. Dalton-Smith is a national and international media resource on the mind, body, spirit connection and a top 100 medical expert in Good Housekeeping Doctors’ Secrets. She has been featured in many media outlets including Women’s Day, Redbook, First For Women, MSNBC, and Prevention.

She is the author of Set Free to Live Free and Come Empty (winner 2016 Golden Scroll Nonfiction Book of the Year and 2016 Illumination Award Gold medalist). Her newest release is Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity, including ground-breaking insight on the seven types of rest needed to optimize your productivity, increase your overall happiness and live your best life.

She has shared her tips on merging faith and medicine with over 16,000 health care professionals to encourage the current and next generation of doctors to treat the whole person. Learn more at IChooseMyBestLife.com

Transcript — scroll to read here (or download above)

* * * * *

Grit ‘n’ Grace: Good Girls Breaking Bad Rules

Episode #141: The Unexpected Ways That You Can Conquer Your Rest Deficit

 

Multi Voiceover:

  • I love my family, but I’m also pretty overwhelmed by them.

 

  • I just want peace.

 

  • I should be better at managing things. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.

 

  • I want to focus on my priorities, but then I struggle to say no.

 

  • I know I need more rest, but I’m so used to being on the go, go, go.

 

Cheri

Do you ever hear these kinds of voices in your own head?

Amy

I sure do! And usually at 2:37 in the morning.

Cheri

Well, this is Cheri Gregory.

Amy

And I’m Amy Carroll.

Cheri

And you’re listening to Grit ‘n’ Grace, good girls breaking bad rules.

THE podcast that equips you to

___    lose who you’re NOT

___    love who you ARE

___    and live your ONE life well.

Amy

If this is your first time listening in, this is a podcast for women who love Jesus and long for the abundant life He’s promised.

Cheri                                       

But some days, maybe even most days, you feel kinda like a puppet with perfectionism and people pleasing pulling your strings.

Amy

If nothing you do ever seems good enough.

Cheri

If you try too hard to do too much for too many for too long with too little.

Amy

If you exhaust yourself spending time to keep everyone else happy and your own needs go unmet.

Cheri

If you struggle with the C-word, control.

Amy

We get it. And you’re in the right place, girlfriend.

Cheri

Grit ‘n’ Grace brings you weekly encouragement from wise, witty women …

Amy

Because we have the best guests!

Cheri

We do! Women who come alongside you and equip you to replace the exhaustion of self-made goodness with the rest of God’s grace.

Amy

Every week we kick culture’s bad rules to the curb so that we can follow Jesus’ good plans for us.

Cheri

 

Grit ‘n’ Grace is made possible because of a team of dedicated interns.

 

Amy

Shout out to Shantell Brightman, Kendra Burrows, Iris Bryant, Jennifer Bryant, Shannon Geurin,

Jeanette Hanscome, Rachel Latham, Melissa McLamb, Kristin Milner, Chris Moss, Sarah Marie Sonoda, Vicki Stone, and Lori Young.

 

Cheri

We’re looking for a few new interns to join our team to help us with social media and graphic design.

 

Amy

And our book launch.

 

Cheri

So if you’re interested in learning more or know someone who might be contact us through gritngracegirls.com/interns, and we’ll send you full details.

 

Amy

Today we’re talking to Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith who’s an author, speaker, and a board certified internal medicine physician with an active medical practice in Alabama. Dr. Saundra is a national and international media resource on the mind/body/spirit connection. Here newest release is Sacred Rest, recover your life, renew your energy, restore your sanity; including groundbreaking insight on the seven types of rest needed to optimize your productivity, increase your overall happiness, and live your best life.

 

Well, Dr. Saundra, I feel more relaxed just reading the title of your book, but tell us, why did you write Sacred Rest?

 

Dr. Saundra

Honestly, it’s like my memoir. I basically burned out myself. I burned out and during that process of getting to that lowest place in my life; I didn’t feel like I had a lot of resources. I had a lot of people telling me the things I needed to do, and it all boiled down to rest more. Rest more, remove the stress from your life, find work life balance, which doesn’t exist, or either work life integration, which is what I like to call it, or harmony. You know what you need, but you can’t really find out how to apply it. Then, when I was trying do the things that I thought were restful, I didn’t feel rested, and so that’s when I knew something was not right, because if I’m doing all theses things that are supposed to be helping me rest more, and they’re just stressing me out, then there’s some kind of disconnection between what rest really was and what I was needing, or at least what people were telling me rest was.

