By Kayla Lutes, Features Editor

Rest is imperative to a healthy well-being. In this fast-paced culture, rest can be hard to come by. When it is found, rest can invoke feelings of guilt due to a lack of productivity. Within the current culture, many students may find themselves at a loss as to how to rest well.

Kevin Bellew, associate dean of Wholeness and Wellness, believes that we don’t know what healthy rest is. He cited Netflix as a culprit, explaining how watching dramas can be distracting and entertaining, but not restful. “[Netflix is like saying], let’s put ourselves in crime scenes and murder mysteries,” Bellew said. “To our body these things are real, it creates anxiety to some degree. It’s not very restful. It’s entertaining, but not restful.”

“[Rest] begins by asking: ‘what is truly restful to me?’” Bellew said.

Fall break presents the opportunity to do just that—pause and think about some ways to be intentional in rest. Here is a list of some principles to put into practice with the extra day off class.

  1. Be Balanced

“There are different forms of rest, and not all are equal,” said Assistant Director of Student Leadership Development Heather Tyner, who spoke about rest during one of the leadership seminars this semester. “Some people consider activities where they ‘check-out’ as rest. This can be helpful in some cases, but there is a difference between rest that minimizes energy output and rest that cultivates replenishment.”

Intentional rest starts with you. Awareness is key. 

Tyner echoed Bellew’s reference to watching Netflix as a type of bodily rest that may not be as restful as it seems. Sleep is a form of rest that should be prioritized, but as we all know the temptation to stay up and watch the next episode of a favorite show can cut into a good night’s sleep. Intentional rest means choosing the best option, whether it be sleeping, reading, meeting a friend for coffee or hiking, instead of the mind-numbing activity of binge-watching a show.

“Balance is healthy rest,” Bellew said. This balance takes place in the activities we choose as well as in when we choose to do them.

“Rest is not a rest from work but a rest even within work that keeps us going strong,” Tyner said. “We are able, when our lives are ordered rightly, to work hard, rest hard, play hard and pray hard. This is a well-balanced life.”

  1. Be Reflective

With the constant impulse to check our phones for text, tweets, and emails, we are bombarded with information. One way to be intentional in rest is to unplug and spend time in contemplative silence.

“I can easily see things getting very detached between who I am and who I say I am,” Chair of Psychology Paul Nesselroade said. “As we fail to value resting we put those things at risk. If we don’t take time to be intentional in connecting those dots [between who we say we are and who we actually are], then we just get pushed around by the more momentary forces in our lives.”

“It may be as small as 3-5 minutes,” Nesselroade said of setting aside time for contemplative rest. “Then you can build from there.”

  1. Be Intentional

“The first step is to recognize the problem, then decide that you want to be different,” Nesselroade said.

Intentional rest starts with you. Awareness is key. Impatience with hall mates or feeling unfocused in class are indicators of the need to take a break and unplug, and in doing so recharge.

“To be intentional would mean becoming aware of what we’re doing with our time,” Bellew said. “My guess is that if everyone would analyze their day, most people would find time that they would say could have been used better. People say ‘I don’t have time for that,’ but it’s not about time, it’s about what we prioritize.”