Far too many of us have claimed productivity as the cornerstone of success. Brainwashed by capitalism, we subject our bodies and minds to work at an unrealistic, damaging, and machine‑level pace of work –– feeding into the same engine that enslaved millions into brutal labor for its virtuous benefit. Our worth does not reside in how much we produce, especially for a system that exploits and dehumanizes us. Rest, in its simplest form, becomes an act of resistance and a reclaiming of power because it disrupts and pushes back against capitalism and white supremacy.
From the founder and creator of The Nap Ministry, Rest Is Resistance is a battle cry, a guidebook, a map for a movement, and a field guide for the weary and hopeful. It is rooted in spiritual energy and centered in Black liberation, womanism, somatics, and Afrofuturism. With captivating storytelling and practical advice, all delivered in Hersey’s lyrical voice and informed by her deep experience in theology, activism, and performance art, Rest Is Resistance is a call to action and manifesto for those who are sleep deprived, searching for justice, and longing to be liberated from the oppressive grip of Grind Culture.
As someone who’s experienced burnout and still struggles with letting go of perfectionism and productivity, I was on board with a lot of this.
It’s interesting to think of rest as inherently valuable, not valuable by virtue of letting us feel rested — as an activity in itself, unnecessary to be justified by the outcome we produce from it. I fall into this thinking trap sometimes, of framing my breaks in terms of making me more effective and productive rather than part of life and a right to which I’m entitled.
Much of the book is repetitive — but that is intentional, as she frames herself the Nap Minister and approaches the book as a secular (theoretically) sermon, drawing on oral culture’s use of repetition to drive points home emotionally.
Her approach is rooted in religious beliefs and the text is supposedly secular, but steeped in spiritual language that can be a lot to wade through if you aren’t spiritual. She is dismissive of anyone who is not spiritual, claiming that capitalism and grind culture have separated us from our innate spirituality 🙄 We cannot rest because we are not spiritual. Thanks for the judgment lady. I almost quit at 75% because I don’t feel the need to be insulted but ultimately pushed through.
Unfortunately, she relied on spirituality as her justification for why humans deserve rest: because they are divine and their existence is a miracle 🙄 This feels like an oversight and missed opportunity to dig into this more. Relying on unexplained claims that depend on specific spiritual beliefs is not very convincing. Her explanation of the Dream Space also needed more, in my opinion.
She also claims it is necessary to “detox” from technology completely to be able to rest. I understand her stance on social media being an expression of Grind Culture, but I feel demanding a complete removal of technology is dismissive of those for whom technology is a connector of community — disabled people, anyone living in an area where they are out of place ideologically, anyone who does not have the opportunity to form local in-person community.