Every day, someone on LinkedIn will recycle some version of 'If you have 30 minutes to spend on Netflix, you have 30 minutes to take a course to upskill yourself.'
I'm sure they mean well, but I just want to tell them to fuck off.
Wicked or weary, no rest for you
Our culture glorifies The Hustle™ — there seems to be no room or respect for rest or pleasure. Both of those things are different, by the way. Rest is not the same as pleasure — you could experience both with one activity, but your body and mind need both.
Think about the last time you went on vacation.
Most of our vacations are filled with doing stuff. We go to new and exciting places to see new and exciting things. But more often than not, we don't carve out time to 'do nothing' — to just relax on holiday. After all, how can we? Vacations are expensive (more so after the pandemic). There are museums to visit, beaches to walk on aimlessly but with purpose, fountains to throw pennies into and take pictures against, and a shitton of walking to do — so we make sure this holiday is worth what we're paying for it.
When I was younger, I always thought I'd take the kind of vacations you see in films. People hanging out by the pool, getting suntanned (or sunburnt), and generally doing nothing. I've not really gone on any vacation like that. I keep thinking about what a waste a vacation would be if I were to just go somewhere nice and do nothing. After all, I can nap at home for free, can't I?
It's absurd how unfathomable the idea of not doing anything is to me. And I'd venture it's the same for most of you reading this.
When did rest become a luxury?
Proper rest — not your standard 7-8 hours of sleep or weekends off to do your errands — doesn't seem to have a place in our society anymore. I've always got something to do, something to accomplish. Whether it's watching a classic film I've missed or meeting friends for a drink, there's always a goal embedded in everything I do during my downtime. I want to maximize my time with my friends (the pandemic taught us that's a luxury too). I want to watch the Top 100 movies of all time — it's good for conversation, and I don't want to be left out. Also, there's a finite time for me to read, watch, and consume content.
There are terms for the two different types of rest (or leisure). Psychologists call leisure that takes place purely for enjoyment Terminal Leisure. When your leisure serves a larger purpose (meeting friends, working out, other productive things), it's called Instrumental Leisure.
I remember Sundays being days of rest. Both in the religion I was brought up in and how my parents embodied it. A late lunch, some old movie playing on the TV followed by a glorious afternoon nap, and then an evening spent doing our individual chores or whatever we had to do. It felt like Sundays lasted forever back then.
Now? I dislike Sundays. It means the weekend is over. It means my 'rest' is over. Even though I've done nothing to rest. All I've done is complete chores I couldn't do during the workweek. Some of my friends don't even get Sundays to themselves.
Why do we have to earn our rest?
Speaking of the workweek. That word now exists in the dictionary. That's 5/7 days (if lucky) that we dedicate to work. There's no rest week. Or, there is, but you have to earn that rest. We've legitimized working for most of our time, chipping away until we can maybe retire at the ripe old age of 65 if the world isn't on fire by then.
You can accrue leaves. Or put in requests, asking for access to your own time in our wonderfully modern world. Those requests may not even be approved, so you have to 'schedule' your rest at a different time. Does it matter when you actually needed it? No, not really.
We've got to 'earn' our rest time now. And that's not even really rest; it's just time off work. Not working is not resting. Rest needs to be a conscious choice. But, of course, I'm aware of the heavy financial implications of choosing a holiday to rest. When people barely make ends meet, rest seems so far away it may as well be non-existent.
I hope you're taking your paid time off because you're trading your time for those days and the money you earn. You've earned it through our world's convoluted transactions for time.
We NEED rest to survive; it's not optional
Apparently, experts claim you need seven different types of rest to recharge your body and take care of yourself. I have to laugh. People are so overworked and struggling under the pressure of dealing with our crumbling world, that even one or two types of rest would be a godsend. And if by chance, you have the luxury of rest, society will be quick to tell you that you need to make use of that time — make something, earn something, do something. If you're any kind of creator, you know the amount of pressure to continually create can sometimes bring you to your knees.
Aside from the physical, emotional, and mental benefits (reduced stress, better control over our emotions, higher decision-making ability, more productivity, etc.), we need rest to literally survive. We may be persistence predators, but we still need to stop and cool down. Our ancestors knew that running around too much would exhaust their prey. So they'd just continue and endure slowly but consistently.
Somehow, we've become our own prey. Running ourselves ragged until we literally collapse, burn out, or worse.
We cannot be expected to start resting all of a sudden — our work, our culture, our society isn't very welcoming to that. We all know we need rest. It's the other factors that need to understand that and get with the plan.
Employers need to prioritize rest for their employees. So do governments or whoever we’re putting in charge. When we can, we need to advocate better for ourselves. Take your days off, visit new places and do things, but also keep time to just rest and relax and do nothing.
Let’s hope we get some quality rest before we’re actually laid to rest. 💀
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Cool stuff to check out this week! 💌
This afternoon, I finished Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. I'm always a fan of Sci-Fi books, especially those with heart and this one ticked all the boxes. And for you, I have a site that tells me how many people are in space (real-time) and who they are!
There are 16 tabs open right now as I write this issue. But there are like 100 more that OpenTab is keeping open but also not open for me. I recommend checking this free chrome extension out because it might solve all your open-tab problems!
How to make friends after a pandemic and why friendship shouldn't be a part of your life to optimize (this is for the clowns who keep telling us to surround ourselves with only those who talk about investments, growth, and other Silicon Valley BS).
Weird yet strangely effective pieces of advice from AskMen Reddit. Bonus: The caption has 15 more nuggets that might be useful!
Your reminder for this week, keeping in with the theme:
Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to hit like and share this issue if you enjoyed it. 🖤
I’ll see you next week — maybe not at the same time, but definitely the same place.