Most likely no blog post next week. I’ll be on a short break.
It is nap time for me, metaphorically and almost literally (more like bedtime). I got my COVID booster and flu shot yesterday and it knocked me out in a good way. If you haven’t gotten your booster and flu shot, please do. The more of us that are vaccinated the safer it is for the community, and bonus you can take a nap after if you need one, just plan ahead and clear your calendar.
Today’s post is on nap time and the need to rest.
I haven’t put a lot of thought into the topic, but it came up because I know as POCs we often have to hustle and rest can feel like a luxury. Many others have written about the topic so please read or take in their creative work.
For me the topic has come up because I am at an inflection point where I get to look back over the past decade and marvel at a lot of work that was done, take a short break, then jump into a new adventure. A friend told me, begged me, to take a break before jumping into the new adventure. Amy said she recently took a hiatus from her hustle and still draws on that time when she’s feeling stressed.
I also recently talked to a friend who was a former Black Executive Director of a childcare organization. She told me how she finally feels like she can rest on vacation because the organization’s busy periods were often during the normal holiday breaks (i.e. spring break, summer, winter break). She didn’t realize how much of a toll this took on her family until after she left that job. It strikes me as for many of us with privilege our resting is often at the cost of others who work taking care of our kids or other parts of our lives so we can rest.
Other people have mentioned similar stories. Many of us pocs in the nonprofit world hustle hard. We need to rest too and not just on weekends or in short spurts. Many pocs also have outside responsibilities – families, multigenerational families to support, community ties and side projects. These all feed our souls in different ways, but resting and not thinking are good too.
There is more emphasis on resting. The BIPOC ED Coalition recently awarded stipends and respite awards to make it possible and encourage leaders of color to take much-needed breaks and invest in themselves. In looking at the list of recipients I see so many colleagues who deserve a break and this will allow them to take a long break and keep their organizations functioning while they are away. Washington Women Foundation has a Black Women Rest & Repair fund to help find Black women who are doing so much and invest in their ability to rest. Allies, please invest in these programs and find your own ways of supporting poc leaders who deserve a break.
If Naps are Not Your Thing
My not-secret secret is I’m not a nap person. I don’t like taking naps. Once in a great while I’ll nap but it is a rarity – like I got my COVID vaccine and that forces me to take a nap, but generally I’m not a napper. I do like to veg out and mindlessly do stuff and let my brain turn off. Sometimes that means watching non-thinking TV, do a jigsaw puzzle, go to a good yoga class (which I need to get back into, COVID put a stop to this). I quit pretending I’m being productive about this time — no I’m not reading books, not learning a new life skill, no I’m not writing — I’m probably doing something like watching bad TV and enjoying it.
Several years ago, I went to a fab session on mindfulness for POCs. The presenter, a Black mindfulness expert – Mindfulness for the People, talked about how many times the word mindfulness doesn’t resonate with pocs because it sounds too big and daunting – many pocs don’t have the luxury of time or money to go to spa days or fancy retreats. Instead, she offered the idea of radical self-care where we invest in smaller acts that we can embed in everyday lives that are investments in ourselves – taking a mindful walk as part of a daily commute, savoring a peach or favorite fruit, weekly movement class just for you. I hope you’ll find these moments to rest your brain and soul, take that rest.
Why I wrote this: I wanted to think about how we can invest in ourselves by not hustling, and to encourage friends and colleagues to take their well earned breaks too.
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I am writing from the lands of the 29 federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes in now Washington State, including the Coast Salish people — Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, Snohomish, and Native American organizations that have treaty rights and have been here since time immemorial. I give my thanks to the elders, Native and Indigenous colleagues and relations, and the land itself. Fakequity pays “rent” to Native organizations in Washington and Hawaii; a small act to repair and work to be in more justice-based relations.