I think this quote about rest is important. I also think you could apply the same thinking to any form of self-care.
In fact, when I think about it, I’m often resting so that, when I’m done, I can immediately go do something else. This doesn’t foster a healthy relationship with rest, and it puts undue pressure on me. My rest needs to be “good” rest, otherwise I won’t be able to do what I want to do. I’m not resting for the sake of it, which can take away the power and benefits of doing it in the first place.
In this era of productivity and life-hacking, I’m concerned that rest often gets misappropriated. Why should I be looking to get the most out of resting my body? What’s the point of rushing through a process that restores my cognitive and physical health? What are we doing here?
I say this applies to all forms of self-care because we have a culture that tells us all the time that being productive and getting things done is the entire basis of our value as human beings. Naturally, we look at activities like resting, eating, and other forms of self-care as a necessary part of being productive, but we never see their value on their own. We’re resting because we worked hard during the week or because our bodies are exhausted and need a refresh before returning to it. We eat because we need the calories to burn. We meditate so that we can focus better on our work. We spend time with others to build relationships and extend our network. We read to seem interesting to others.
We never do things just because we want to. To Nathan’s point, we don’t get the full benefits of these activities because we only do them to get to the next thing on our list of accomplishments. They aren’t self-care as much as stepping stones to the next agenda item. They are the coins that help us get to the next level of the video game. We value them for what they help us achieve, not because collecting them was enjoyable. So, we miss out on how enjoyable it could be and don’t get the rest, nourishment, and fulfillment we should be getting.