 

Cheri

You’ve already said so many things that make me curious now. Our listeners are recovering perfectionists and people pleasers and also those who are highly sensitive people, and just the whole idea of doing what were supposed to and not getting the results, I mean that’s just unbearable. That’s so unfair. Now, in your book you use the phrase “Chronic Rest Deficit”. This sounds very serious. What do you mean by this and in what season of life is a woman most likely to experience a “Chronic Rest Deficit”?

 

Dr. Saundra

Yes, a “Chronic Rest Deficit” is that most women call it that feeling of overwhelm, where you’re constantly tired all the time, you’re going to sleep at night, you wake up and you’re still tired. There’s never a point where you feel energized, renewed, and restored, you just feel like the day drags on. Life drags on. Everything is just kind of a continuation without any real periods of restoration or feeling revived or reenergized. A lot of us have gotten into that point where our chronic rest deficits are norm. We think that’s just how were supposed to feel. We’re always supposed to be tired because we’re always so busy. What happens with that is, when women get into what I call their fruitful years, the years when they have … kind of the background, the training, the finances to do those things that they feel called to do, then they go deeper into their rest deficit, because they haven’t learned how to restore themselves. And that was the journey that I learned when I was writing the book, and when I was praying through the scriptures and asking God for some directions on what does He mean in Genesis when He’s telling us to rest and to honor the Sabbath was that we really have to look at rest as equally restoration.

 

When I was trying to do all those rest activities in the past, I was thinking of it as, “Oh, I just need to make sure that I find time to stop, and unwind, and to cease activity”, but unless you’re actually having restoration in an area, then it’s not true rest.

 

Cheri

So, I was gonna ask you for your top tip for recovering from chronic rest deficit, but then I read in your book you said “We want quick fixes to problems that require slowing down,” so I’m guessing you’re not going to give me any top tip.

 

Dr. Saundra

Well, no top tip.

 

<Laughter>

 

Cheri

What do you mean that we want quick fixes to problems that require slowing down?

 

Dr. Saundra

Well, as a physician, someone comes in, and they tell me they’re tired or they can’t sleep, they want me to give them a pill, the magic bullet that’s gonna just make it all better. That’s the mindset we’ve kind of gotten into “Well, I can’t sleep, I just need a medication to knock me out.” And yes, sometimes those are beneficial; sometimes those are actually needed, depending on the situation. The goal is never to have a medicine be the curative. They’re to be kind of aids to help us find out what the underlying problem is; so then we can do the necessary work to resolve the actual issue. So, for many of us with our chronic rest deficits, we can do quick fixes. We can try to do a vacation, or we can take a week off to just lounge around, but until we realize that rest has to really be more of a lifestyle, because if you want to constantly be able to pour out into your family and your ministry, you have to be constantly pouring in. It can’t be just this one time “I’m gonna go for our week long vacation and that’s gonna fix it.” It has to be looked at as a lifestyle. What does my restful, well-rested lifestyle looks like, that allows me to actually be able to consistently pour in, so I can joyfully pour back out.

 

Cheri

Alright, well, you also talk about working with patients who don’t wanna hear the truth about their condition, when you suggest they don’t need the sleeping pill, as their first option, that they don’t wanna hear it. Why do you think we’re so resistant to the truth when scripture is so clear that the truth will set us free?

 

Dr. Saundra

Well, I think in the areas of rest, we’ve kind of been programs to think that work is more important. We look at rest, and we kind of see it as this cop out, as this extra thing I’ll get to if I have time for it. It’s kind of like that great book on the shelf that you’re thinking “I’m gonna read that”, and then two years later it’s sitting there. That’s how we do rest. We kind of put it aside for later when we get around to it, and then all the time we’re constantly becoming more and more depleted. Most of time we’re becoming angrier, because it’s hard to be happy when you’re tired. And then were becoming less productive or if we’re producing, we’re producing at a lower quality than what we’re capable of because we don’t have the strength or the stamina, even the creativity, to pour out at our best.

 

I think that’s the mind shift that I usually have to do with a lot of people is that … particularly high achievers or I call high producers. People who are constantly kind of delivering it at a high level, they have really, through the workforce and through their training, been shown that to be able to be at your best, you have to strive, strive, strive, and grind it out. And they don’t really appreciate that to really produce your best fruit, it requires you to have some time where you’re intentionally resting.

 

Cheri

Okay, I don’t like the way Amy’s looking at me right now.

