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Lifestyle: finding true rest amidst the college stress

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Jenna Viets

Contributor

As a college student, I live in a world swirling with ways to keep busy. There are countless events I could attend and clubs I could be involved with, endless opportunities for fun with friends, a constant bombardment of digital distractions and always homework which needs to be done. 

To add on, there is the pressure of making connections and plans for the future, whether this includes internships, grad school, moving overseas or a career here in America. I haven’t even mentioned the most important and eternally significant daily discipline of time with God.

It can all be quite overwhelming. I find myself constantly struggling to balance all the tasks of daily life. 

Good time management has never come easily to me, which is unfortunate, because I’m also a person who loves efficiency. I want to make the most of every moment, but I am also easily distracted.

Something I’ve learned (but still neglect to put into practice regularly) is the importance of intentionally setting aside time for rest.

There are different types of rest. One is something which we fall into when we know we should be doing something else — like dawdling away time on Facebook. Instead of this, I’ve realized the importance of time spent purposefully doing something which brings me joy, that invigorates my mind, refreshes my soul and readies me to conquer my next task productively and efficiently.

For me, this needs to be an intentional break from regular activities to do something distinctly different — something which breaks my busy routine. It could be something which recovers energy or even something which burns it (rest doesn’t have to be inactive.)

Intentional rest could be almost anything, really — taking a country drive with music blaring, cooking a meal you love, watching the sunset, reading something you want to read, going on a walk or a run, writing a story or blog post, journaling, stretching, listening to a podcast, making art, picnicking, climbing a tree, painting your nails (sorry, this one only applies to girls — guys, you could, uh, chop some wood?) …

And these examples are just a subset of things which come to my mind. The possibilities are endless.

How is it we can spend so much time “resting” — allowing ourselves to fall into nonproductive, uninspiring, time-wasting habits like watching Netflix, scrolling Instagram, playing Angry Birds  — and yet, we still feel so overwhelmed by busyness and the weight of our to-do lists? Isn’t this resting without actually resting?

So this week, I challenge you (and myself) to set aside a couple hours to make a cup of Earl Grey (or coffee, if that’s your cup of tea), escape the frenetic pace of life and rest for a little while. Plan and do it in a meaningful way. You will be glad you did and be more ready to conquer whatever task is ahead.