Rest is Resistance

March 1, 2023

Rest is a form of resistance because it disrupts and pushes back against capitalism and white supremacy. Both toxic systems refuse to see the inherent divinity in human beings and have used bodies as a tool for production, evil, and destruction for centuries.

-Tricia Hersey, “Rest Is Resistance”

I woke up today, grabbed my coffee, and sat down at my dining room table. I felt tired. Not as if I need to go back to sleep tired, but heavy in my bones. I felt like I had just completed a five hour workout. My mind felt as if I have been trying to solve the world’s hardest math problem. (Which if you are interested is x3+y3+z3=k.) I sat there with my coffee, knowing it was not going to do anything to help rid me of this fatigue no matter how many cups I drank.

I know how I got to this point of exhaustion. I tell myself, “I can rest in a few days,” and when those days pass by then I say, “ok, next week, I will take time off next week.” Then that time passes and I continue this way until I feel as tired as a bouncy house that has been deflated.

How can I rest when there is so much happening in my life? Even when I take time from work it often times is not restful. So many things need to be done. The dogs need food, vets and walks. My 90-year-old mom needs to get to her appointments or the store. Or maybes she is feeling like she needs extra attention that day. There is grocery shopping and laundry and yard work (even in the winter). There is dinner to plan and cook. It seems as if there is always something that needs my attention or needs to get done. Who has time for rest?

Even though I truly feel that rest is a major part of self-care and that we all should be resting, somewhere in my subconscious I have drunk the Kool-Aid served up by white supremacy culture and its insistence on individualism. I have been brainwashed into believing that I am the only one who can get it done and that it has to be done now. (white supremacy culture)

The inability to feel as if one can rest is not just something that only I feel. I hear similar stories from friends and loved ones, from co-workers and colleagues. I hear it in conversations as I pass strangers on the street, in the grocery store and at the coffee shop. People are exhausted.

We live in a grind culture. Always moving, thinking, and doing. Always having to produce. Even when we go on vacations, we are checking our phones and emails. I just spoke to someone I know that is leaving for an amazing six-week vacation and is planning on doing some work while on vacation. This is supposed to be a time of rest and exploration of self and new places, and yet they feel they cannot NOT work.

Why is that? Why can’t we just rest? It seems as if I am not the only one who has guzzled the Kool-Aid. Many of us feel that if we are not producing some sort of product like a paper, a report or a clean house then we are not being productive. The irony is that when we rest our mind we often times solve problems during this time and “produce” solutions that we otherwise would not have thought of with our minds racing. 

What if we were to just sit back in the middle of the day for 15 or 20 minutes, close our eyes and take a breath? What if we shut out the computer and phones, focused on nothing and decided to just be in that moment? Let our minds wander or just be still. What if we took this time to daydream? Would everything fall apart? Or would it still be there when you opened your eyes? How would you feel?

In her book Rest is Resistance Tricia Hersey says “Our resting is not a one-time event because to disrupt the grind culture there must be a global mind shift that is relentless, constant, subversive, and intentional. To push back against the machine of white supremacy and capitalism, even for ten minutes, is a miracle.”

Not only did Tricia Hersey write this incredible book Rest Is Resistance, but she is the founder of a movement called The Nap Ministry. There are four tenets of the Nap Ministry:

  1. Rest is a form of resistance because it disrupts and pushes back against capitalism and white supremacy.
  2. Our bodies are a site of liberation.
  3. Naps provide a portal to imagine, invent, and heal
  4. Our DreamSpace has been stolen and we want it back. We will reclaim it via rest.

I want to rest. I want to honor myself and my divinity as a human being. I do not want to feel like a deflated bouncy house. I want to disrupt and push back against capitalism and white supremacy. I will liberate my body. I will join the resistance. I will learn to rest and practice it daily. Will you join me?

To learn more about rest as resistance and the Nap Ministry list click the links below.



By Rochelle Hazard, Director of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access