The importance of finding down time in a hectic schedule

JoBeth Crump, Campus Carrier Assistant Photojournalism Editor

Honestly ask yourself, when was the last time you did something for yourself, stepped back and took a moment to enjoy your activities and opportunities and just appreciated being alive?

It shouldn’t take us that long to think of the last time we did, but unfortunately, with midterms around the corner and stress levels rising, for many students, stepping back and having “me time” hasn’t happened in a while.

Stepping out of this everyday monotonous “grind” that is schoolwork and job responsibilities is highly important for your sanity in college. It’s as simple as taking 15 to 30 minutes out of your day to walk, practice yoga, or whatever it may be to help clear your head and step out of the grind.

Jeanne M. Schul, lecturer in kinesiology and yoga instructor, said she started practicing yoga because “the focus is inward and isn’t about competition.”

“A big issue in college is fatigue level. Learning the relaxation poses, the restorative rest poses, are important. If we don’t get the prescribed eight hours of sleep a night, knowing that there are these ‘power nap’ options out there could help us get through the next hurdle,” Schul said.

In college, we have the opportunity to study and work towards careers we often love. However, because we are pursuing what we love, it is sometimes hard to find what is relaxing and enjoyable in our down time. Because technically, when we are “busy,” we are already doing what we love.

For example, one of my majors is studio art and in my down time, I love to paint, draw and sculpt. However, I haven’t been able to create works for pleasure in a very long time. Don’t get me wrong, when I’m completing an art assignment, designing a poster for work or creating costumes at the theatre, I enjoy it. However, at the same time, because there is an element of timeliness, payment or a grade held over my head, the fun or relaxation dissolves and stress takes in its place.

I’m sure many of you, like me, have completed good or mediocre work for class or your job that could have been relaxing or fun to do had it not been connected to an end goal like a grade or money.

In art classes, it is taught that stepping back and examining your work should take more time than creating the work itself. Taking yourself out of the process of creating helps you better realize and understand the overall purpose of the piece. If you are constantly huddled over the piece, is it very hard to see what needs to be fixed in order to better serve the cohesion of the overall work.

Many students undervalue the importance of an individual’s “me time.” That doesn’t mean skipping class and work to sleep all day or finally hanging out with your friends in your free time. I’ll admit, skipping class just to enjoy a nice fluffy waffle on a cold 8 a.m. morning has been a low point in my college career, but it did give me time to reflect. Senioritis is real folks.

“Me time” gives you the opportunity to step out of your created atmosphere of stress and reflect on yourself and your actions.

It almost seems impossible to stop thinking of everything all at once, especially when there never seems to be enough time in the day.

If I could relay one message to students, particularly freshmen, it is that it is okay to step away and have “me time.” Do not feel pressured to spend your very little amount of free time with your friends and at social gatherings. Yes, it is important to be involved, but it is even more important to reflect and know yourself. Opportunities are abundant at Berry, and there will always be another chance to hang out with friends.

Before you lock yourself in a stress bubble, make sure you are able to step back and breathe.

In life, and especially in college, it is crucial we take this “me time” so that we can better improve our overall well-being.

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