Self care part 7: Rest

2 minutes Written by Kari Homan Shannon

In caring for ourselves, we often don’t know where to start.  The acronym of NEW START can help.  The 7th letter stands for:


Rest, including both sleep and relaxation, is an essential aspect of maintaining good mental health and overall functioning. It’s not just about feeling less tired; it plays a fundamental role in how our brains and bodies function on a daily basis.

Firstly, let’s talk about the importance of sleep. When we sleep, our brains undergo a remarkable process of restoration and consolidation. During deep sleep, our brain works on memory formation, problem-solving, and emotional regulation. In essence, it’s like a mental clean-up crew, organizing information and helping us make sense of our experiences. Without sufficient sleep, our cognitive functions can suffer. We may find it harder to concentrate, make decisions, and control our emotions.

Moreover, rest is also about relaxation and downtime during waking hours. Engaging in relaxation techniques can help reduce stress and anxiety. Chronic stress can have detrimental effects on mental health, and relaxation practices like mindfulness or deep breathing can counteract these negative effects.  Make sure that your rest truly is.  Playing video or timed games can often lead to additional stress.

Furthermore, rest allows our bodies to recover physically. When we’re well-rested, our immune system functions better, and our bodies have the opportunity to repair and rejuvenate. On the other hand, chronic sleep deprivation can weaken our immune system and make us more susceptible to illnesses, or worse, cause hallucinations in severe cases.

Adequate rest is a foundational coping strategy. When you are well-rested, you are better equipped to manage life’s challenges, regulate your emotions, and implement the coping skills we’ve worked on together.

In summary, rest is not just a luxury; it’s a necessity for maintaining mental and physical well-being. It enhances cognitive function, reduces stress, and supports overall health. Prioritize restful sleep and relaxation as an integral part of their self-care routines. It’s a fundamental step toward increasing their functioning levels and achieving a better quality of life.

Avatar Kari Homan Shannon

Written by Kari Homan Shannon

Kari Homan Shannon is a therapist in Texas who specializes in individual therapy.