A Change is as Good as A Rest

Meaning of “A Change is as Good as a Rest”

‘A change is as good as a rest’ is an old English proverb means that changing your job or profession is also as beneficial as taking a break. It also proves restorative. In fact, a quote such as “All the work and no play make Jack a dull boy” echoes in the background of “A change is as good as a rest”. When a person takes a break or a holiday, he/she feel refreshed and energized and return to their work with a positive mind.

Similarly, when changing his/her routine, work, or profession, the person may regain their interest in the new line of work. However, it is not always advisable to follow this saying, and it does not work in the mid-career change, because it may not prove beneficial in the career. It is because this change can change affect the rest of the career.

Origin of “A Change is as Good as a Rest”

This proverb originated during the Victorian era published in a magazine, Christian Gleaner and Domestic Magazine as back as in 1825.

It goes as, “Change of work is as good as play.” It may have originated in response to, “All the work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.

Another origin is traced to Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It appeared in 1890.

“One of our greatest statesmen has said that a change of work is the best rest” and its variant has been recorded in The Facts of File Dictionary of Proverbs by Martin H. Manser as “A change of work is a rest.”

Examples from Literature

Example #1

Changes by Richard Miles

“We sometimes say we need a change,
As a change is good as a rest
But often fail to ponder
If change is for the best.

When we feel change will do the trick
And it’s time for a change,
Do we really stop to think
And have a frank exchange?

For “change, for change’s sake” can mean
That, as our rooms have faded,
When we change the wallpaper,
The furniture looks jaded.”

Shedding light on the nature and impacts of changes in this poem, Richard Miles has stated that change is always good and leads to best results whatever a person does. He believes that whatever change it may be; be it in attitude, in the room or the wallpaper on the wall. It is always for good. However, the main proverb is given in the second line where it states that a change is as good as a rest though with slightly changed wording. The meanings are almost the same that a change is always good.

Example #2

“A change is as good as a rest, the old saying goes. But when it comes to our real lives, we Brits are an unadventurous bunch. Far from ringing the changes or experimenting with the new, it turns out we are a nation who knows what we like – and we like what we know.” (Mail Online, November 28, 2012).

This is one of the reports published in the Mail Online of the United Kingdom. It shows how the Brits or the English people love traditions and do not become adventurous to bring even a slight change though it may be for experimental purpose. In other words, the proverb given in the very first sentence does not seem suitable when it comes to the British people, as they love traditions instead of a change.

Example #3

“A change is as good as the rest: Diary of a primary school teacher” by Kate Herbert from The Guardian published on November 14, 2006.”

“Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with what might be about to be new. Usually, when there’s a whiff of change in the air, you pick it up in the staffroom or on a training course. Most teachers neither seek nor embrace change, so any gossip about it is usually negative. I’m beginning to understand why.”

This is a report of the Guardian by Kate Herbert. Exactly like the previous report, this report too sheds light on an unusual thing that is a change in the school teachers. It has been noted down from the diary of a school teacher who has written: “a change is as good as the rest” by which he means that a curriculum or activities should be changed regularly to refresh students’ mind and help them to be attentive.

Examples in Sentences as Literary Device

Example #1: “If you are fed up of your work, a change is as good as rest, and you can start cobbling shoes for a while.” The proverb has been used to reflect the change that becomes metaphorical in a sense.

Example #2: “He is habitual of thinking a change is as good as a rest and leaving his work to start farming on his ranch.” This sentence also shows the use of this proverb as a metaphor of change.

Example #3: “Although I know that a change is as good as a rest, I have a lot of work to do before I sleep.” Here this proverb has been used again as a metaphor. This proverb is also like a simile because a change is equated with “rest” in the proverb. Therefore, in this sentence, it seems a metaphor about the first pronoun and simile about change in the proverb itself.

Example #4: “He changes quite often like the proverb a change is as good as a rest.” Here this proverb has been used as a simile as it is likening the behavior of a person to change that is equal to rest.

Example #5: “Like a change is a good as a rest, laborers are often found taking rest under the shady trees when they feel tired.” Here the phrase is used as a simile for the rest of the laborers.