07 Jan

Rest is a revolution, and I'm declaring it now: 2024 is the year I reclaim it. Late last year, my health numbers told a story I could no longer ignore. As a Black man juggling the weight of anxiety, ADHD, and depression, I've felt the pressure to push through without pause. But no more. Rest is not a luxury—it's a lifeline, especially for those of us who have had to fight for every moment of peace.

Did you know that chronic lack of sleep can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and depression, and in those with ADHD, it can significantly impact concentration and mood? It's a cycle I found myself trapped in, leading to increased blood pressure, constant headaches, and weight gain in 2023.  Last year I saw numbers on the scale and blood pressure monitor that I have never seen before. 

But I've learned, and I want to share these lessons with you, especially my fellow parents and professionals who juggle multiple roles. Rest isn't just a pause; it's a powerful tool for mental and physical rejuvenation.  Many times, we think that resting is just taking a few minutes to sit in the car before we go into the house or taking a few extra minutes in the restroom to gather our thoughts.  But it's more to it than just those attempts to find moments away from everything.  We must be intentional about rest and making sure that we allow ourselves to be in a position to receive it. 

It's crucial to acknowledge that not everyone has equal access to this essential resource. As a Black man, I've come to realize that the luxury of rest is often a privilege that many in our community don't have. Historically and culturally, Black men have faced systemic barriers and societal pressures that make true rest elusive. Studies have shown that Black men are more likely to experience stress from various sources, including workplace discrimination, racial profiling, and socioeconomic challenges. This constant state of alertness and stress can significantly hinder the ability to rest, both mentally and physically. The cultural narrative around the need to be continuously strong and resilient further adds to this burden, often leading to a neglect of mental and physical health. 

Rest is resistance! Rest is revolutionary! Rest is Required! It's time we change this narrative and prioritize rest as a form of self-care and preservation. Rest is not just a personal responsibility; it's a societal one. We need to create environments and cultures that support and encourage rest, especially for those who have been systemically denied it. Here are some ways we can start making a change:

  1. Community Support: Building strong support systems where experiences and challenges can be shared and addressed collectively.
  2. Awareness and Education: Increasing awareness about the importance of rest and its impact on overall health, specifically in Black communities.
  3. Advocacy for Workplace Equality: Promoting equitable practices in the workplace to ensure that Black men have the same opportunities for rest and recuperation as their counterparts.
  4. Mental Health Resources: Improving access to mental health resources that cater to the specific needs of Black men.
  5. Cultural Shift: Challenging and changing the narrative around Black masculinity and the misconception that rest is a sign of weakness.

As we move forward, let's remember that rest is not a luxury; it's a fundamental human need. By acknowledging and addressing these disparities, we can work towards a future where everyone can rest, recharge, and live healthier, more fulfilling lives.

I invite you to share your thoughts and experiences on this critical issue. Together, we can advocate for change and support each other in our journeys towards better health and well-being.

For more insights and tips on balancing life, health, and work, don't forget to subscribe to my newsletter HERE. Together, let's make 2024 a year of well-rounded success.

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