Rest is not a reward

AB Boyd | Cartoonist

We’re always doing something. Over the years, school has progressively taken up more and more of our time, and when paired with other factors such as work, relationships and other obligations, we often find ourselves planning or longing for more free time.

Rest is not a reward — it’s a necessity.

There’s a stigma that allowing ourselves to rest is selfish or unproductive. We’ve come to think that if we’re not doing something that shortens our to-do list or has to do with school, we’re being lazy or selfish.

This belief needs to end. While college may keep us busy, we must keep ourselves healthy — both physically and mentally — by making time for rest, and we can’t feel guilty about it.

We deserve to do things that we enjoy. We deserve to let our minds and bodies relax. We deserve to not have to worry about something every moment of the day.

Some may feel like they can’t fully rest until their tasks are completed. But when things start to get hectic, you may not even realize that you’re not performing at your best because there’s too much on your plate to worry about.

Take a step back and let your mind reset before going back to your responsibilities. Chances are, you’ll feel a lot more motivated and be able to accomplish your tasks even better than before.

Rest may look different for every one of us. For some, it might be sleeping or laying in bed and watching a movie. For others, it may be taking a bath or getting a massage. It could even be going for a walk or doing some yoga.

In an article published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Dr. Lawrence Epstein, medical director of Sleep HealthCenters in Brighton, Mass. and an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said that sleep directly affects a student’s ability to perform.

“Recent studies have shown that adequate sleep is essential to feeling awake and alert, maintaining good health and working at peak performance,” Epstein said. “After two weeks of sleeping six hours or less a night, students feel as bad and perform as poorly as someone who has gone without sleep for 48 hours.”

Even if you can’t bring yourself to take a break when you’re overwhelmed with work for the sake of enjoyment, studies prove that getting an adequate amount of rest will actually improve your performance and studies.

Whatever puts your mind at ease is what you owe to yourself. Especially during this hectic time where the end of the year is approaching, you must remind yourself even more that rest is not a reward. No matter how many papers, exams or projects you may have right now, it’s a necessity to let your body rest.

So take this editorial as your cue, reflect on your daily habits and ensure that you’re giving yourself the rest that you deserve.