2 min read

It's time we rebranded rest

Why rest is worth it even when society has branded it as lazy
It's time we rebranded rest
Photo by Aleksandar Cvetanovic / Unsplash

I recently read a passage somebody posted from a book on how executives should manage their email. It shared the advice that executives shouldn’t use an out of message since what kind of signal would that send to customers and colleagues that you’re not available.

*Picks jaw up off the floor*

Just this notion, among several others, makes me never want to be an executive. And it explains why senior leadership turnover is so high, especially with women.

So it got me thinking. How is it that culturally we’ve demonized the idea of rest? Why is taking time off something that we should hide? And what kind of example does that set?

The answer is layered but pretty simple at the core. Rest is viewed as a weakness.

Instead we work ourselves to the point of hating our job. Place happiness down the priority list. And wind up with an overworked culture that’s hustled to the point of burnout.

An Atlantic article titled Bring Back the Mental Breakdown suggests that the time-honored nervous breakdown needs a rebrand. “We could slip something more musculary American, like power break or power-up into our national lexicon.”

“‘Boss, I need a power-up’ isn’t an admission of weakness; it’s a simple statement of fact.”

While this conversation makes me cringe and this idea of rebranding rest feels absurd, the facts are simple. We don’t make space for rest. We don’t as Northwestern professor Adam Waytz says in the article, “slip off our electric leashes.”

In my mind the greatest power we have is control and ability to reclaim pockets of our time. We give too many of the pockets away to work and scrolling. More rest leads to better (happier) work over the long journey.

In French: reculer pour mieux sauter or “to withdraw in order to make a better jump”


Ready to downsize your relationship with work and quit burnout?

Hi, I'm Grant Gurewitz. I'm on a mission to end burnout at work. I've been in tech for 10 years (ex-Zillow, current: Qualtrics) who suffered deep burnout and came back from it with no help of the hacky advice out there.

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