Give Yourself A Break. Not Planning IS Planning.

"If you get tired, learn to rest not quit."—Banksy


Recently, I read a tweet that said something along the lines of, "We're not working at home. We're living at work." Y'all, as someone who does work from home (I have for years, even before this pandemic hit), something about that really touched every part of my soul. Because even though I really like working from home, even though I'm an ambivert (which is basically an introvert that is assumed to be an extrovert, at times) and even though I 1000 percent enjoy my own company, I have to accept that something COVID-19 has done—and is continuing to do—is alter our social lives in ways where it seems like we just keep going…and going…and going. No movie breaks. No lunches with friends. No hanging out at other people's homes for a change of scenery. And so, since we're in the house—our house—so much, while oftentimes trying to figure out what to do to break up some of the monotony of our lives, we work. And when we're not working, we plan. And when we're not doing either, it's like for feel guilty for not doing both.

If that resonated with you on levels that you didn't even realize it would until you read it, let me just say that what I'm about to share, I wrote with you specifically in mind. With all that the pandemic has taken out of us, it is so important that you give yourself permission to take a break. I'm not talking about going to sleep or surfing the 'net before you turn in at night. I mean taking real bona fide breaks without any guilt, reservation or apology. And here's why I am fully at peace with recommending that you do so.

What Does It Mean to Plan?


Fail to plan, plan to fail. We've all heard that saying before. Let me tell it, it's a huge part of the reason why a lot of us are either totally overwhelmed or low-key workaholics. It's because society really has programmed us to think that if we're not acting like a human version of the Energizer bunny, we're somehow being irresponsible. That we're not making the absolute most of our time.

So, let's break out of that toxic way of thinking, shall we?

By definition, a plan is "a scheme or method of acting, doing, proceeding, making, etc." It's also "a specific project" and "a definite purpose".

We plan what we're going to wear to work. We plan how we're going to spend our time at the office. Then we plan what we're going to eat for dinner—only to get up and repeat this cycle (this semi-vicious cycle) all over again. And shoot, that's not to mention the "bigger plans" that fill up our minds on a daily basis.

It's because of all of this busy-ness that "plan" seems so much like an action verb. Yet look at the definitions again. In reality, the word "plan" is actually a noun. And you know what? Who said that coming up with a plan always had to be about being on the go (or preparing to be on the go) all of the time? The definitions certainly don't. Again, a plan is simply a method of proceeding, a specific project and something that has a definite purpose. So, why can't rest be a plan? Y'all, that's not a rhetorical question because, the reality is, it absolutely should.

What Does It Mean to Rest?


A couple of years ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, "How To Handle 'Purpose Fatigue'". Pardon the pun but, I really encourage you to plan to check it out at some point. For now, I'll just say that the reason why a lot of us do not thrive in life isn't because we don't have the skills, knowledge or expertise. At the end of the day, it boils down to the fact that we're freakin' tired. Worn out. Drained. And you can never make good decisions—plans—or present your best self from this kind of head and heart space. Yet again, because we don't give ourselves permission to rest, when we get to the point of being super fatigued it alters our judgment. Suddenly, we're out here wondering if we're in our purpose, if we should stay in our marriage, if we made the right decision by having kids—the list goes on and on. And if we feed into this psyche for too long, all planning goes out of the window as we exchange it for a truly not giving AF mentality instead. As a result, we find ourselves out here going through the motions—aimless. Never refueling. Just…out here with no real direction or desire…for anything, really.

When it gets to this point and place, there really is only one remedy. Y'all, it's to rest. Resting isn't just about sleeping, yet it's unfortunate how much this very simple point gets overlooked. Resting is about conscious inactivity, especially after working. And the purpose of rest is the refresh and relieve oneself.

OK, let me reiterate that last part. First, rest has a purpose. Second, the purpose is to refresh and relieve oneself—specifically from labor. This means that if whatever you're doing and calling rest isn't refreshing (restoring) and relieving (freeing you from anxiety, alleviating distress, easing you of burdens) you, it…isn't.
The reason why this is so important to put on record is it's very common for a lot of us to crash in the bed for a weekend and come out of it just about as tired as we were before we got in. It's because we were physically exhausted and perhaps we slept yet we still didn't really rest. If your mind was still going in a million directions, if you were still on social media, if you answered every (or every other) phone call—sis, that wasn't resting. Unless you are refreshed and relieved, YOU DID NOT REST (and yes, I am yelling that). No one can say they have rested, unless they are refreshed and relieved by doing it. When's the last time you've been able to say that?

How Rest and Not Planning Is the Ultimate Plan


Let's tie this all in, so that you can put a rest plan together, OK? Remember how the title of this said that not planning is planning? That wasn't clickbait. It's the truth. When you make a decision to not do anything that you normally/typically do in the name of refreshing and relieving yourself—how is that not a plan?

Again, a plan is a method of proceeding. A plan is a specific project. A plan is a definite purpose. Since rest restores you, planning to do it and nothing else is all about deciding that you are going to proceed with a project that consists of doing absolutely nothing for the purpose of reestablishing you, bringing strength and vigor back to you and getting to a point and place of holistic health and well-being. Sis, if that ain't one hell of a plan, I don't know what is.

Now that you know this, how are you going to put your rest-and-not-planning plan into place? Whatever "it" is, it can't be work-related. Whatever it is, it can't require doing anything that won't refresh and relieve you. Whatever it is, you've got to come out of it feeling completely restored. Otherwise, you didn't rest at all.

Isn't it crazy that when you take the true essence of rest into consideration, you suddenly realize that you probably rarely ever do it? And yet, there's no time like the present to start. Pull out your journal, pour yourself a glass of wine, put on some soothing music and figure out how to plan to not plan. How to be OK with sitting in a tub for an hour. How to be at peace with turning everything with an "on" button off for an entire weekend. How to not feel guilty for letting your kids stay an extra night with a trusted loved one. How to be good with saying, "I don't know" when someone asks you what your plans are for next week when you want to just not think for a while. How to choose to not plan for next month or year for a couple of weeks so that you can catch your breath and process from a more balanced space.

I know what I'm like when I'm tired. I make plans that I normally wouldn't if I were in a more rested space. That's why, these days, I typically refuse to plan anything until I've gotten some real time off of the clock in order to rejuvenate myself. And y'all, when that happens, I rarely ever regret what I decide to do.

Rest is not a luxury. If you want to live your best life, it is an absolute necessity. Don't let anyone or thing make you feel otherwise. Plan to not plan—soon. Your mind, body and spirit will be all the better for it. And then some.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

This article is in partnership with Staples.

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