Student life is stressful.
It’s a cliché, but also a fundamental truth; stress is a part of the student experience. You sign up to be a student, you’re going to experience stress. Sorry. That’s just how it is.
Seeing how student life is so stressful, there’s been an avalanche of attempts (including one by our own Staff Writer, Aliza Graham, in our first printed issue of the year) to teach students how to manage that stress, how to minimize it, how to live with it. She had some good tips in that article (seriously, go read it if you haven’t, it should be up on the website somewhere), but one she didn’t mention that I’d like to talk about is taking a Sabbath.
For those of you who don’t know, the Sabbath is a day of rest. Coming from the Jewish tradition, the Sabbath refers to the day when no one works, when everyone rests. Now, I’m not trying to preach Judeo-Christian theology here (I swear, I’m not!), but what I am trying to say is that, in our increasingly busy society, the idea of a Sabbath holds a lot of value. A day off – where you don’t do any work, where you don’t worry at all about your stress or obligations – can be incredibly liberating, especially amidst the hustle and bustle of student/professional life.
I’ve been doing this for years, ever since about halfway through my first year at Augustana. Personally, Friday is my Sabbath: I go to class, yes, but other than that I do nothing school-related. I don’t do any homework. I don’t do any studying. I don’t do any reading. And it helps a lot. Having a day to unwind, to decompress, to not worry about schoolwork, is incredibly refreshing, invigorating and liberating.
I do make exceptions, of course. If I have a massive term paper due on Monday, I’ll often do a bit of work on Friday. If I have a final exam on Saturday, I’ll study a bit on Friday. But the specific day of the week isn’t the point. The point is giving yourself a break. The point is making sure you have time to rest, to decompress, to unwind.
In our world of never-ending responsibilities, our world of endless work, our world of term papers and final exams and presentations and heaven knows what else, giving your weary mind a break can be extremely liberating. I know it is for me. If you find yourself struggling with stress, with an endlessly-growing to-do list, I’d highly recommend taking a step back, finding a day to let your problems go, and committing to it. There’s a very good chance you’ll become a healthier, happier person for it. And, in the end, isn’t that what all us students want?