One of the biggest lessons I have learned since I came to college is to give myself room to breathe. So many people think they need to constantly be doing something “productive” or have social plans to live a happy and meaningful life. When you are a freshman in college, of course you want to take advantage of the many opportunities that come your way, but it is important to know where to draw the line.
During my freshman year I overloaded myself with work and activities which led to exhaustion and burn out. This semester, however, I feel like I have learned how to make time for myself.
I read a book for a class I took last year called Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives written by Richard Swenson, and it seriously changed the way I think about how I live each day. The concept of the book is that we all need margin in our lives: empty space that surrounds activity. Our culture glorifies busyness, causing us to believe that the only way to be productive is by constant activity. I’ve found at least for myself, however, that giving myself time with zero plans actually makes me more productive in the long run.
So what does this look like for me on a daily basis? I’m still learning, but one thing I’ve tried to do is stop all homework or practicing by 10:00 PM, giving myself from then until 11:30 to read my Bible, journal, drink tea, and watch TV. For me taking that time for myself makes me sleep better, feel less stressed and anxious, and makes my actual work time much more productive.
Do you have a habit of giving yourself space? Let me know you thoughts in the comments!