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How Rest Changed My Life

Updated: Jun 7, 2022

I can recall one particular night. It was my freshman year of high school and I was working on my AP World History notes between 1 and 3 in the morning. I was trying to work as fast as I can in order to get at least an hour of sleep. I also wanted to hop into bed before my dad woke up to get ready for work at 5am. This became my lifestyle. For years I took a long nap in the middle of the day and went to sleep really late. I almost never got eight hours of sleep. I always lied to myself and say that I would wake up super early in the morning to do homework and would end up rushing to school. I was exhausted and burnt out all the time.

I cannot believe I used to live like that.

Now, four years later, I can see that getting minimal sleep was the source to some of my problems. When you don't take care of yourself (and part of that includes getting rest), your body doesn't get the energy it needs to work efficiently. I put myself through getting little sleep while have extracurricular involvement, taking Advanced Placement and AICE courses, and maintaining friendships. It was so hard and so draining.

Keeping all of this in mind, I wanted to do my best to ensure that my college experience would be nothing like high school. During my first semester in college, I almost always got eight hours of sleep. I never stayed up until three am to finish a project, but instead planned ahead so that wouldn't be a dilemma of mine. I prioritized schoolwork, but I also ensured that it didn't severely interfere with my sleep and mental health. Rest was, and still is, more important to me. Honestly, that completely changed my relationship with both school and sleep for the better.

I want to candid with you though. There are still some nights when I can't sleep or I stay up late just because. And this semester has been a lot more hectic and I don't always get my eight hours. So sometimes prioritizing rest is easier said than done, especially with a life that constantly changing. But it's also so, so worth it. I don't walk around all tired 24/7 anymore, I experience burnout way less, and I feel better about myself.

Getting the rest that you need and deserve (!!) makes all the difference. If you already do, that's amazing, I hope it stays that way. If not, I hope you try this rest thing soon. It's quite wonderful. To get you started, here are some tips/reminders that worked for me:

  1. When you make rest one of your main priorities, a lot of things (from the way you spend your time to your decisions) will fall in place.

  2. If it's getting late, and your body is telling you to stop, then stop and pick it up in the morning. You'll likely work much more better then.

  3. Take mental health days!! Sometimes we just need time to ourselves in order to reset.

I hope that my story and tips either resonated with you or helped in some way. Even though many of us live in a society where we are expected to keep going 100%, all the time, living like that is unsustainable. Take a breather, rest, and take care of yourself so that you can show up in the best way for yourself everyday <3

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