Mental Health News The End of the Resolution Guide The End of the Resolution Guide Slow Living Why Resolutions Exist Why Resolutions Fail Dry January Food and Mental Health Mental Benefits of Physical Exercise Rest for Resistance Unsung Hero Spotlight: Rest for Resistance By Ariane Resnick, CNC Ariane Resnick, CNC Facebook Ariane Resnick, CNC is a mental health writer, certified nutritionist, and wellness author who advocates for accessibility and inclusivity. Learn about our editorial process Published on January 03, 2023 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Monica Johnson, PsyD Medically reviewed by Monica Johnson, PsyD Dr. Monica Johnson is a clinical psychologist and owner of Kind Mind Psychology, a private practice in NYC specializing in evidence-based approaches to treating a wide range of mental health issues (e.g., depression, anxiety, trauma, and personality disorders). Additionally, she works with marginalized groups of people, including BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and alternative lifestyles, to manage minority stress. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Axel Jenson / axeljenson.com The notion of embracing rest is somewhat new to our society, which typically in recent decades has been focused on productivity and success: Think "hustle culture," for example, in which the notion of working nonstop to achieve one's goals is exalted as the motivation needed to "make it" in life. In 2020, the concept of rest was brought to the forefront of our consciousness when, while some people were digging gardens planting produce or in the kitchen making sourdough bread, others decided to take a much-needed moment to just...be. Since 2020, rest as a necessary element of life has gained progressively more steam, with advocates decrying our societal focus on working around the clock as detrimental to our collective mental health. Science agrees: rest is required for our brains to work optimally, and it enhances our well-being, improving both our mental and physical health. Dom Chatterjee of Rest for Resistance. Axel Jenson / axeljenson.com An organization that centers QTPOC (queer and trans people of color), Rest for Resistance is a prime embodiment of our migration to a better understanding of the need for rest. We spoke with founder Dom Chatterjee about how the organization came about, the work it does, and where it's going. The Path from QTPoC Mental Health Support to Rest for Resistance The first iteration of Chatterjee's organization was "QTPoC Mental Health" in 2015, a Brooklyn-based peer support group that served to "create spaces to discuss the emotional impact of experiencing racism and anti-LGBTQ+ oppression at the same time." The group met at the Brooklyn Community Pride Center, hosting group sessions and meditations, and "could never have come to be without a few of us going to LGBTQ+ peer support groups at BCPC and feeling unheard, undersupported, and alone," according to Chatterjee. It was a single member of the non-POC support group that inspired QTPoC Mental Health. Chatterjee explains that "if she had not called attention to being silenced by white supremacy within the queer community, and planted a seed, then over a million people would not have received support through this healing justice work since." Beginning in person, Chatterjee says that "the work also took off online with a private Facebook group, led by volunteer moderators, as well as public social media posts," all of which Chatterjee managed alone for years. In late 2017, the shift occurred. Chatterjee tells us, "After two years of managing this peer support work without any funding, I lost my stable income as an editor and ghostwriter, and that was the genesis of Rest for Resistance." "[I] poured my frustrations with publishing, my anger at silencing, into building a website where the QTPoC community could share writing and art about mental health without gatekeeping from White, cisgender editors," said Chatterjee. Rest for Resistance launched in December of 2017, publishing consistently for two years. Online Transgender Support Groups What Exactly Counts as Rest? The more we learn and understand about rest, the more our culture discovers how individual and personal it is. For Chatterjee, rest occurs through embodied movement. "In order for me to feel as if one part of my body is able to let go of tension, there is another part of my body holding tension," they explain, adding, "I never feel physically tension-less, and even to get closer, I must access physical support like a foam roller." Additionally, they say that their "favorite place to meditate in Prospect Park is up in a tree, where I feel held by the branches below me and also the canopy of branches above. The tree can be more comfortable, more soothing, more restful than my bed." In working with others around rest, Chatterjee has discovered that "rest can require work, and sometimes people find incomparable feelings of rest in high-energy activities like swimming, dancing, playing music, rock-climbing." Above all else, balance is needed. "It takes balance to find that point of alignment to rest within, whether that balance provides a flow state to create in, a neutral zone to just be in, or a moment to process and transmute stress within," says Chatterjee. Even New Year's resolutions can provide an opportunity for peaceful reflection. Chatterjee says, "I believe it can be healing to focus on our self-expectations because it provides opportunity to challenge internalized judgments and locate internal motivations." They note that their relationship to the New Year holiday is complex due to having a birthday of December 30th, but state that "a period of annual reflection is invaluable whether it occurs with the Gregorian New Year, another calendar's New Year, a seasonal festival, or a birthday." It takes balance to find that point of alignment to rest within, whether that balance provides a flow state to create in, a neutral zone to just be in, or a moment to process and transmute stress within, — DOM CHATTERJEE, FOUNDER Additionally, Chatterjee considers reflection to be an inevitable occurrence. "There are so many ways to review the past and set intentions for the future, and in fact, it's impossible to avoid the process of renewing or rewriting personal goals," they explain. Above all, they tell us that "what's important is that people have access to participate in cultural traditions like new year's resolutions in a way that is aligned with their healing and informed by their consent to change behavior." Remove the Pressure of