Cultivating Relaxation

Depression has a way of withholding joy, and convincing you that you deserve that deprivation.

If you aren’t always working on something, if you aren’t constantly producing, working, building, hustling, or whatever else you want to call it, you do not deserve a moment to yourself. The idea that capitalism has ingrained in us, is the idea that a person has to “earn” the right to experience ecstasy or elation.

When’s the last time you gave yourself a break?

It’s the same reason that the prevailing reaction to poverty is to condescend. Poor people are not allowed to have nice things, for the sole reason that they perpetrate the mortal sin of existing, stripped of resources, in an environment that seeks to perpetuate a value system contingent on the idea that being wealthy makes you a “good”, hard-working, person. That the poor are to blame for their poverty, because they’re “lazy” or “terrible decision-makers” and ought to be punished for it. They are, to an extent, denied their personhood, just due to their lack of resources. They haven’t “earned” the right to relax.

And it’s difficult to unlearn those lessons. I’m still working on it.

Last week, I was hit with a wave of exhaustion like I’ve never felt before. It was unquestionably, an episode of burnout. I was doing so many things at once (and not doing them very well), and I found it harder and harder to motivate myself to do even the activities I wanted to do. I started practicing avoidance, and I’ll tell you something that you already know.

(Avoidance. Does. Not. Work.)

I took a break. Life is too expensive to be this exhausting. I was tired of being tired, and with the forever encroaching legislation concerned with controlling people’s time and labour and reproductive organs…

I just said f*ck it. And I went to the spa.

And I didn’t have to “earn” it. I deserved it because I am a person and I deserve freedom from labour.

Listeeeeeeeeeen. I don’t know if it’s a placebo effect or what. But the dim, warm lighting, the enclosed quiet environment, the technological detox… it works. Bonafide cure for my burnout. I bought a package, right — scrub, pedicure, facial — and let me tell you, I emerged a new person.

My skin was smooth and bouncy. My feet were the prettiest they’ve ever been. I felt alive leaving that place. (The Nirvana Natural Health Clinic & Spa in Belmont — though they’re moving to Excel Plaza soon).

I am in no way saying that spa treatments are a substitute for the redistribution of resources, and the reorganizing of the structures which seek to commodify every aspect of their lives. They’re a band-aid at best.

But being pampered is always a welcome treat.

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