Embracing Rest as a Radical Act: Insights from “Rest is Resistance”


As a clinical social worker specializing in working with first-gens, I’ve witnessed the unique challenges this demographic faces. The pressure to succeed, honor familial sacrifices, and navigate cultural differences often leads to chronic stress and burnout. This is why Tricia Hersey’sRest is Resistance” is an essential read for us.

In “Rest is Resistance,” Hersey, the founder of The Nap Ministry, presents a compelling case for reclaiming rest as a form of resistance against a culture obsessed with productivity. Hersey’s philosophy isn’t just about taking naps; it’s about reimagining the value of rest and recognizing it as a fundamental human right.

Why This Book Matters for First-Gens

For many children of immigrants, there’s an ingrained belief that relentless hard work is the key to honoring our parents’ sacrifices and achieving success. This mindset, while rooted in respect and gratitude, can often lead to an unhealthy cycle of overwork and neglect of our well-being. Hersey’s book challenges this notion by advocating that rest is not a luxury but a necessity.

Hersey’s words resonate deeply with those of us who feel the weight of generational expectations. She writes, “Rest is a form of resistance because it disrupts and pushes back against capitalism and white supremacy.” This radical idea can be particularly empowering for first-gens, who often find themselves at the intersection of multiple systemic pressures.

Reclaiming Our Time and Well-being

One of the most striking aspects of “Rest is Resistance” is its emphasis on self-care as a communal act. Hersey encourages us to view rest not only as a personal need but as a collective practice that can strengthen our communities. By prioritizing rest, we can create a ripple effect that challenges the status quo and promotes a healthier, more sustainable way of living.

Hersey’s approach aligns perfectly with my work as a clinical social worker. I often advise my clients on the importance of setting boundaries and finding balance. However, Hersey takes it a step further by framing rest as a radical, political act. This perspective can be liberating for those who feel guilty or unworthy of rest due to cultural and family expectations.

Practical Steps to Integrate Rest

Incorporating rest into our lives doesn’t require drastic changes. Hersey offers practical advice that is both accessible and transformative. Here are some steps inspired by her book that I recommend:

  • Create Rest Rituals: Establish daily or weekly rituals that prioritize rest. This could be a quiet morning routine, a digital detox, or a dedicated nap time.
  • Challenge Productivity Culture: Reflect on how societal expectations of productivity affect your well-being. Give yourself permission to rest without guilt.
  • Build a Rest Community: Find like-minded individuals who value rest and self-care. Share experiences and support each other in resisting the pressure to overwork.
  • Honor Your Body’s Needs: Listen to your body and respond to its signals. Rest when you’re tired, and recognize that your worth is not tied to your productivity.

A Powerful Call to Action

Rest is Resistance” is a powerful call to action for all of us, especially first-gens who often carry the heavy burden of expectations. Tricia Hersey’s message is clear: we deserve rest, and embracing it can be a radical, transformative act. Our souls require it. As a social worker, I recommend this book to anyone seeking to break free from the chains of chronic overwork and reclaim their well-being.

Remember, rest is not a weakness but a strength. It’s time we honor ourselves by embracing rest as an essential part of our lives.

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Hi, I’m Jessica! I’m a licensed clinical social worker, entrepreneur, and wellness expert with a passion for helping others thrive. Join me as I offer practical tips and resources for fellow students, professionals, and anyone seeking wisdom on improving their well-being.

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