Hey there —
Ah, the blank slate of a day off with zero agenda.
You could do anything…
📕 Curl up with a good book
🎮 Fire up the Playstation
🛋️ Take a nap on the couch
…or spend all your time ruminating over that work project, list of chores, or any of the other “more productive” things you feel like you should be doing. 😰
Most of us are aware of the importance of rest and the toll fatigue can take on our bodies (physically, mentally, and emotionally).
So why do we still feel antsy and distracted, itching to do something the moment we’re presented with the opportunity to do nothing?
It could be because we’re trying to rest for the wrong reasons.
We live in a society where rest is typically promoted through two lenses: as a reward for working hard, and as a means to work even harder.
With this idolization of work, it’s no wonder we struggle to rest. Or that when we do consider resting, we worry our desire to take a break is just laziness, procrastination, or quitting in disguise — things negatively associated with attempts to avoid hard work.
Tricia Hersey, creator, activist, and founder of The Nap Ministry, believes that we need a new way of approaching rest.
In her book, Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto, Hersey calls out culture’s capitalistic obsession with productivity and asserts that the mindset of resting just so we can output more has led to exhaustion, shame, and the false belief that we are never doing enough. Her proposed remedy:
“The distinction that must be repeated as many times as necessary is this: We are not resting to be productive. We are resting simply because it is our divine right to do so.”
Is it true that rest can feel rewarding after a busy day, or that being well-rested helps us be more productive? Absolutely.
But is seeking permission to relax for those reasons the best motivation or conduit for true rest? Maybe not.
After all, if rest is a reward for hard work, how do you know when you’ve adequately “earned” it? (Especially when our to-do lists breed like rabbits. 🐰)
And if rest is only a means to work harder, well…pressuring ourselves to hurry up and relax so we can get back to it isn’t exactly restful.
Letting go of the need to justify rest is the first step toward actually resting (and not feeling squirmy on our days off).
But if you still find yourself worrying about your deeper motivations, remember this:
Making minimal effort because you can’t be bothered isn’t the same as choosing to go through life at a slower pace. You’re not lazy when you honor your body’s need for rest.
Putting off an unwelcome task (or habitually mismanaging your time) isn’t the same as recognizing your limits. You’re not procrastinating when you listen to the physical or mental cues telling you I don’t have the capacity to do this today.
And giving up because you don’t want to put in the work isn’t the same as recognizing your need for recovery. Not giving up doesn’t mean not resting, and you’re not a quitter for pressing pause — even if it’s for an extended period of time.
Shifting society’s outlook on productivity and our right to rest isn’t an easy task. But we can start on an individual level by fighting to make rest a regular practice in our lives — no reason beyond “I am a human being” necessary.
11 tips for anyone who doesn’t know how to relax
by Anna Borges
Learning to rest (like, for real) is a journey that takes time and practice.
To help, here are 11 therapist-backed strategies for what to do when relaxing proves to be more difficult than you anticipated.
A couple of our favorite tips: 1) don’t half-ass your rest, and 2) schedule your rest time, but don’t use it as a tool to try and restrict yourself.
In other words, if you want to spend the whole day binging your fav comfort show, own it! 🍿
How to cultivate friendships without spending money to go out
by Ellie Hughes
Finding and cultivating friendships as an adult is hard, and it can be even harder when you’re on a budget. Coffee shop meetups and dinners out are super fun, but can leave us feeling pressured to make financial compromises in order to hang with our besties.
The solution: plan a friend’s night in! This article provides some fun and free ideas for making time with your favorite people (including a few that will still get you out of the house).
As the article’s author points out: “When we invest our energy, instead of our dollars, into tasks or activities with companions, a sort of magic unfolds.” 🪄
Oh Sheet! It’s just that easy
by Terri Metz
If you’ve been following along with our 2023 Slow Growth Challenge, this month’s habit challenge email also hit your inbox today. Our aim for the month of May: make our bed every morning.
Easy right? (Or at least, keeping those bed linens crisp is definitely waaaay easier than folding that fitted sheet.) Thankfully, this Indiana grandma’s got just the tutorial we all need to answer the age-old question: how do you fold that thing?
“Sometime in your day today, try to turn off all the noises you can around you, and give yourself some ‘quiet time.’ In the silence, let yourself think about something…or if possible, think about nothing.”
― Fred Rogers
Written by Ashley Martin
Edited by Matt D'Avella