Preparing for life takes a lot of hard work. Whether it’s college, high school, or some other form of non-academic training, young adults who are serious about their future will often find themselves running on empty. This is where things like “burnout” come in. Rest is absolutely necessary.
How can hard-working students maintain their sanity amidst the pressure of academic deadlines, big decisions, and life transitions?
They must rest intentionally. It can’t just be something that happens naturally without intent. If you leave this to chance, it won’t happen. There are a few principles that can help students build an intentional rhythm of rest in their busy lives.
1. Rest doesn’t look the same for everyone.
One thing that students should keep in mind is that rest looks different for different people. They shouldn’t simply make a rule that they need to sleep 10 hours a night because that’s what someone they know does.
It’s not just differences in sleep needs. Some people are recharged and refreshed by sitting down and reading a book. To others, that would seem like hard labor!
Winston Churchill is an interesting example of this principle. He worked hard at writing, speaking, and strategizing politically. In order to recharge therefore, he would go to his country estate and lay bricks. Most people wouldn’t consider brick-laying as “restful” but it was for Churchill. It helped him get his mind off his work, which was predominantly mental.
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2. Rest is the opposite of what you do for work.
The example of Churchill leads us to this second principle. Namely, doing the opposite of what you do for work is usually incredibly restful.
If your student is spending hours a day in front of a book or screen, studying, and doing deep academic work, then perhaps taking a walk or gardening would be a better form of rest than sitting on the couch and watching a movie.
On the other hand, if your student is working a physical job for the entire day then a movie at home may be incredibly restful!
3. Rest can be scheduled.
If you wait to rest until you have time to do so, you’ll rarely actually do it. You certainly won’t rest as much as you need to. As humans, especially in our culture, we are addicted to going and doing constantly. We can’t stop!
There will always be something to do. There will always be another page or chapter to read, another assignment to complete, another project to work on.
But if you find yourself struggling to give rest the proper time it needs, consider scheduling it out on your calendar. Take an afternoon off. Schedule a two hour break. Block off a weekend for intentional, purposeful resting.
4. Rest is built on trust.
Rest is an exercise in trusting God.
When we quit working we admit that the world doesn’t rely on us. Instead, it relies on God. We admit our insufficiency to control our own destiny and instead rest in God’s sovereign control.
Whether at work or school, we can burn out striving. We need to humbly recognize our inability to rule the world and take a break from our efforts.
Rest is a core life skill. Ascend by Unbound gives students the opportunity to practice core life skills like rest, building strong relationships, using discernment and critical thinking, and many more. Learn more today by scheduling a free consultation.
Jace Bower is the Marketing Coordinator for Unbound. An Unbound alumnus, he has experienced firsthand the powerful advantages of doing college differently and participating in an intentional community. Jace graduated with his bachelor’s degree in History in 2016 and has worked in restaurant management and marketing since then. He also served on the Unbound Student Cabinet in 2019.
The author of two books and a semi-regular blogger, Jace can often be found doing something with words. When he’s not, chances are he’s reading about theology, listening to music, or playing pool or tennis with his wife Shannon in their Virginia home.