There is no right time to rest, our bodies tell us. We’ve been taught to ignore our needs for the sake of being ‘productive’. The value is placed upon what we can offer a capitalist system– it’s time to un-normalize the exploitation of people who need rest the most. Responsibility falls upon all of us to do our part in changing the way communities, companies, and governments treat the value of a human being.
We’ve seen throughout this COVID-19 pandemic that it’s marginalized and racialized people who are affected the most, especially those working minimum wage in essential services. People cannot be treated as dispensable. Rest cannot be considered a luxury. The majority of our world is overworked without access to adequate healthcare, and it’s killing us as a species. What we call an ‘overpopulation problem’ is only eugenics in disguise– what we have is a resource distribution problem.
It’s time to change our language. The pure nature of living requires rest and recuperation, we have to be aware of this when talking about productivity. As it stands right now, people are being forced to give every scrap of their energy only to not make enough money to live off of. This is not productive. The current view of productivity is a trap which forces people into poverty, into vulnerable positions to be manipulated into the military by the prospect of a free education, or they become survival sex workers who have been stigmatized to the point where they’re unprotected from violence or trafficking, people are pushed into addiction, homelessness, are made to feel they can’t leave abusive relationships– and with so many people in this position, and so little funding for resources, this is beyond a crisis.
When we uphold classist, capitalist, colonial tenets, we kill people. When we consider time to be money, we kill people. When we are selfish and self-serving in our political actions and social behaviours, we contribute to a system which was ruined from the start. This is not productive.
Now more than ever we must be willing to look beyond our false borders. The world is in crisis, from our hometowns to our continents to our species, and ignorance fuels it. In areas like North America and Europe, xenophobia and racism keep us from recognizing how our governments and militaries have negatively affected countries far away. Compassion and empathy are often in short supply, but by nurturing these rather than apathy, we build far more potential to heal.
So when we talk about resting, let’s remember some key things: rest is required, everyone requires rest, and finally, the way we talk about productivity is intricately tied to the way society is crashing. Rest includes having enough food to eat, having a safe place to sleep, and being free from oppression. Rest is being given the time and space to be as healthy as possible.
Relinquish prejudice. We can unlearn and relearn. It’s not too late.