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Even Robots need to Rest!

Updated: May 31

The Resting Robot, AI Imagery by Eleni Danesi & Dream Studio, All Rights Reserved

In the relentless hustle of modern life, are we aware that the need for rest often takes a backseat?

Our society celebrates overproductivity, pushing us to the brink of exhaustion and often leaving us feeling disconnected from ourselves, our surroundings and the ecosystems we are part of. This cultural bias towards constant activity and output is deeply ingrained, tracing back to the Industrial Revolution, which promised more leisure time through mechanization but instead led to increased workloads and a perpetual state of busyness, which has been one of human addictions. Something similar is about to happen with the AI Revolution when we are promised that AI is going to save us time, yet it is not clear what humans will do with so much time on their hands.

The consequences of this overwork culture are profound. Chronic stress, burnout, and mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are on the rise. Studies show that lack of rest and recovery not only hampers our physical health but also diminishes our cognitive functions and creativity. Andrew Huberman, (professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology at the Stanford University School of Medicine) has extensively researched the importance of rest, sleep, and power naps in processing mental information. Huberman emphasizes that rest is not just the absence of activity but a vital period for our brains to consolidate memories, process emotions, and enhance cognitive functions. During sleep, the brain undergoes a process called synaptic homeostasis, where it strengthens important neural connections and prunes less important ones, effectively "cleaning house" to maintain optimal function.

Power naps, as Huberman explains, can provide a significant cognitive boost by allowing the brain to enter a state of light sleep, which can enhance memory retention and problem-solving abilities. These short periods of rest can be incredibly beneficial for maintaining mental clarity and creativity throughout the day. 

Given this understanding, why do we still struggle to prioritize rest in our daily lives?

Imaginary Gardens Architecture, AI Imagery by Eleni Danesi & Midjourney, 2024, All Rights Reserved

The neglect of rest in modern society can be traced back to a deep-seated cultural legacy of valuing productivity over well-being. This mindset has led to the exploitation of both human and non-human resources, as seen in the transition from human labor to machine labor and now to AI labor. However, this shift has not changed the underlying issue—the relentless drive to overwork. The true revolution for Homo sapiens lies not in exploiting machines or AI but in adopting a mentality of rest and regeneration for all. We need to move beyond the superficial promises of technological advancement and address the core issue: our inability to rest. This generational trauma of exploitation must be healed by embracing a philosophy that values rest as a fundamental aspect of life.

To counteract these trends, we need to embrace a new paradigm of productivity—one that recognizes rest as a critical component of a balanced, fulfilling life. 

At the heart of my work is the concept of "Creative Productivity." Unlike the capitalistic notion of productivity, which often leads to exhaustion and burnout, creative productivity is about aligning our work with what truly matters to us, bringing us joy and inspiration. It involves being in constant motion and flux, yet feeling energized and fulfilled rather than depleted. Creative productivity acknowledges the importance of rest as an integral part of the process. When we honor our need for rest, we create the mental space necessary for deep thinking, ideation, and self-guidance. This approach fosters a sense of alignment with our bodily needs and allows us to radiate this balance through our work ethics and style.

To create a society that values creative productivity, we must start by rewiring our habits. This involves embracing rest as an essential part of our daily lives and recognizing that true productivity stems from a balanced and well-rested mind and body as well as mindful connections with our surrounding ecosystems. By doing so, we can foster a culture that values meaningful co-existence with the more-than-human world, including the machines and AI that are now part of these ecosystems.

Imaginary Landscapes, AI Imagery by Eleni Danesi & Midjourney, 2024, All Rights Reserved

 As an artist, architect, and embodiment coach, I focus on helping individuals reconnect with their body-minds with their surroundings through my Bodymind Architecture Method, allowing them to sense naturally the “kicks” for Rest. This method integrates bodily sensations with mental activity and space awareness, offering a holistic approach to well-being. Through movement practices, we focus on understanding the moving pace, shades of speed, and fluctuation of energy in our bodies to gain insights into how our brains create mental representations of our daily lives. By exploring these dynamics, we can better understand our responses to various environments.

Spatial awareness is also a key aspect, recognizing that all actions are situated in physical, psychological, social, or symbolic spaces. This includes understanding how our environments drive our actions and how we can better integrate our bodily experiences within these spaces. Regulating emotions through regular emotional check-ins and healthy outlets such as creative writing, expressive arts, reflective walks or mindful conversations, in general activities that help us reconnect and immerse ourselves in the outer and inner landscapes.

INNERSCAPES, AI Imagery by Eleni Danesi & Midjourney, 2024, All Rights Reserved

One of the main practices in BMA method is “Mental Mapping”, a great way to manage information overload and “inspiration anxiety” (the anxiety we feel when we have too many ideas and don’t know where to start or how to move on). Setting boundaries for the screen (input) time and creating moments of digital disconnection can help reduce mental clutter and enhance focus, while actively mapping out the ideas and generating connections between them can help us organize our thoughts visually and move on to creating an actionable plan. 

If you are ready to learn more about the Bodymind Architecture Method, I invite you to join me on a creative program of self-discovery and transformation.

The next program CALL will be at the end of June and if you would like to be informed about the program please subscribe to my newsletter and follow my channels for updates, insights, and opportunities to work with me in person or attend any of my online and offline workshops. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope it inspires you to embrace rest as a vital component of your well-being and creative productivity. Let's create a future where we honor our bodies, nurture our minds, and live in harmony with the world around us.

Links you might like to check:

WORK WITH ME: get to know my work and don't hesitate to contact me for extra information. We can always tailor a workshop, a 1-1 coaching session, a public talk, or an event based on your needs.

ACTIVE LISTENING: If you would like to have a short coaching session with me based on the practice and the creative impact of "active listening", please follow the link, and under the "events" you will find the list of the upcoming offers, at the bottom of the page. For further questions please get in touch with me in person.

BUY MY ARTWORKS: If you are interested in purchasing any of the posters presented in the article, please get in touch with me, and I will take you through the options and offers. You can also ask for custom-made Illustrations. Let's create something together!

Imaginary Landscapes, AI Imagery by Eleni Danesi & Midjourney, 2024, All Rights Reserved

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