Voices from a day on Rest

By collective voices

In 2021, SOTA organised a day on Rest. Here are some reactions and reflections people joining this event from and at different places. Read more about the event in the introduction to this chapter on page

  1. Sometimes, the thing is that there is almost no work for people like me who can work only 10 hours a week. It’s very hard to find and mostly unpaid. Being chronically ill is a job and you get very little respect. I got sick at 24, people call me lazy. But rest is the future. I think it’s so important to talk about this and experiment. It’s taboo for most people. You have to be energetic at work, in sports, in your different roles…
    I still lie about rest, even after 20 years ill. If i leave a party, i say “i have to get up early” or something. I have the feeling that only other sick people understand me.

  2. I realised already something about my structural vision on weekends: Weekends are time zones to work more because other people work less. You’re less distracted by mail, have less online meetings, more time to concentrate on your own work. As an independent worker, I never understood the notion of ‘weekend work’, unless it was as quality time :-) Do I have a problem? I guess it’s a privilege: the privilege of having no children. But is this really a privilege? It’s something to reflect more upon. Is reflecting on work working? Is working on changing your working habits work?

  3. very neutral walls, colours, floors – the rooms very clean and white and silent – NO CLUTTER and no distraction > helps to rest! the less confusion the more I can relax and the situation is restful. There was no time when the rest-exercise would end – this takes a lot of stress away.
    I think when I am too tired, I cannot rest. Then, first, I have to sleep to get rid of exhaustion, only then resting (deep resting) is possible.
    To be unavailable creates the conditions to rest – but this mandate has to be given > either by an exercise or by someone or by myself. There needs to be a mandate because often we think we are required to be available. Maybe we are?
    Resting takes time. Often, I only allow myself to rest when other things have been finished. However, I think I might be able to finish other things much faster when I am rested > I should maybe rest first, or in the middle instead of at the end of my day or energy. Resting is considered lazy and therefore not highly esteemed. In our fast and furious society, we tend to count and measure. Joy, playfulness, relaxedness is hard to measure and therefore does not get much value?
    a practice could be to be as strict as we try to be with payment with the notion of resting. Getting enough ‘holidays’, enough hours of sleep, playing, strolling or dolce far niente per day, per week, per year. Spiritually speaking, it is only in these moments when the intellect is forced a bit to the background that our minds can develop. Resting must be de-taboo-ed. Resting is desirable. In a way, our society has created a culture of being busy and being stressed. For a while, I had the impression that if you did not say I am busy and I have a lot of work, it meant that you are not successful or doing well. Did we forget how to not be busy? Doing nothing is confronting. Being bored is confronting. Waiting is confronting. So, we keep ourselves busy, so that we dont have to be confronted.

  4. A fragmented mind doesn’t allow for rest. Ambition and Perfectionism = enemy of rest? When will anything be good enough? Can a product-oriented, market-driven art ecology allow for restful work? How can we put restful work into practice?
    Coming back to the Nap Ministry: Maybe rest in our society will always be some form of resistance. Rest as an activist statement.

  5. I am not ready for all this resting. It was good to reflect on resting and I am even more aware how difficult it is to find rest and how big my need for rest is. What makes it so difficult to rest? As someone has written above, we live in a culture of being busy: there’s a lot of pressure to chase experiences and things to feel happy. On the other hand, it runs in the family. My mother comes from a family of farmers, and resting equals being lazy. You can only rest when all the work is done, but the work is never done.

  6. Great idea that rest should be incorporated into contracts, orders, etc. But should how it was used be reported? That would create rest stress. Competition between people would eat out the rest 10% (possible legislative quota of rest) unless it is in the legislation. The wellbeing of people is fundamental for sustainable development of the world. Lack of rest causes overconsumption, sickness, inequality, etc. Now that the world is going to warm by 3 degrees C with unpredictable changes, it is the last time to stop, be quiet and have a rest. Resting is individual. Capability to rest in given surroundings and features is individual. Resting should promote and propose things to test in resting performance – allowing adjustments, discarding, adopting, such as a weighted blanket. The world slows down when individuals slow down, starting with one person. Resting experience made me think that I can be one of them. Rest was great.

  7. An eventful day of resting-as-non-performance. Planned on a Saturday. First questions: why not a weekday? How/why does rest oppose work? I’ve grown less restless. Two reasons:
    coming of age! The more you see what you (can (not)) do, the easier it is to (not try to) do it. Coming of age is not a matter of age (although: what’s the demographic here?).
    having other priorities. There is no reason an artist cannot cop out while a banker would. Such priorities might include family/friends (beyond your art bubbles!). Being a parent. Or hobbies? 🤓 grow a garden. Or a body. Or some multilingualism.