Say Yes to Rest and Play

It takes courage to say yes to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol. Dr. Brené Brown

Take a nap. I gave this advice to my brother thirty years ago and I still get teased for it in my family. He called home from college exhausted. He had just finished wrestling practice and had a paper to write or exam to study for - or maybe several. Hearing the weight of it all in his voice, I suggested that he take a nap before starting the work so that he could be refreshed and energized. 

He didn’t see it that way. “If I take a nap, all of the work will still be there and I’ll be an hour behind.” So he grinded away. I don’t remember how he ended up doing that semester, but I know that I got dubbed with the “take a nap” motto by my family forever after.

But I’m okay with that. I don’t know how I resisted the cultural pressure that Brene Brown talks about in which exhaustion is seen as a status symbol. Maybe I’m too practical. Back in high school, I did all of the things - played sports, took AP classes, went out with friends. And I recognized early that if I got too tired, I became useless. So taking that hour power nap might delay his start time, but would help my brother cut the amount he needed in half because he would work more effectively once he was rested.

Exhaustion doesn’t benefit anyone. We need to break the cycle of honoring it and instead point out when work quality suffers and stress levels get heightened. Don't be like the clown with the balloon in this image- on the brink of bursting.

And as Dr. Brown suggests, “say yes to rest and play.” I do my part now by helping people to integrate kinetic play into their day. To pause and pay attention to how they’re feeling, reconnect with their bodies and each other, and then go back to work a little more refreshed.

I guess I shifted from take a nap to take a play break.