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7 Ways to Rest as a Busy Student

Rest—we all need it to function well, but we rarely take the time to rest fully. As a busy student trying to balance studying for exams, working, and handling other responsibilities, it can be challenging to recharge. The holiday season can add even more pressure and stress to a student’s already time-consuming schedule, but it is essential for your well-being to make rest a priority. In this article, we are going to dive into what rest is and seven different ways you can rest as a busy student.

The Meaning of Rest

The Cambridge Dictionary defines rest as “to (cause someone or something to) stop doing a particular activity or stop being active for a period of time in order to relax and get back strength.” When people hear the term “rest,” they usually associate it with sleep. And although sleeping is a necessary part of rest, it is only one aspect of the full meaning of rest. Resting means intentionally making time to sit down and do the things you enjoy. It means spending time with others and also setting aside time to be alone. Full rest includes physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being elements.

Types of Rest

Seven types of rest have been identified including physical rest, mental rest, sensory rest, emotional rest, social rest, creative rest, and spiritual rest. As a busy student, it is important to incorporate restful rhythms into your life.

Physical Rest

Our bodies are designed to need sleep, good nutrition, and yes, even light exercise (for example, stretching or yoga) to regain physical strength. How much sleep a person needs varies by age. The Centers for Disease Control notes that healthy adults ages 18-60 usually need seven or more hours of sleep. However, these recommended hours of sleep may not always be possible, especially when juggling life as a student, worker, and family member.

In addition, the quality of sleep is important and makes a difference in physical rest. If you are constantly waking up, varying your sleep schedule, or have trouble falling asleep (within 30 minutes), chances are that you won’t be feeling refreshed in the morning. Try to make a practice of going to bed and waking up around the same times for optimal sleep.

Mental Rest

Just as our bodies need to rest from physical labor, our minds need to rest as well. As a busy student, have you ever felt mentally exhausted studying for a test or even after you take the test? Our brains need to take a break too! Anxiety and depression are more likely to occur when our brains are constantly stressed and working. Take short breaks during your workday or study time to help give your brain a rest. If you are still deciding on your education path, consider our self-paced, online programs which allow you to set your own schedule and take as many breaks as you need.

Sensory Rest

In today’s world filled with technology, we are constantly bombarded with texts, emails, social media, and computer screens, which can all lead to sensory overload. Make a plan to avoid technology interactions for at least 20 to 30 minutes daily or one or two days a week, if possible. Write in a journal or meditate before going to bed instead of reaching for your tech device to experience sensory rest.

Emotional Rest

Emotional rest provides you with the opportunity to be authentic and reflect on your emotional state. Take time to express your true feelings about a situation. For example, you can acknowledge, “I’m feeling overwhelmed with school and work right now” rather than stuffing your feelings. Suppressing your true feelings only adds more stress. Also, surround yourself with others who encourage you and help promote emotional rest and peace of mind.

Social Rest

A companion of emotional rest is social rest because spending time with people who encourage us, support us, and make us laugh can increase our energy and give us a break. Consider fellow students who are training for the same career as you or your family members and friends. Who helps you and is positive? Who drains your energy when you are around them? Sometimes family members can have expectations that can exhaust us, and other times spending time with family and friends can help us cope with the stressors in life.

An Integris Healthcare article advocates, “A way to increase your social rest is to spend time with people who don’t need anything from you. People whose presence you simply enjoy. Let them pour energy back into you.”

Creative Rest

Creative rest is an area not often thought about. However, creative rest can help refresh and restore your overall well-being. One way to achieve creative rest is to surround yourself with imagination while at the same time taking the pressure off having to “do” something with it. This might mean just taking a walk outside, listening to music, or taking a creative class that spurs your imagination and brings you joy. Take time away from your studies to participate—-maybe even with family members or friends—-in an activity that is not negatively stressful.

According to Anne Kumpf, an occupational therapist, “Creative rest is the process of beauty re-fueling your soul.”

Spiritual Rest

Spiritual rest allows us to take time to connect on a deeper level. Spiritual rest might include prayer, joining a church or community group, meditation, volunteering for a cause that you embrace, or going on a retreat. Spiritual rest helps us add purpose to our lives.

Benefits of Rest as a Busy Student

Incorporating all these types of rest will help your concentration, memory, stress level, and overall well-being so that you are refreshed and ready to return to school and work. Time spent with family and friends can even replenish the body’s energy and decrease your chances of physical illness.

Unplug and Recharge

Understanding that rest is a priority will help you to manage work-related or student-in-training stress. Make sure to intentionally plan for time away from studies. Not making work-life balance a priority can put you on a path to career burnout later.

Make sure that you take personal time for yourself. You can plan a vacation, exercise routinely, eat healthy foods, get enough rest, and make time for enjoyment with friends and family.

Your commitment to establishing balance in your career and student life can develop resilience and make your time at work and in school more enjoyable.

To help with balance in your schedule for online courses, check out our blog article with six tips on how to succeed academically as a busy student.


Written by Jo Gambosi

bio of blogger Jo for Blackstone Career Institute