 

<Laughter>

 

Amy

I might know my friend well, Dr. Saundra. This is such a great lead in, what you were just saying, just some quotes from your book that just hit my heart, where you said, “If I’m not doing something, I’m wasting my time.” Or you said, “I feel I’m nothing if I’m doing nothing.” That second one really hit me. So for those of us that are doers and wired that way, we feel like as long as we’re getting seven to eight hours of sleep, we’re doing just great. Would you agree with that or do you have some different thoughts?

 

Dr. Saundra

It really depends on how the person’s feeling. When I’m working with my own patients, what I usually ask them is do they feel like they are capable to pour out in the major area of their life, or do they feel like people are pulling from them and kind of draining them in their life. For example, I have a lot of patients who are women, and so they have kids and they have a husband, and so these are blessings. Children and marriage should be a good thing, but if every time their husband comes to them for intimacy or just to hang out, they automatically have this push back, they’re defensive, then that tells me there’s something going on there. They feel like that relationship is draining them and not restoring them. So then we have to look at how do we pour back into that relationship, because that’s not how it should be. When a relationship that supposed to bless you becomes a relationship you become defensive against because you feel like it’s taking from you, then there’s an imbalance there between the work rest ratio that’s going on, because our relationships should be restorative. Our ministry should be restorative. Our careers should be restorative. There should be points in every place we’re pouring out where we feel like we are getting poured back into, otherwise we get resentful, and then, who knows what’s gonna happen at that stage.

 

Amy

That is super powerful. I might be recognizing some of myself in there, so that was powerful. You also say, “I can’t please anyone, including myself, when I’m burned out” and I think we can all really relate to that. Can you unpack that for us?

 

Dr. Saundra

Yeah. That’s really where I started at in my journey. I had everything that I had prayed and asked for, you know, the family, the car, the house, the job, the husband. All those things that I said I wanted, I got to a point where I had them, and I had picked up my kids from daycare and, literally, ended up laid out on the floor because I was just in such a bad place, a bad head place from the grinding out of my life. What I realized at that time is that I had really built a life that was completely against what I had wanted. I thought I wanted one thing, and I was building and working towards that, when what I really wanted was a life that felt good to live, and that’s not what I created. I created a life that looked good to live in, but didn’t feel good to live in. We let ourselves down when we do that. We create these beautiful pictures … the Instagram life, where it looks so beautiful, but it does not feel beautiful, and it does not fit really what our core desires are. I think when that happens you can tell when something is amiss.

 

I think, really, God never wants any of us to be in that place where our spirit and our body and our minds are kind of in disagreement of what we really want, because you feel that pull. And I think that’s what, we can’t really give to anyone else when we don’t really know what we want. We don’t really know what it is that we truly need to feel whole and complete.

 

Cheri

Mmm.

 

Amy

Speechless. This final quote is really so wise. You say to take an inventory of the people in your life who drain you and those who refresh you. Why is that so important? And this is the bigger question; how can we do this in a way that’s loving?

 

Dr. Saundra

Well, and that’s the thing, because sometimes when you take that inventory, like I said your husband and your kids are who pops up on the list, and just because someone is draining doesn’t mean that they are negative influence in your life. It just means that you have to be aware of that so that you restore back into those same areas.

 

I think one big area that I see a lot of times is with kids, particularly teens, if you’re a parent of teens they’re extremely draining just because of their own personal transition that they’re going through. So if you don’t recognize that they’re draining you, then what happens is your relationship becomes further and further apart because you never think that, “I need to pour into that somewhere,” and I need to allow them to pour into me. Because your kids still love you, even when they’re acting crazy. That’s just the nature of being a teen. So you have to create those moments sometimes and kind of be mindful of how they connect. Sometimes what I’ll recommend to parents when they’re trying to connect with their teen is send them a text. That’s how they communicate. Middle of the day send a text that says, “Thinking about you. Love you. Praying for your test,” because they don’t expect it. They’re getting texts from everybody else, but usually the texts from us are like “Where are you at? It’s 10:00.” It’s not usually a positive thing, so get into their space in a way that you’re pouring back into them that opens them up to want to pour back into you, so that relationship kind of gets that constant ebb and flow that it should have from the filling and the draining that comes with it.

 

Other situations, let’s say if you’re with a coworker who you just don’t jive with, it’s just not a good thing, and you’re still having to be in that relationship. Those types of draining relationships, what I recommend is absolutely extend grace for that difficult person that you don’t necessarily enjoy being around, but be aware that they drain you, and then right after coming out of that person’s office let’s say, you may want to be mindful that, “I’m not in a good space right now. If I go talk to somebody else I’m probably gonna snip their head off, so let me get with someone who’s life giving to me. Let me have a quick Skype conversation with my girl, and she can get me back into a right space,” because I think it’s important to know who is live giving to you cause sometimes you need that person to help fill you back up after someone really has drained you.

