Jackie Homan wrote an article for @taketinytrips, ‘Rest Is a Right, Not a Reward for Productivity’. I think it’s an excellent article to read, especially if you often find yourself feeling guilty about taking some time to rest or if you’re relaxing after a ‘productive’ day and think ‘aah-I-deserve-this.’
“We all need rest, not because it makes us more productive at our jobs, but because it makes us happier, healthier, more well-rounded people,” wrote Homan.
Naiylah Warren, a staff therapist, said that we could also reflect on our relationship with rest and leisure by asking ourselves:
“What was I taught about leisure and rest?”
“What am I being taught about it now?”
(Those questions could definitely be exciting journaling prompts)
For instance, I remembered being called lazy and useless when I was resting (lying in bed, reading novels, listening to the radio) after school/after studying as a child; of how I was told that if I had enough time to ‘rest’ I should’ve had time to help out with house chores or to continue studying other subjects.
I remembered how it filled me up with so much guilt like I only deserve rest when I no longer have the energy to do anything else.
I realized I internalized these words and thought that I should be (or look) busy, that having spare time was something alerting or… wrong.
At school, when we had a 1-hour exam and I had finished answering and checking all the questions in 20 minutes, I would pretend that I was still thinking or working on it until 5 minutes before the time was up, because, well… what would people say if I handed over my exam in 20 minutes and what should I do in the remaining 40 minutes?
Now I realize that this is ridiculous, but, yes, having ‘spare time’ used to stress me out.
However, as a staff therapist, Naiylah Warren said, “Just as we need food, water, or connection, we also need rest. Rest is not a hobby, it is a biological need, and when we embrace that perspective, it can help us release the guilt or shame we feel when we attempt to engage with it.”
Here are some journaling prompts if you’d like to spend some time writing about it:
- How was/is my relationship to rest and leisure?
- Do I feel guilty if I am resting, taking a break, or on vacation? Why?
- How did my family or community view rest and leisure? What was my experience with rest and leisure back then? How was their approach influence mine?
- How do rest and leisure contribute to my mood, well-being, and general contentment in life?
- What kind of feelings and benefits would I like to have from a healthier approach to rest and leisure?