Don’t feel guilty about giving yourself a break

Ahhh rest. What does that feel like? Does anyone know? When I think about rest I picture myself someplace warm, relaxing on the beach. I am doing nothing, thinking about nothing and just feeling the warm sunshine on my (very pale, dry and white right now) skin.

 But no, the reality is life is crazy, not restful. Is anyone with me? What is spare time anymore? 

I often feel guilty if I am not doing something. Even right now as I am writing this I am thinking about how I have a million things that I should be doing. There are tests I should be studying for, homework that needs to be done, laundry that I could be doing, people that I should be texting and emailing back and social media that I need to, of course, keep up with.

If I were to have spare time, it would be nice to finish the three books I have started, thinking I could read “for fun” (I know – silly me, what was I thinking? I’m in college.) and also catch up on the past three seasons of all my TV shows.

 Life is crazy. In the busyness don’t forget to find time to rest. I know rest may seem like the last thing you have time for, but I encourage you to make time for it.

 Recently, my perspective of rest has changed. I used to think it was about catching up with my list of things to do and getting enough sleep. But, what if rest isn’t about catching up on sleep? Can you feel rested even if you don’t get enough sleep?

 I went on a mission trip to New York over spring break and averaged about five hours of sleep a night not including two all-nighters – all-nighter as in I did not sleep two of the seven nights during the weeklong trip, yet I feel so incredibly rested.

Explain that.

 Why is it that I am more tired when I get eight hours of sleep during the school year and in New York where I did not get sufficient sleep I felt rested?

 I was not able to get physical rest, but I do feel that I attained a level of mental and emotional rest.

 I had amazing conversations and was able to share my story of what God was doing in my life and how He has been so faithful in my life. I was able to show love and care for people. I let go of my list of everything I had to get done and never thought about anything school related. I simplified my life.

 I think oftentimes I let that list of things I have to get done rule my life and I cannot focus on enjoying life and living in the present.

 Here are four keys to obtaining rest even if you are not physically getting enough sleep.

 1. Relax.

Our world has become so fast-paced and we have everything we need at our fingertips.

The world says we must be efficient, busy people and if we aren’t doing anything we must find something to do because after all, time is money. But I think (as my mom would say) everyone just needs to take a chill pill. Stop rushing through life. Stop trying to do a million things at once. This can cause anger and frustration. Instead, focus on one thing at a time.

 2. Enjoy.

Turn your endless list of things to do into the enjoyment of a couple of things you want to do. The list is never going to end. There is always going to be something that you should be doing.

So take a break. Forget about the list once in a while and do something fun and impulsive. Do you have something you’ve been dying to do? Do it. And do it without feeling guilty. Your list can wait.

 3. Slow down.

Turn your strained time of trying to keep up with the social everything into a slowing down, stopping to smell the roses time.

Be still. Find a place that is quiet and listen to the silence. Quiet is becoming harder and harder to find. But oftentimes I have found it to be so refreshing

 So are you up for the challenge? Be still and find some solitude time.

 4. Take time.

Turn your tiring, taxing lifestyle into tactfully accomplishing your tasks.

Take some time to plan out the next week by prioritizing and organizing your life. What can you cut out? What should you make time for?

Time is precious, so think about how you are spending it.

I encourage you to take time to rest not only your body, but also your mind. Rest allows us to clear our minds, focus and find creative solutions to problems.

Stop letting the world tell you that you always have to be doing something. It is when I do nothing, that I can have moments of sheer brilliance. It is then that I slow down and realize what is important.

What’s more important to you? Is it your list and accomplishing tasks or can that wait?

Kendra Thorstenson is an advertising major and can be reached at [email protected]