Active Living, Balance, Down time

The Importance of Rest

The branches of a yellow tree against a cloudy sky

Spending time in nature is a great way to recharge!

Since coming to university, I’ve found that it’s hard to feel like time spent not being productive is not time wasted. If I’m not being active, spending time with friends, or getting something done, I feel guilty.

I realized the problem with this mindset last week, when I was up into the early morning hours for several nights simply because I couldn’t turn my brain off. The stress of school and extracurriculars was messing with the way my body functioned. It made me realize that I wasn’t doing a good job of managing my time or taking care of myself – which has led me to these Reading Week resolutions!

1). Plan time to work and rest in advance

When I schedule time to rest and work (and actually do work in that allotted time), I don’t feel guilty for resting when I need to. Doing this makes me much more productive than I am when I randomly decide when to work or rest. It eliminates idleness and helps me focus on the task at hand.

I’ve forgotten the richness of just taking time to not be productive. I’m not a productivity machine, after all – I’m a human being, and sometimes my soul needs some quiet. I love visiting friends, going for a walk, spending time in prayer, working on a fun craft, or watching a movie in my scheduled rest time.

Art of a quote: "This is the dream: it's conflict and it's compromise and it's very, very exciting! - La La Land"

Doing art helps to calm me and focus me on the present.

2). Implement a proper sleep schedule

I find I sleep better when I’ve set aside time at the end of the day to wind down. For me, that looks like ending screen time an hour before I plan to go to bed and using that hour to light a candle, listen to soft music, do some art or reading, or play ukulele. Giving myself time to get into the mindset of rest really helps to calm my mind down.

I’m also trying to start going to bed and waking up at consistent times. Most days, I wake up late enough to necessitate skipping breakfast – a bad habit I’m trying to quit. Now that I’m working on having a nightly routine, I’m also going to start planning a morning routine.

Overall, I’m learning that getting active will only make my body happy if it’s not infringing on other, more important ways of caring for myself (eating and sleeping). How have you balanced rest and work this Reading Week?