 

Cheri

Okay, so I was hoping you could tell me I could get rid of all the draining people that I don’t like, and it sounds like you’re saying I have to take more responsibility.

 

Dr. Saundra

Some of those are related to you, probably.

 

<Laughter>

 

Cheri

Yeah. So what’s your point?

 

Dr. Saundra

Can’t get rid of them.

 

Cheri

What I hear you saying is I have to know myself well enough to take that extra responsibility then, to make sure that I’m counterbalancing or counteracting that draining with something life giving, and that’s my responsibility, and I don’t get to blame them and … Wow. Okay. I guess more good advice for growing up here.

 

Dr. Saundra

It is. I think that’s part of the hard part we’re talking about, because it does take some self-analysis to really know where you’re at personally. I think, honestly, that’s why I came up with the Rest Quiz. Because I wanted people to realize that a lot of this are things you have to be mindful of because no one is going to … no one’s going to take the responsibility of keeping you filled up except for you.

 

Cheri

Oh yes. I think that’s a thing that somewhere around 50 we finally figure out, but it would be so nice to figure it out much, much sooner. It would save us a lot of that bitterness and resentment that you we’re talking about. I know that when I think of rest, my first thought is sleep, like that’s the only thing that comes to my mind. Rest equals sleep. I do my best to do that at night, and I’m not a napper, but you define rest much more broadly. Could you kind of expand on that for our listeners?

 

Dr. Saundra

Yeah. When I looked at the whole concept of rest, like I was saying in the beginning, rest is this huge lump that we look at and you say, “Oh. you need to get more rest” and that wasn’t working for me.

 

What I started to do was to look at the different areas of my life that I was draining, and I started going through the Scripture to look at how people, in their lives, were looking at being depressed or being … having their energy levels down, and what I came up with were basically seven types of rest that I felt like came from the Scripture as well as came from just personal experience of working with patients. And then I started looking at the science, because the medical part of me likes to see if there’s any literature or research that backs all of that up. I think the Scripture and the sciences should actually compliment each other. And there were, there were seven different areas where they perfectly complimented each other and there was enough research actually behind them that I felt confident about listing them. Those we’re physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, creative, and sensory. Those seven types of rest were how I started looking at my life.

 

I was doing great with the physical, which is the sleep, well, sleep and what I call passive physical rest, which are things like stretching and self massage and things like that. So the physical part I was doing great in. I was doing horrible in the social rest part, because I focused so much on my career, I had let all my friendships go, and so I didn’t have anyone that I could vent to. All of that was just bottling up in me all the time.

 

The creative rest part, that’s one that a lot of people are not as familiar with, because we don’t think that beauty is a part of us. And we don’t think that creativity, the appreciation of it, restores us in any way, but there’s so much that we are learning in science, and a lot of people will even say, “If I go to the beach, I just feel so much better.” That’s what creative rest is, is the rest we get from the appreciation of beauty, and that’s whether it’s natural beauty, or if it’s in manmade, like artwork. But it’s that beauty that makes us feel awe and wonder and that restores us in that process of feeling like that.

 

Cheri

So we’re gonna recommend highly to our listeners that they … first of all, get your book, which is beautiful written, by the way.

 

Dr. Saundra

Thank you.

 

Cheri

You are such a good storyteller, and I love the way that you weave in the science and the Scripture. It all just feels so natural.

 

Dr. Saundra

Well, thank you for that.

 

Cheri

Amy and I will do a conversation where we process what we have learned from you, and we’ll take the quiz.

 

Dr. Saundra

And you can’t fail the quiz. That’s what everyone says, “I failed the quiz.” You can’t fail the quiz. It’s a simple assessment.

 

Cheri

All the perfectionists are like, “I got an F.” Well, speaking of getting an “F”, many of us were raised in homes where the word rest was synonymous with the word lazy, and we all know that lazy is a four letter word, so how can we meet our needs for rest without being considered lazy by other people, or the ultimate curse word, especially in Christian circles, is seeming selfish. If it has the word self, it must be bad. How do we reconcile all this?

