How Rest can be Productive

Updated: Jan 7, 2019

Image: Dear White People (Netflix Series)

With semesters and seasons coming to a end, this can be referred to as one of the busiest times of the year. We run out into the cold streets, functioning off half a cup of coffee and a few hours of sleep to face packed schedules--whether we're ready or not. In the midst of all this chaos, we try our best to stay productive so we don't fall behind. At times, we try so hard at being productive that we burn ourselves out and fail. We'll sit at computers until we're blue in the face and still come out with a blank page.Then, we wonder--why? Why am I working so hard and getting absolutely nothing accomplished?

Everyone needs a breather

Sometimes, the problem is that we aren't making enough time for breaks. Picking your brain for countless hours to try and get something done can be pointless. Your mind can not run if it has no fuel, so why force it? Of course we have deadlines to meet, but that's where starting on something early enough to have time for breaks comes in. A few minutes away from the computer screen or text-book can make a big difference in how you approach your work. When I was studying for finals this semester, I'd take one hour and a half to study, and then take a thirty minute refresher. When I came back to handle my business, I felt ready to take on my notes and quizlet flashcards. Rest can be a productive process if the goal is to rejuvenate yourself so you can have enough energy to take on your tasks.

Applying it to life

Not only can this be applied to work or school, it can be a message tailored for our life journeys as well. We fool ourselves constantly, going thousands of miles a minute because of unrealistic expectations we set. We place these deadlines on our shoulders, which ends up doing nothing but weighing us down. There's a reality that many have to face, and that's that overextending yourself to reach the finish line faster does nothing but sprain things. Don't hurt yourself trying to reach any and every goal you have thumbtacked to your vision board. Find time to slow down, breathe in the air of the day, take care of yourself, catch up on your hobbies, and recuperate.

Being at Howard has shown me the best and worst ways of trying to be "over-productive." I'd been told at the beginning of the school year to steer clear of blowing myself into the "Howard Bubble." This bubble being a place where students tire themselves out because they're so set on being over-achievers due to the environment around them. There'd always be someone pulling two jobs, an internship, and having a position in an organization's E-board and someone would feel mediocre if they didn't do the same. I've watched people swipe themselves clean of any drive they'd had because they'd forgotten to give themselves a break, to enjoy their lives, and to realize that everyone has a breaking point.

The way I'd stay away from that breaking point is to metaphorically not let my eyes get bigger than my stomach when figuring what to put on my plate, and to take breaks in between meals. We have to know what loads we can handle and figure out how to tackle them without sacrificing ourselves and our health. I know there may be times where we want to accomplish everything in a quick breath, but it's always better to experience life with a steady exhale.

- Ashley Lauren

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