Resolutions and Set Realistic Goals Rest as An Act of Resistance Of all the ways people tend to think about rest, considering it an act of resistance usually isn't one. But that doesn't factor in the added pressures that QTPOC people face in life. Chatterjee found that by reframing how they thought about rest, it empowered them to see it as something deserving of attention. What's important is that people have access to participate in cultural traditions like new year's resolutions in a way that is aligned with their healing and informed by their consent to change behavior. — DOM CHATTERJEE "Being a non-binary person provides a perspective on nonduality that has influenced my views on work and rest," they explain. "Rest as an act of resistance requires the practice of being attentive to one’s rest; that’s a difficulty when our attention is demanded by external pressures." Additionally, they say that "confronting the binary of rest vs. work gives me a greater sense of peace than I had when I tried to fit myself into the 9-to-5 mentality of only working or only resting." By seeing rest in this different way, Chatterjee is able to actually attain a restful state at times. "My relationship to work is more enjoyable (as a Capricorn sun/moon who likes work), and I actually have a relationship to rest that isn’t just me theorizing about if it’s possible, what it might feel like, why it’s inaccessible to me," they say. "I do rest sometimes now, and occasionally in meditation I’m just there, just being, knowing I can pause while the to-do list waits on the horizon." Rest as an act of resistance requires the practice of being attentive to one’s rest; that’s a difficulty when our attention is demanded by external pressures. — DOM CHATTERJEE Becoming conscious of our need for rest, and that we must proactively find it, has improved Chatterjee's life. "By...asking myself how much rest can I access right now, and what kind, I stay open to the possibility of noticing restfulness within me that I was simply unaware of before," they say. Delving deeper also facilitates this: "What am I resting from now that I won’t get to rest from later? How can I appreciate what I’m not doing, even while I’m busy, even while I’m working under capitalism or working towards other goals?" They explain that "this approach has helped me to experience fewer panic attacks and regulate my moods in a shockingly stable way for someone with lifelong bipolar I." Impact and Community Pictured (from L to R): Dom Chatterjee, Dominic Bradley, Trevor Brown, James Factora, Spencer Garcia, and Casper Cruz. Axel Jenson / axeljenson.com Rest for Resistance, and its prior iteration of QTPoC Mental Health, has involved many community members in addition to those it has helped through the website. About how many people have been involved, Chatterjee tells us that "I struggle with counting this community work in these ways, especially since we manage multiple projects and lack stable funding. Since 2015, there have been at least 150 people involved as co-creators and leaders of QTPoC Mental Health and Rest for Resistance." Beyond the many personal stories you can read on the Rest for Resistance site, there is a "shop" icon on the bottom where you can purchase branded accessories, apparel, and more. In our commerce-oriented world, I was surprised that the focus remains on the stories, rather than selling merchandise. "I built the site in 2017 (as my first Squarespace design) and can’t wait to have the resources to create restforresistance.com v2, especially to improve the accessibility," By...asking myself how much rest can I access right now, and what kind, I stay open to the possibility of noticing restfulness within me that I was simply unaware of before. — DOM CHATTERJEE Chatterjee says about the future of the site. "We have a small group of active meditation teachers right now and are seeking more collaborators for events, and next year we'll be putting out calls for writing and art." Online Offerings Gatherings via Zoom have allowed Rest for Resistance to help more people not just through stories, but live events too. Chatterjee says that QTPoC Meditation began "on Zoom during our first annual Rest Fest, held from the end of June (Pride Month) to early July (Minority Mental Health Awareness Month)." They note that "This year’s Rest Fest included “Decoding Anti-Rest Scripts” with Pema Rojas which was amazing." The transition from in-person to Zoom was one that Chatterjee didn't take lightly. "It took me a while to get us on Zoom because the energy when we gather in person for meditation is so unique," they say. "I think of it as a space where we can practice vulnerability within ourselves and with community." Chatterjee educated themself about virtual groups prior to beginning the Zoom events, telling us that "to prepare, I attended virtual meditation groups held in different ways, completed The Anti-200-hour Yoga Teacher Training online, and went to The Future of American Buddhism Conference which had a couple panels focused on virtual community-building." Events are held twice a month. "Rest for Resistance is now offering two monthly meditation gatherings on Zoom, one stillness practice and one movement practice, specifically for people who are members of both LGBQT2SIA+ and BIPOC communities," says Chatterjee. "Additionally, we have open meetings to plan future meditation events. Each gathering has had two co-facilitators and a group of 5 to 20 people in attendance." Unsung Hero Spotlight: Black Girls Breathing How to Learn More or Get Involved If choosing to become more conscientious about how you rest sounds right for you, and especially if you're an LGBTQIA+ and/or person of color, visiting Rest for Resistance is the perfect way to get started. With enough rest, the future is looking bright for Chatterjee and their org. "Right now we are preparing to flourish in the years ahead and demonstrate what many of us dream of: moving from barely surviving to truly thriving." Mental Health Resources to Support the LGBTQ+ Community 2 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. MD SP. Secret to brain success: Intelligent cognitive rest. Harvard Health. Helvig A, Wade S, Hunter-Eades L. Rest and the associated benefits in restorative sleep: a concept analysis. J Adv Nurs. 2016 Jan;72(1):62–72. By Ariane Resnick, CNC Ariane Resnick, CNC is a mental health writer, certified nutritionist, and wellness author who advocates for accessibility and inclusivity. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist Online Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.