Activist Rachel Cargle Is Helping Give ‘A Year of Rest’ to People Working Toward Racial Justice
Rachel Cargle understands the importance of taking time to recharge. As a multi-hyphenate business woman, author, speaker, activist, philanthropic innovator, and public academic—with a finite amount of time (and energy)—it’s a key to how she manages to accomplish so much.
Last year, the entrepreneur partnered with Getaway, the hospitality company that offers mindful nature escapes, for a program called "A Year of Rest" in order to give 365 nights of time off in its cabins to Black people working for change and those fighting for the Black community. The program is back for a second year (this time in partnership with Mailchimp), and nominations are open now through Aug. 9 on getaway.house.
"One of the things that I love... [is that] we're not only giving them nights of rest, but we're ensuring that people have transportation there and food, so it's a very encompassing opportunity, and they really have nothing to focus on or worry about besides getting the rest that they deserve," says Cargle, who we caught up with recently.
Below you’ll find part of our talk, in which we discuss the A Year of Rest program, how she finds time to take off in our hustle-focused society, and ways we should all be actively thinking about taking care of ourselves in big and small ways.
Well+Good: Your collaboration with Getaway for Rest 2.0 feels so needed at this time. Rest has definitely been front and center in recent years, and I'd love to hear what made you excited to do this again?
Rachel Cargle: Well, I think that idea, when it came into my mind, I certainly was hoping that it lasted more than just one iteration. And I think that once we witnessed the way that it had such an impact, both for the people who were giving the rest—as well as the opportunities for the people who are making nominations to be able to honor the people who have been helping them in their communities—it was just really beautiful to witness. And I hope we do it for a very long time.
W+G: How do you see this idea of rest and what that means? And how do you think that has shifted over the past year or at least come into more people's consciousness?
RC: I think we're all being a little more critical about the ways we participate in systems that have been oppressing marginalized groups. Particularly here [in the United States], we're having the conversation of the systems of racism and white supremacy and how, oftentimes, the very people who are most oppressed are doing the most work on behalf of lifting society as a whole into better spaces.
And so, as we're having more conversation about how we all participate in these systems, people are recognizing the privilege that they hold within them. And it's been a really beautiful reckoning of how resistance doesn't always look like the fight, that resistance can also look like the rest.
"And I think it's been a really beautiful reckoning of how resistance doesn't always look like the fight, that resistance can also look like the rest."
W+G: I love that sentiment, and I'd love to hear how you think that idea relates to, or doesn't relate to, the idea of self care. Because those two things have sort of always been, I wouldn't say conflated, but talked about in a lot of the same ways.
RC: Of course self care and rest have been buzzwords on the internet, but also in academic spaces and in very real community conversations. A lot of self care has turned into a capitalist pursuit for some brands. And sometimes, the rest is still not being understood a necessary part of the process. But what I love about this collaboration is that we are emphasizing all of those. We're emphasizing the rest of being in nature and being in a space where your body doesn't necessarily have to actively be in resistance. We're talking about self care and the way that these people are saying, "You know what? I do indeed deserve a moment." I always say of the recipients that I'm so proud of them for taking on this opportunity, because when you're in the fight and you're in motion, it's sometimes hard to slow down.
But I also want to add the term "community care" into the conversation. That aspect is just as important as the self care, because when we are able to recognize when one of us is tired and the others can step in, and one of us might need more of something that all of us can contribute to, that is also a part of the greater work. All of them are important, and I love the ways that all of them show up in this particular initiative.
Listen to others talk about self care and rest on The Well+Good Podcast:
W+G: That's such a great point. I'd love to hear about your own experiences and personal thoughts or revelations about embracing rest and going against this grind culture mentality, especially as someone who has a million projects going on.
RC: Well, a lot of my work, particularly as a business woman, is looking at life and seasons and recognizing and really homing in on the natural rhythm of the environments of earth, of humanity. And so that rest has to be part of how I show up, because it is recognized by me as not a reward or not a byproduct of good work, but as a necessary part of the good work. And so it's been really wonderful to find ways to weave that into every aspect of how I show up in the world.
Thinking about, on a personal note, the way that I take naps every day, and I have been able to wean myself from feeling guilty about it. Or the ways that within my company at Loveland, we have Summer Rest and Winter Rest where my team can take two weeks paid time off [in the year]. In order for me to expect people to show up fully, they have to be well rested.
And so I don't take rest as being an idea, but it's like a rigorous practice in my life, in this world, within how I approach philanthropy, and how I approach collaboration, obviously.
W+G: The idea of rest being a practice is such an important one. On Instagram, you post a lot of these lovely, wonderful moments of you and your home, so I'd love to hear how you make your space a place of rest, whether it's a personal thought or how you think others can also include that as part of their rest practice.
RC: I love my apartment so much, and it really has become a huge space for rest and ease. And that's because I bring my values into my home in the fabrics, in the lighting. I like to keep my home fairly low key. And I have particular music that I love playing in my home. I have speakers in most of the rooms to keep the vibe maintained, I guess.
But it really is a gift to ourselves. I talk a lot about how much I love being a homemaker for myself and how, oftentimes, we assume that the making of a home, nesting, is something reserved for mothers or wives. And I think that me as a 32-year-old Black woman living in Brooklyn and saying, "I am deeply a homemaker, and I'm very invested in what my environment feels like," it's just a moment of gratefulness, really, for the opportunity to live in this space and have a home.
Anyone who has a home is incredibly privileged because they are the ones who have the means to really make it into something that feels good to them and well to them. I don't take this for granted, and so I take a lot of pride in being able to cultivate a sense of my values in my home, which is one of the highest ones. And I think my apartment feels that way, very much so.
"One of the things that really clicked for me is that rest doesn't always have to be reactive to being tired, that I have the capability of managing myself in a way where rest can be so active."
W+G: You talked a little bit about your personal journey to embracing rest and not feeling guilty for napping. I think that there is a lot of guilt, specifically with marginalized groups, about embracing rest and making that a part of your practice. I'd love to hear your thoughts on how to get over that sort of nagging feeling—that in this grind culture society that you're not doing enough or you're not producing enough. How does one get over that?
RC: It's a mindset change. Our bodies naturally lead us to the moments when we need to rest. And it's really about shifting our thought process in order to grant our bodies the rest that it is often asking for. And so one of the things that really clicked for me is that rest doesn't always have to be reactive to being tired, that I have the capability of managing myself in a way where rest can be so active. That I recognize that I have a long day ahead or have a long week ahead, and so I want to get my body or my mind or my emotions to rest in order to prepare myself and equip myself as much as possible for what's ahead.
Oftentimes we think of rest or self care in a reactive way of like, "I've hit rock bottom," or, "I'm completely burnt out, and now I need to figure out ways to give myself rest." I think that a more proactive conversation, a more proactive thought process can go a really long way.
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