Self Care Starts Here: how to use the REST acronym

Self Care Starts Here: how to use the REST acronym

By Alissa Zorn Bounce Back Parenting-

How are you right now? Feeling well or kinda ‘meh’? Or maybe you’re really struggling. If you’re feeling like you could use a dose of kindness, read on. 

When you’re stressed it’s easy to think things like: Now is not the time to take care of myself, I’ve got things to do! or: You’re not doing well anyways, you don’t deserve a break.

Our culture is filled with the notion that rest is only for people who are “good”. Many, if not all of us, grew up with messages that reinforced this notion. But this punitive mode of thinking denies our humanity and doesn’t serve us or our families. 

Think about this for a minute – how in the world can you be your best self if you’re exhausted and feel terrible? And what human doesn’t get exhausted, confused, sick, or overwhelmed sometimes? It doesn’t mean you don’t need care. You don’t have to be healthy, tidy or good. You are deserving of care, just as you are.

Personally I’ve been working to change this way of thinking and have more self compassion, but this shift in thinking takes time. When I get stressed my old patterns show up again and it’s easy to slip into eating poorly, sleeping poorly and running on empty (all while giving myself a hard time about it). ??

Basic Self Care, noticing your needs and taking steps to tend to them, is critical. Start with REST: Rehydrate, Eat something, Step outside, Talk to someone.

Sometimes we’re too overwhelmed, sad, scared or simply too tired to know what it means to take care of ourselves. The acronym REST helps you remember the basics. You don’t have to make it more complicated – get REST first.

REST: This acronym starts with the most important item: resting. Get sleep. Take a nap if you need to. If you can’t sleep now, be gentle with yourself and make a sleep a priority ASAP.

  • Rehydrate – get a drink of water. If you don’t like plain water add a slice of lemon or berries, drink herbal tea or fizzy water.
  • Eat Something – Have you had something to eat in the past 4 hours? Grab a snack that will help balance your blood sugar – think protein plus fiber.
  • Step Outside – Emotion follows motion. Are you in a funk? Try going on a quick walk, or at least step outside and look at the sky. Rest your eyes on the horizon.
  • Talk to Someone – We are not meant to do this all alone. Reach out to a friend or to a supportive group online.

When you start feeling out of control or unsure of what you should do next, use this list. Start with REST.