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This is a written exercise for individuals to assess the quality and quantity of rest they are experiencing in their daily lives.


Individual written exercise, group discussion

Required materials

‘Right to rest' exercise, in appropriate language.

Key explanation points1

  • Ask participants to sit alone and fill out the ‘Right to rest’ questionnaire.
  • After they have filled out the questionnaire, ask them to come together as a group to discuss their reactions to the exercise, and as appropriate, to share some of the steps that they will take to improve their pattern of rest.

Facilitation notes

  • Rest is essential if your body is to function properly, and it even helps you develop a different perspective of yourself and of the world.
  • However, in the majority of cases, activists have an accumulated deficit of hours of sleep and rest. Rather, time is spent preparing projects, closing reports, completing things at the last moment, helping people in an emergency, and trying to devise solutions to ‘important’ problems when in bed trying to fall asleep.
  • When we think of the way in which we distribute our time and the time that we dedicate to rest, often we feel a certain dissatisfaction not only in terms of the time that we get for sleep, but also in relation to other aspects of our lives, such as time for leisure, recreation and rest. Time available for friends and rest is increasingly limited to ‘obligatory or festive occasions’, increasing the trend of reducing vacation time in favour of work, spending weekends finishing tasks that were impossible to complete during the week, or engaging in professional activities that are only possible on a weekend (such as workshops or lectures). Subsequently there is no attempt to compensate for the time spent on such activities, in favour of much-needed rest. Thus, month after month, we find it impossible to spend valuable and necessary time with friends, just having fun or conducting any other activity that is recreational or even plain restful.
  • This routine leaves us exhausted, stressed and even depressed. We are not able to recuperate the energy we need for our daily chores and activities.


Adapted from: Bernal, M. (2008) Self-Care and Self-Defense Manual for Feminist Activists, Artemisa, Grupo Interdisciplinario en Género, Sexualidad, Juventud y Derechos Humanos and Elige, Red de Jóvenes por Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos, A.C. English edition of the manual translated by Sharmila Bhushan and printed by CREA