The Rest Trials

Hello and welcome to another edition of Letters from Ximena. I have some exciting news to share in this month’s newsletter, so let’s get to it!

Book news 📚

If you’ve been following this newsletter, you know that last year, I quit my job after becoming burnt out. Since then, I’ve learned just how bad I am at resting — my overachieving tendencies and internalized guilt over not always doing something have repeatedly gotten in the way. I’ve also learned that the resting tactics that look good on paper don’t always cut it. (Spoiler alert: quitting your job does not magically leave you well-rested.) I’ve tried using my phone less, napping more, asking for help when I need it, among other experiments, all to varying degrees of success.

Resting well is a tough nut to crack, so this month, I’m thrilled to share that I have a new book in the works to help with just that. The Rest Trials: What I Learned From a Year of Soundbaths, Siestas, and Other Experiments in Slowing Down will be a guide to reclaiming the rest we all so badly need. I’ll explore what it means to rest, why we get so little of it, and how we sometimes get in our own way, despite knowing how essential rest is to our wellbeing. Through personal experiments, expert interviews, and lots of research, I’m determined to unlock the secret to getting good, quality rest that fits into our busy, chaotic lives.

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The manuscript is due in nine months (!!!). As I embark upon my research journey, I welcome your suggestions on who to talk to or what to read. In addition to consulting with behavioral scientists, sociologists, and rest researchers, I’ll also be interviewing and surveying folks to hear about their personal rest rituals and practices (or lack thereof!). That’s where readers like you come in!

I want to hear from you! 👂🏽

If you’re interested in being part of the research process, I’d love to hear from you. Have you found a rest practice that works for you? Tried it all and still came up short? Whether you’ve struggled to rest or mastered it, I am here for your story. You can sign up here to share your rest rituals and be included in future outreach on this project.

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Whether you’re an overachiever by nature, a workhorse by necessity, or simply too busy surviving to think about resting, I want to help you get through the day feeling more than just okay. When we’re well rested, we’re better versions of ourselves — more empathetic, insightful, patient, and tolerant. We’re kinder, more optimistic, and able to harness our energy for ourselves and for the greater good.

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Solving the problem of rest isn’t, of course, strictly personal. We need policy changes and organizational support to put rest in reach for the average American. (Universal daycare, anyone?) But waiting for the government or our employer to act on our behalf can leave us feeling powerless. In addition to donating our time and energy to causes we support, protesting for policy change, and organizing for better working conditions, we also need to take care of ourselves day-to-day. That feels like something that just cannot wait a moment longer.

Going forward, you’ll see me begin to explore some of these topics in more detail, so be sure to subscribe if you haven’t already for a look at what I’m learning.

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What I’m reading 📖

Unsurprisingly, I’m reading a lot about… rest! From fiction to memoir to business, I’m taking a look at it all right now. Here are a few books I’ve gotten through recently.

  • My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Ottessa Moshfegh (fiction). This was a dark and compelling read chronicling a strange and desperate path to getting “rest.”
  • How to do Nothing, Jenny Odell (despite its title, this is not your traditional self-help book; it’s actually categorized as social sciences). Unconventionally woven together, with lots of thought-starters to consider.
  • Wintering, Katherine May (memoir).

In other news

  • 📃 The Life Audit redux: The pandemic has left many of us in a fog about what comes next, so it was a treat to see this coverage in Inc. on how The Life Audit, a system I created years ago to help drive personal clarity, can help at this particular moment in time: How 100 Post-it Notes Can Help You Feel in Control of Your Life Again. Check it out if you haven’t tried it already and let me know how your life audit goes.

As always

💌 As always, the best thing you can do for me is share this edition of the newsletter, or others you enjoy, with your friends and coworkers. Thanks for being here and for sharing the love. 💌

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Author, Listen Like You Mean It. UX researcher, TWTR, PINS, etc. I write about the intersection of technology + society + personal growth. ximenavengoechea.com

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Ximena Vengoechea

Ximena Vengoechea

Author, Listen Like You Mean It. UX researcher, TWTR, PINS, etc. I write about the intersection of technology + society + personal growth. ximenavengoechea.com

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