The Importance of Taking a Break

It’s officially April and life seems to be picking up pretty fast, not to mention the impending doom of finals just around the corner. One of the things I’ve discovered while trudging through the never-ending amount papers, projects, tests, and due dates that pile up towards the end of the semester is that it is absolutely vital to take breaks. I’m convinced that the only way to survive the rest of college, not to mention the ~real world~, is to take breaks from work and let yourself relax.

I don’t claim to be a doctor or have any actual knowledge on what your brain needs, but I’m relatively certain that if you don’t take a break your head will explode and your nervous system will shut down. The way I see it is if you don’t let yourself have a break (and no, getting the minimal amount of sleep necessary at night is not a break), the tension from every tiny stressor will build up and you’ll have no way to escape it. If you allow yourself a break from school, work, or whatever it is that is causing you stress, your body and mind will thank you.

The education system teaches us that the grades on our transcript define who we are; get A’s and you’re a success, get F’s and you’re a failure. I’m not saying that grades aren’t important, because they are. They just shouldn’t be the source of validation that you’re doing okay in life. What the education system doesn’t teach us is that the other million aspects of life are the things that really matter. Having fun, building strong relationships, being kind to yourself, interacting with the world, taking risks– these are what I think are really important. These other things in life besides grades are what really define you as a person. The experiences you have, the relationships you build, and the self-love you hold are some of the things that have long-term significance.

A few weeks ago I was stressing out about this test that I was about to take in my next class. A friend provided me with some important perspective on the situation: “Will this test matter in a month? Maybe. Will it matter in two months? Unlikely. Will it matter in 6 months? Definitely not.” I agreed, and spent the time before my test enjoying my friend’s company instead of worrying about it. There are lots of things in life that are worth stressing about, but there are so many more that aren’t.

It’s easier said than done, but the more equal you can make the time spent on work and the time spent on other things, the better. It’s okay to take breaks and it’s okay to put everything on hold for a little. You won’t fail the class and your future won’t be ruined before it has even started. You will, however, feel better. You will be at peace with yourself. You will be okay. Just take a break.

Posted in: Health, Wellness & Safety, Studying, Classes & Lectures