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You're Tired AF. But What Kind Of Rest Do You Need?

"Most of the things we need to be most fully alive never come in busyness. They grow in rest."—Mark Buchanan

Wellness

OK, so here's a totally random yet pretty interesting question. The last time that you found yourself talking to someone on the phone and hearing yourself say, "Whew, I'm just so tired" or "I could really use some rest", did you ever take a moment to think what you actually meant by that? While on the surface, this might seem like a very "duh" inquiry, the reality is, when it comes to fatigue, as a wise person once said, chile, there are levels to this.

For example, two definitions of the word "rest" are "to refresh oneself, as by sleeping, lying down, or relaxing" and "to relieve weariness by cessation of exertion or labor". Then there's the phrase "at rest" which means "free from worry; tranquil". As if that's not enough to ponder, there are also all of the types of rest (as heard in this viral TED talk by Saundra Dalton-Smith) that your mind, body, soul—or perhaps all three—are longing for.

That last part? That is what I want to encourage you to take a couple of moments to really think deep and hard about today. As I go through 10 different types of rest that we all tend to need at various points and times in our lives, reflect on which one resonates with you the most, right at this very moment. Because there is no way that you can get fully refreshed and replenished unless you know what area of your life needs the rest…the most.

1. Physical Rest

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Let's tackle what is probably the most obvious kind of rest that we find ourselves in need of—physical rest. Physical rest is all about getting 6-8 hours of sleep and/or slowing down because your body is physically drained. What are some clear indications that this is the type of rest that you actually need? On the sleep deprivation tip, if you are moody; you can't focus or concentrate; your libido is low; you are suddenly gaining weight; your memory is foggy or it seems like you're sick more than usual (due to a weakened immunity)—these are all indications that you are probably not getting as many hours of sleep as you should. But what if you are catching regular zzz's and you still feel sore, achy or just totally drained? That could mean that you are pushing your body too hard when you're working out or that you're simply not giving yourself time to just…chill.

If you can relate to any of this, the best thing that you can do is 1) make sleep a top priority and/or 2) take a couple of days to do nothing but just relax. Perhaps rather than a strenuous exercise routine, opt for some yoga or taking a stroll through your neighborhood. Also, a nice soak in the tub to soothe your muscles and joints couldn't hurt either. Bottom line, never feel like so much is going on that you can't afford to give yourself the physical rest that your body needs and, quite frankly, deserves. On the physical tip, rest is always paramount.

2. Mental Rest

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OK, so how do you know when the rest that you actually need is not really physical but mental? That's a good question. Some clear indicators that a mental health day is in order is if you're anxious or worried to the point where you're not able to concentrate. Another indication that you might be in the need for a mental break is if you find yourself losing your temper a lot quicker than usual (yes, that means that you are being a pop-off) or, while you can't exactly put your finger on it, you feel disconnected from your life. What I mean by that is, things that typically matter a lot to you, right now, you don't too much care because you simply do not have the mental energy to hone in and focus.

If any of this resonates with you on some level, you're not going to do yourself (or anyone else) much good if you keep trying to push past your mental fatigue. One of the best things that you can do is A) take a day off so that you can rest and recharge and/or B) make an appointment with a therapist, counselor or life coach so that they can help you get to the root of what may be stressing you. Our minds are constantly working, so there are definitely times when it needs to get off of the roller coaster ride. If you are going through anything that I just shared, that is your cue to get some much-needed mental rest in.

3. Emotional Rest

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A dictionary definition of emotion is a state of consciousness. If you were to look up the dictionary definition for the word "heart", one of the things it would say is "center of emotions". That's one of the reasons why I'm not a fan of "following your heart" (follow your emotions?! Emotions change all of the time; besides, the Bible speaks against following your heart as well—Jeremiah 17:9-10), yet I am a fan of the Scripture, "Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life." (Proverbs 4:23—AMPC) For the record, guarding your heart does not mean building a symbolic barbed-wire fence around it. Guarding your heart just means that you acknowledge that your emotions are a part of who you are and it's important to watch how people, places, things and ideas influence it.

So, how do you know if it is past time for you to get some emotional rest? If you're sadder than usual. If you are restless when you try to sleep. If you feel numb (you're not really up or down). If you feel hopeless, confused or frustrated but you can't pinpoint the cause of why you feel this way. If you lack any sense of motivation. While all of this could point signs to low-key depression, before speaking with a physician or therapist, try reading articles that include signs that you're a people-pleaser, a love addict, you need to set better boundaries, or you're someone who is always preparing a man for another relationship and the pattern is devastating you. If any of this resonates with you, do some journaling in order to gain some clarity. Also, make sure to really listen to how you're feeling about the things that you are discovering about the root cause of your emotional discomfort.

