Sometimes college is like an all-you-can-eat buffet. It provides a never-ending stream of activities—classes, meetings, emails, homework, social gatherings, etc. Events to attend and things to remember are endless.
As students, we want to fill our schedules with good things that help us grow, but if we don’t take time to slow down to digest everything, we can cause ourselves more harm than good.
I remember hitting a point last semester when I was constantly running from one thing to the next. I accomplished a lot but I wore myself out in the process. By the end of the semester, I realized a strong need to prioritize my time and include periods of rest in my day.
“What we have learned about our human body, and our brain specifically, is that we need to respect periods of activity and rest,” said Dr. Angela Watson, associate professor of psychology at ORU.
Overlooking the value of rest has downfalls we may not be immediately aware of, including decreases in productivity and health.
Productivity can decrease by 25 percent if we switch between tasks too often without finishing them and an increase in stress releases the hormone cortisol which can temporarily shut down our immune systems. Additionally, Watson explained that in our busyness our minds are preoccupied with thinking ahead, creating mental build-up over time.
With the stress of college life, we should be making the time to rest—to just be quiet and re-focus our minds on God and on the present moment. Even 10 minutes of silence or meditation can yield benefits, said Watson.
“I think it’s also important to have times during prayer when we’re just quiet. I think we hear God in those times,” she said. “We’re not expecting something big to happen. We’re just carving out that time and saying, ‘God, you’re really important to me. I just want to sit and be with you.’ You know you’re really close with somebody if you can sit in companionable silence and not feel like something is wrong.”
When we make enough time for rest and silence, we give ourselves time to acknowledge God in all we do.
“You’re living as an interacting, dynamic being, not as a machine that you just wake up and turn on and that you’re not going to turn off until you go back to sleep,” Watson said.
Rest is part of being human. God created us to need it for a reason. Instead of stuffing ourselves with activity, we should realize how important it is to take some time every day to relax, be quiet and rest in His presence.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30.