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This Disney Channel Star Spoke to the Importance of Rest, and You Need to Hear It

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Raven-Symoné, known from Disney Channel hits like “That’s So Raven,” “Raven’s Home,” “The Cheetah Girls” franchise and the round table show “The View,” recently spoke on the intersection of grind culture and youth — and her message is so severely needed.

On an episode of “Uncensored” on TVOne, she spoke about how young folks are told to work hard and grind when they’re younger so they can rest when they’re older.

“One thing they’ll tell you as a kid is ‘you’re a kid, work as hard as you can now and you can sleep later when you’re old.’ It is a misconception and it is not fair. Just because we’re young doesn’t mean you can work us to the bone. They say ‘oh, you’re young you have the energy!’ No I don’t, I’m a human, leave me be. They will work you because you’re trying to build a brand. ‘You gotta go, go, go, go, go.’ No. Take a vacation.”

The idea that you can finally rest when you’re old isn’t new, and in fact, the modernized version of our retirement system started with German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck in 1889. In order to stave off an uprising, he promised to pay people 70 and older to leave the workforce permanently. In the states around that same time, the private sector (specifically the railroad industry) introduced retirement benefits. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced these benefits on the federal level, and after World War II when the states’ economy rebounded, the picture perfect image of leisurely retirement days spent golfing and beaching and going to grandkids’ recitals was born.

Then, in my opinion, it died.

The oldest millennials are turning 41 or so this year, while the youngest are turning 26. This generation has officially lived through multiple government shut downs, economic crises, wars, and even a pandemic, and have been expected to work through it all to get through the shiny retirement gates. Rest is for the accomplished and older, and thus we have to work for our rest, which is a very inhumane, unsustainable, and dangerous way to live for abled and disabled people alike.

You shouldn’t have to earn rest, or any other basic human need. 

Raven said it best — people won’t stop you from working and in the U.S., capitalism champions the hard worker with no end in sight. The more you give, the more they’ll take, and the lack of rest can contribute to health conditions such as chronic stress, heart failure, poor sleep, increased chance of stroke, and decreases in sex drive and appetite. Not to mention how pervasive burnout is on individuals. Rest is important and it’s needed for every age group, but especially for the young and disabled and/or chronically ill who are still being told that rest is for when you’re older and not right now. Rest is such an important part of treatment for people with health conditions, and if rest is earned through hard work, we risk pushing ourselves dangerously beyond our limits which can worsen our conditions. It’s a scary cycle that if not broken, can have dire consequences.

You’re a human being. You deserve to take that nap, vacation, and time off without guilt, promise.

Lead image from Raven Symoné’s Instagram

Originally published: June 1, 2022
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