While again, I'm not a "follow your heart" kind of person, I do believe that our feelings are emotional thermometers in the sense that they alert us to what we want, need or lack. As you discover more of what those things may be, express it to those you hold dear. Oftentimes, a person who needs emotional rest is simply someone who needs to be loved on a little bit more; they need a moment to receive some of what they so willingly give.

4. Spiritual Rest

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I was born into a faith that observes the Seventh-Day Sabbath (I talk about it more in the article, "What To Do When You Don't Know How To Chill Out"). This means that from Friday at sunset thru Saturday at sunset, I'm chillin'. My friends know that unless it's an emergency, I preferred not to be called on the phone, I have no plans for when I'll get out of bed and, I do no work and, a lot of the focus is my own spiritual health and well-being. I think about things that I can do to better my spirit, how I can be more giving to humanity and I ponder the areas where I could stand to evolve in my relationship with the Most High. While I am no longer a part of the denomination that introduced me to the gift of sabbath-keeping, it is one thing that I am truly thankful for and will honor for the rest of my life. There really is nothing like taking out a day, every week, to focus on how to spiritually grow and mature.

For those of you who consider Sunday to be your day of rest, I have a question for you about that—how much rest do you actually get? Waking up early to go to church, only to come home and eat and get ready for another Monday…that doesn't sound much like resting to me. Listen, this isn't about getting into the theological and Scriptural reasons why the Sabbath is still relevant, even now. I just want to encourage you to ask yourself if spiritual rest is even on your radar; if you really do set aside regular time for prayer, meditation and getting closer to your Creator. The reason why I wrote articles for the site like, "Here's Exactly How To Start Protecting Your Spirit", "I've Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul" and "What's The Difference Between Being 'Religious' And Being 'Spiritual', Anyway?" is because, well, it's like a wise person once said, "You do not have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." Since your soul is the essence of your being, if you don't make time to nurture it, you're gonna struggle with fully being at rest with the rest of who you are.

5. Social Rest

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This kind of rest is something that introverts and ambiverts tend to get on a pretty consistent basis. But if you're someone who gets a lot of your energy from being around other people (which is a surface-level definition of what it means to be an extrovert), this particular point is especially for you. People are great and none of us were designed to be an island. But if you find yourself in a space where you feel like you can't even hear your own thoughts, "thanks" to the constant chatter, advice and perspectives of others, that is a telling sign that you need some social rest. Another clear indicator is, whether you are an extrovert, introvert or ambivert, you are always esteemed as being "the strong one" (you might wanna read "Check In On Your Strong Friend: 4 Signs Your Friend Is Going Through Depression") in your relationships.

If you can relate to these points, social rest is about putting your phone on silent, not hanging out with your peeps and really just enjoying some time by yourself. It could be for a day, a weekend or even a couple of weeks. Social rest isn't about ostracizing yourself. It's about taking a moment to love on yourself, rejuvenate yourself and enjoy your own company without an audience. Everyone deserves that. No matter how "typically outgoing" they might be.

6. Financial Rest

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Not too long ago, I read a survey that said as much as 72 percent of Americans find themselves to be stressed out over money. What's really a trip about that is, it's a study that took place back in 2014. Can you imagine how folks are feeling in 2020 amidst this pandemic? Lord have mercy—literally.

So, how in the world can you get financial rest? There are a couple of angles that you can take. Something that I've been getting into the habit of doing more and more is paying bills ahead of their due date. Sometimes, even when it's something as simple as my car insurance or water bill, there is nothing like the sigh of relief that comes over me when the bill pops up in the mail (or my email) and I see a credit listed. Something else that can help you to become financially "free from worry" is to downsize a bit.

Do you need cable? Does your cell phone plan have more features than are actually necessary? How often are you gonna wear those new pair of shoes that you've been eyeing? Putting yourself into the position of having more money in your savings account than items all over your home can give you a sense of financial rest that you never knew you needed.

7. Creative Rest

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While I get that not everyone falls into the classic definition of being a creative, at the same time, I wholeheartedly believe that since we are all made in the image of the Creator, we all are capable of creating on some level. Our approach to our career path might be innovative. How we love others might be super original. If you conceived and birthed a child, you are sho 'nuf creative. And, if you're someone who knows that you are in your purpose and fulfilling your true calling, that is another indication of how you are living out your best life creatively. That said, creating can take a lot out of a person. In fact, that's why I wrote the article, "How To Handle 'Purpose Fatigue'" once upon a time.

Listen, I'll be the first one to raise my hand in this class and say that, when you know that you are actively doing what you were sent here to do (this includes knowing that you are loving who you were made to love because love is at the core of creativity), it can be hard to "get off of the clock"—that doesn't mean it isn't necessary, though. Creative rest includes taking vacations (whether that's alone, with your significant other or even just spending a weekend away from your kids every once in a while). It means intentionally setting aside time to NOT work on that manuscript, record that album, design that outfit, cultivate that company or whatever other idea that has you so excited (and perhaps even consumed).

