Whatever Happened to Rest?
Rest: to cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.
For most of my life rest has embodied peace and comfort. I still remember the serenity I experienced watching Netflix with my big brother, or sketching flowers with my sister on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
But since then my relationship with rest has become complicated. And while this isn’t a blaming game per say, I can’t help but wonder if society’s hyper focus on productivity has fed into my now complex and guilt ridden relationship with rest.
It seems like I can’t even scroll through my LinkedIn feed or New York Times best selling list without seeing another technique or tool to maximum your efficiency.
And it’s easy to think this isn’t a big deal, or to laugh just thinking about the marketing tactics that hold myself and so many others captivate...
But the truth is that the content creators mentioned above aren’t just master marketers per say. They are also master Psychologists. In my opinion, the plethora of productivity and personal development content simply mirrors society’s glorification of the hustle.
Yet as a victim to this glorification, I can’t help but wonder: what chronic side effects do we dismiss in the pursuit of the perfect hustle?
When I look around at my peers it feels like we are poster children for the pursuit of the perfect hustle. I mean it makes sense, a modern culture surrounded by seemingly endless opportunities to reach success, only a fool would call break, right?
Hm... Maybe not.
So how exactly does living in an age of endless opportunity perpetuate a potentially imbalanced pursuit of productivity?
Well, there are many answers to that question, but I'm going to focus on one dominant product of endless of opportunity: technology. The increasingly technological nature of work and ever present pressure to stay relevant online appears to be breaking down the barriers that previously separated work from home life. Whether it be a buzzing Slack or fresh Instagram or Facebook feed to constantly keep up with, technology makes it tempting to constantly preoccupy our minds.
But technology is not the only culprit. The truth is it’s only getting more and more challenging to resist the seemingly ever present pressure to do and be more in so many aspects of our modern lives.
And for me, this omnipresent pressure to maximum success and minimize wasted time has robbed rest of its beauty.
Rest was not intended to be consumed pressures from society.
No, rest is intended to refuel, to rejuvenate and to reconcile.
Of course I’m not advocating that rest be used as a cop out for being irresponsible.
But I’m certainly arguing that rest remains one of the best ways to refocus on one’s true goals, energize one’s soul and reconcile the void experienced when we get too caught up in the hustle.
But unfortunately knowledge of the benefits of rest isn’t a guarantee of a healthy relationship. And I know that first hand. So after my most recent breakup with the hustle (not actually, but kinda actually) I realized that intentionality and accountability matter. And in order to walk the precarious bridge from theoretical to practical, I'll have to be brave. Brave because rest often feels counter intuitive in our society.
But nevertheless, I’m here to be intentional and accountable, and that starts by not falling victim to a narrative where rest is the enemy.