Early in my collegiate track career, I had to sit out a season due to a stress fracture. The unexpected change of plans was challenging to deal with, but when it was healed, I was ready to go. I put extra effort into training, feeling as if I would be behind everyone else. I ran extra miles to “make up” for what I had missed while being injured. I thought that my “no pain, no gain,” mentality would pay off, but when it came time to compete in the fall, I was already burnt out. I failed to realize the importance of rest.
While many in education may be coming out of this year ready to go into the fall with new ideas, I think it’s important to remember that while that energy is good, and will pay off in the long run, it’s essential to give yourself time to recover after what has been a crazy past 15 months. Too often, society guilts us into living a “go-go-go” lifestyle. Those who rest are considered lazy, and not looked on highly. However, I’m a firm believer of leading a balanced lifestyle. School is school, and summer is summer, and it’s okay to take time for yourself during the summer months to reset, relax, and refocus before the next school year. While it may seem counterintuitive to rest, studies show that this actually will pay off in the long run.
Studies show that resting
- Reduces Stress
- By allowing yourself to rest, it allows your body and your brain to heal. Reducing mental and physical stress on the body goes a long way in terms of feeling happier, more focused, and more energetic.
- Boosts Creativity
- As someone who makes their living off being creative, I find this point to be so, SO important! In order to have the creative process work itself out, time is needed to step away from the process, and then come back and reflect with new perspectives.
- Improves Productivity
- When one is well-rested, they will be able to attack each task with 100% effort. Taking breaks allows space to shut your mind off and refocus, which allows you to come back to the task at hand with invigorated strength.
- Enhances Decision Making
- Similar to the previous point, resting gives time for your brain to relax, and then return to tasks with a clear mind. This can greatly improve decision-making. With a clear head and reduced stress, decision-making is a far less stressful process.
I learned the hard way that not taking a break negatively impacted my racing season. I hope the lesson learned from this can help others to realize it’s okay to rest.
So after getting through this year, it’s okay to take a break before you start planning for the next. Read that book that’s been on your shelf for a while. Take that spa day. Be selfish, and choose you. Get yourself a pat on the back for making it through a tough year, and enjoy your free time.
Happy Almost-Summer from the Kane County Regional Office of Education!
Molly McQueeny – Communications/Website Coordinator