Remember what I said about the Seventh-Day Sabbath earlier? Another reason why I am a Sabbath observer is because, according to the Bible, God rested on the Sabbath Day (Genesis 2:1-3). Since the Master Creator takes moments when He looks at all He's done, calls it good and then rests, as one of His very creations, who am I not to take His lead and do the same? Your creations will wait on their creator to tell them what to do (or do next). Step away from them from time to time so that you can give your all and best to them.

8. Electronic Rest

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What in the world is "electronic rest"? Anything that requires a plug (or battery) in order for you to use it, sometimes you need to go without those items, whether it's your smartphone, your laptop, your television or anything else that's electronic. The reality is there really is such a thing as sensory overload because electronic devices provide us with constant information, sometimes to the point where we end up feeling totally overwhelmed. For instance, have you ever wondered if you're a social media addict? Some indications that you very well may be is if you are unable to complete other tasks because you're constantly checking your social media accounts; you can't imagine going one day without turning your notifications off; you are consumed with how many likes or comments you get on your posts; you freak out when your favorite platform goes down; you are overly preoccupied with criticism or praise and/or you refuse to turn off your phone before retiring at night.

When I wrote the article, "8 Solid Reasons To Put. Your Phone. Down.", some points that I mentioned include the fact that always looking at devices can affect your vision, your level of calm and even the quality of your relationships (I know a spouse who, because of their cell phone addiction, they are having less sex with their partner because they are on their phone all hours of the night). If you just read any of this and felt like I was talking to you directly, do your entire self a favor and take a social media break. While you're at it, how about reading a book instead of watching anything on the tube? And as much as you may dig music (same here), try going without that (including in your car) for 24-48 hours as well. Sometimes the best thing that we can do for ourselves is embrace silence and what it brings to us. In order to do that, all of the plugged-in-background-noise has to go.

9. Sensual Rest

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If you're an unmarried person reading this, I already know that most people aren't gonna be abstinent for as long as I've been (which is going on 14 years now). But if you happen to be someone who reads articles on our site like, "Don't Mistake A Great Sex Partner For A Great Life Partner" and you're totally shaking your head because, words cannot express, just how much you can relate, or you checked out "These Are The Deal-Breakers You Shouldn't Hesitate To Have In The Bedroom" before and you get it in theory but you never really hit the mark of establishing the kind of sexual boundaries that you need, a season of abstinence might be exactly what the doctor ordered.

It wasn't until I scaled back from my sexual partners (check out "14 Lessons I've Learned From 14 Sex Partners") that I was able to see the patterns that I had set and why I was oftentimes totally depleted in my relationships or situationships. It was my long season of abstinence that has helped me to gain a greater sense of self-confidence and clarity about what I want, need and deserve beyond a great sex partner. I doubt I would've gotten to that place without, well…going without.

While we're here, I must say that sex in marriage is of the utmost importance (check out "10 Wonderful Reasons Why Consistent Sex In Marriage Is So Important", "10 Things Couples Who (Consistently) Have Great Sex Do" and "10 Married Couples Share The Keys To Their Totally Off-The-Chain Sex Life"). I will add that if you are currently in a sexless marriage, unless you're physically unable to connect in this way, it's usually a flag that something is very awry in your relationship. Still, there are seasons of sex that most couples go through. If you find that you and your partner don't seem to connect well other than in the bedroom (also check out "Make-Up Sex Might Be Doing Your Relationship More Harm Than Good"), it could mean that one or both of you are relying on sex to mask other issues. This means you're abusing sex on some level and taking some time to do things like sex journal, date and emotionally connect can help you to repair the areas where you're weary and currently struggling. That way, once you do come back together on a sexual/sensual level, the sex can be even better than it was before!

10. “Being” Rest

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And finally, what the heck is "being rest"? Someone once said that we are not humans "doing", we are humans being. If there is one thing that 2020 has done, it has revealed what humanity is truly capable of, both good and bad. Taking all of that in can be overwhelming. So, when I say that sometimes, it's cool to get some "human being rest"—remove yourself from the guilt of not being able to solve everyone's problems, fund all of humanity's crises or do more than what you are literally capable of. It's OK—encouraged even—to tell yourself sometimes, "I did the best that I can with what I've got. What I can't control, I won't even try to do" and then having a glass of wine while watching the sunset. Honestly, if you work to perfect this kind of rest, all of the others will automatically follow suit because being rest is about knowing your limits and not pushing past them. Rest well, sis.

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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.

Reparations

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
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