 

Dr. Saundra

I think from a Christian standpoint, when I look at it, I look at it from. I started with Genesis when I started with the Book. Literally, most of the book, I’m reading through Genesis as I’m writing the book, because I felt like God really gave us a framework early on about what it should look like. What I tell a lot of Christian women when they tell me that, I’m like, “Let’s look at, just look at the creation story.” We we’re created in the sixth day, right? Man was created on the sixth day, so the seventh day was our first full day on earth, and what were we doing our first full day? God didn’t start us off in work. He started our first full day in rest in His presence and enjoying Him and looking at everything that He had already declared good.

 

So often in our lives, we never look back at the good things in our life and declare anything good. We just keep looking forward to the next thing, and the next thing, and the next thing, and we always think that we’ve got to earn the our right to rest when God says that’s not true. We are supposed to begin in a place of rest, and it’s from that rest that we do our best work. That’s how we get to the point that we are able to really experience what God … What I feel like God calls the “Abundant Life.” Where we are overflowing into the lives of others, and we never feel drained because we are giving people from the overflow, and so we stay filled as we are pouring out into others.

 

Cheri

I would tell you that you made Amy cry, but my eyes we’re too busy tearing up. I didn’t get to see.

 

Amy

This is speaking to me though. I mean I’m soaking it in.

 

Cheri

Well, one other thing that you said in the book that just made my heart happy is you said, “Allow room in your day for therapeutic silence.” This sounds amazing, but what is it? What is therapeutic silence?

 

Dr. Saundra

It’s allowing stillness to heal us, because so often people say, “Well, I just don’t feel connected to God. I just don’t feel good. I just feel so frazzled, and my head is not clear.” When we actually get into complete silence, which is something most of us don’t do, we’re either playing Christian music, or we’re listening to something on the radio or whatever. We rarely have periods where we are just in complete silence. And in complete silence is when we get to clear out our headspace, because that’s when all the thoughts start coming to your mind, and you can start processing things. What I tell most women to do is when those thoughts come to mind, don’t just let them kind of roll around.

 

The mind works in such a way that it needs to have things dumped out at time, so brain dumping really helps if you have trouble sleeping at night because of that. To actually write down whatever it is that’s going through your thoughts, don’t process it, don’t try to analyze it, don’t try to fix it, just write it down. And then, outside of your times of therapeutic silence, that’s when you take it to God in your prayer time. That’s when you, the next morning, you sit down with God and the Bible and say, “Why am I mad that she got this, and I didn’t?” And you process through those things then, not when you’re during your times of therapeutic silence.

 

The therapy in the silence is because it lets you clean out yourself. It allows things that are running around to be poured out, so that you don’t stay toxic, and I think that’s the issue. So often, many of us stay toxic, and we never pour it out, and then God’s never able to heal it. Once we’re able to identify it and bring it to Him, that’s when He really does the healing. He can reveal things to us.

 

Cheri

That makes so much sense.

 

Amy

Dr. Saundra, what closing words of encouragement would you like to give to our listeners?

 

Dr. Saundra

The number one thing I would say is just to look at rest in a different way. You don’t have to understand all seven of the types of rest. If you can just get the concept that rest equals restoration, so when you say, “I’m going to go rest,” think to yourself, “What am I restoring?” And to begin with “Where am I depleted?” Because if you’re depletion is not in the physical, then sleep is not gonna fix it. So you really have to get to the point of identifying what is being poured out, and then how are you gonna restore that? What are the systematic things you can do to restore rest in that area.

 

Cheri

We hope you’ve enjoyed Episode 141 of Grit ‘n’ Grace: Good Girls Breaking Bad Rules.

 

Amy

Make sure to visit our website gritngracegirls.com/episode141. There, you’ll find our digging deeper download, a printable resource that helps you to apply what you learned in this episode, you’ll also find our show notes where you’ll find a link to Dr. Saundra’s powerful book, Sacred Rest, as well as our transcript.

 

Cheri

If you’re not already a member of our Facebook group, we’d love to have you join the conversation, simply search Facebook for gritngracegirls and you’ll find us.

 

Amy

Join us next week when we’ll be processing what we learned from our interview with Dr. Saundra.

 

Cheri

For today, grow your grit; embrace God’s grace, and when you run across a bad rule, you know what to do. Go right on ahead and…

 

Amy & Cheri

Break it!

 

Outtake

 

Cheri

My husband was laughing at me, because I told him I was listening to your book on audio but I didn’t have much time so I was listening to it on double speed. He suggested there is something ironic about listening to Sacred Rest on double speed.

 

<Laughter>

 

Dr. Saundra

That is a little different. No judgments on this end.

 

Today’s take-away:

Rest and sleep aren’t necessarily the same thing.

Focus on meeting your restoration needs.

 

 

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