It’s the end of the semester. You’ve got homework and class projects due. Finals are looming in the distance. But first, before the semester ends in a whirl of activity, tests and papers, you’ve got something to look forward to: Thanksgiving break.
A few days away from classes may be just what you needed. While it may not be a good idea to ignore your classwork for the entire break, you do need to set aside time to actually rest. Here’s why.
1. Your body requires rest.
You need physical rest to allow your body and brain to recharge. Any Trevecca athlete would tell you that rest is an important part of healing and training. But rest isn’t just physical; we need emotional and spiritual rest, too. By this point in the semester, it’s likely that you’ve experienced exhaustion at each of those levels. That’s why it’s important to set aside some time over the break—even if it’s just a day or an afternoon—to spend time doing something that is restful for you in each of those areas. Get more sleep. Go for a hike. Listen to your favorite songs or read a psalm. Take a break from social. Whatever you need to do to feel physically, emotionally and spiritually rested, take the time to do it.
2. We’re actually commanded to rest.
Rest is biblical. It’s a part of the Genesis creation account, and Scripture is full of invitations to rest in God. He is the one who call us to a Sabbath rest (Heb. 4:9-11), gives us peace (Phil. 4:6-7) and keeps us in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).
3. Rest actually prevents burnout.
At this point in the semester, you’ve probably heard someone say, “I don’t have time to rest!” Maybe you even said it yourself. Many times we push ourselves to the brink of exhaustion to get something done—only to come back to that paper, project or chore later and realize it wasn’t our best work. Sometimes, rather than pushing yourself until you’re exhausted, it’s better to take some breaks along the way. Rest refreshes you and allows you to do better work.
4. Rest allows us to reconnect with what’s truly important.
It’s easy to allow the busyness of our lives to distract us from our relationships with God, with others and the goals, ministries and missions we have set before us. It’s all too easy for life to become about checking off the next thing on the to-do list or finishing that assignment or writing that paper. All of those things are important, but don’t let the pace of your life distract you from spending time with God, your family and friends or keep you from working toward your goals and dreams.
5. Rest isn’t laziness.
Taking time to rest and rejuvenate can seem counterproductive when you have a lot to do. Resting isn’t ignoring your work or procrastinating; it’s taking time to care for yourself so you can return to that work with a better attitude, improved focus and increased energy.
The final weeks of the semester are going to be busy. There’s no avoiding that. Take some time over Thanksgiving break to get some real rest. You won’t regret it!