Intergenerational Rest and Care

image by @samburriss

If we’ve never seen those we are close to centering rest and care, then how can we know that these practices have value?

I never had rest and care modeled for me growing up. I didn’t know that they were possible until I began a daily practice of mindfulness and checking in with the body over twelve years ago.

My body gave me messages that I finally began hearing. The body said that it couldn’t do this anymore, couldn’t overwork and burnout cyclically anymore, and that it needed time for rest.

I had to make many changes in my life to honor this request including decisions around where I lived and where and how many hours I worked. At the heart of those decisions was a slow letting go of my previous definition of success and my desire to be viewed as “successful” by others.

I am so grateful I made those changes and so appreciative for the love and friendship for my body that began blossoming all those years ago that made it all possible.

image by @cristina_gottardi

Who, if anyone, showed you that it’s okay to offer yourself rest and care? Many of us have to see something and have it modeled for us to know it’s possible.

When we are able to see our loved ones resting and engaging in self-care practices, it offers more space for us to engage in these practices as well.

This is why I often say that when we offer ourselves care, we are offering care to all of those that we come into contact with. Self-care is collective care.

It is an act of kindness to remember this when associating self-care with indulgence or selfishness. Remember that it is a gift to give folks permission to care for themselves by showing them that it is okay and that this is something that we value and make time for.

What are ways that you can model rest and care? Who can you model rest and care for?

Photo by Anna Shvets on

For many of us, rest and care were not modeled for us. This can come up for many reasons especially for those with identities that often experience marginalization.

For example, for those of us who are descendants of people that were enslaved, epigenetics of rest and care aren’t passed down intergenerationally because it wasn’t actually safe for enslaved people to rest.

For those who have not witnessed care or rest or who possibly heard significant criticism against rest and care, we can begin to create a sacred or safe(r) space to begin to have access to space for rest and care. We can use our imaginations to help in the creation of this space.

We can know that any resistance or guilt around rest is likely related to this lack of access or safety around this related to intergenerational trauma. We can soften and allow for space when these types of feelings or sensations arise and slowly make more space for rest and care even if it’s just for a few minutes regularly initially.

We can gently engage in rest and care knowing that this engagement will allow for intergenerational healing of a tendency to overdo and overwork in one’s lineage.

We can rest on behalf of all of the folks who could not rest knowing that future generations will have greater access to ease and rest. That care will be transmitted both forward and back to all of our peoples.

What are ways you can begin to create a sacred or safe(r) space to support rest and care?

—Lissa E.

Thank you for your support!

Donations are greatly appreciated to support Lissa’s writings and mission to offer sliding scale and donation-based offerings to create greater accessibility and inclusivity. Payments can be sent via PayPal (see below) & also via Venmo (@embodiedheartmind).


Published by lissa e.

Lissa's offerings include integrative mental health care, meditation and movement (yoga, qigong, intuitive) guidance, writings, and community facilitation offered in a compassionate, trauma-responsive, and racial and social justice-oriented framework as part of a lifelong mission to reduce suffering for all beings.

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