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The Nap Ministry wants you to know you are worthy of rest

Tricia Hersey, founder of The Nap Ministry. (Courtesy)
Tricia Hersey, founder of The Nap Ministry. (Courtesy)

We’ve all heard of burnout, “Zoom fatigue,” and the benefits of doing a social media detox.

But when we finally do take time to rest, many of us still feel guilty.

That feeling is evidence we’ve been brainwashed by hustle culture, says Tricia Hersey, founder of The Nap Ministry, an organization that promotes the healing power of naps and the idea that rest is a form of resistance.

Hersey says we need to give ourselves permission to rest. It’s why she set an automatic email response that states, “I’m prioritizing rest over responding.”

“Part of this work is living it and embodying it. It’s not just some social media project for me,” she says. “If you say you want to resist the systems that are treating you like a human machine, part of that is going to have to be making decisions, being intentional, being extremely connected to what your body really needs and wants.”

A basic foundation of Hersey’s work is her assertion that sleep deprivation is a social justice issue. For Black people specifically, sleep deprivation traces back to slavery and the long hours they were forced to work on plantations, Hersey says. That same “machine-level pace of labor” is what’s driving capitalism today.

“And so when I say that the idea of resisting a system that says you are a part of the cog in this wheel. Your body doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to the clock,” she says. “So to resist that, to disrupt that and say that’s not true. That’s a lie. I’m divine. I can rest. Rest is my natural state. It is my birthright. To disrupt that and push back is the social justice piece of it.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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