I am sure you have already heard the stories. Late night food runs with friends at 2am when you really are not hungry and surely do not need food. All nighters with homework because sometimes, you really did not plan well. And talking for hours with your best friends because you all live literally feet apart from each other and college is essentially a year long sleepover. This is for sure an aspect of college and moments that I have experienced. At this point, in my third year here at Biola, I have learned about the importance of rest, something that I wish I developed earlier on.
Freshman year I for sure over-committed myself and my sleep schedule was the first thing to go. Not only was I not physically and tangibly sleeping, but I also was not resting. I never did things to take care of myself and I suffered because of it. WE CAN COMBAT THIS. I sure did, and I am still able to do everything that I love. Let me show you how.
First off, I do want to say that sleep is so, so incredibly important, but I have also learned that resting is more than just sleep. After my freshman year and far too many 4am goodnights, I realized how much I needed to take care of myself. I have always been a motivated student who works far ahead of the due date, and I learned that one of the first steps to allowing your soul to rest and for actually getting enough sleep is to work ahead on your homework, so that there is never a night where you are stressed out of your mind cramming to finish an assignment in a couple of hours before it is due. Working ahead allows you the freedom to actually go to bed in peace, knowing that your assignment is done and you also have the time to do something fun and good for you, and not just be constantly worried about your work. For the past four semesters, I have consistently been at least a week ahead of my work, and let me tell you, it has allowed me to have so much peace. I would highly encourage you that if you want to have more time to sleep and rest in college, utilize the free time to work ahead and do homework, even if you do not think that you need to! I promise you that a peaceful and rested version of yourself is a better version of yourself.
I do want to clarify one thing though that I have learned throughout this journey of finding rest, and that is that rest is actually active. Let me explain. You have to actively fight against the “go go go” narrative of this world and realize that Jesus calls us to a life where we are not consistently hurrying and running from one thing to the next. But one where we are doing things where our soul is being taken care of. Jesus actively cares for and fights for your soul’s peace, and we should be doing the same. For a while, I thought that in order to rest in college it meant that I could never do anything for fun and that I could only be doing homework 24/7. Nope. Wrong. Not it. I have learned that it is actually the very opposite. I feel well rested in college because I do things that renew and revive my soul as well. You have to make time for this or when the going gets tough, this will be some of the first things to go.
For me, I make it a priority to include things in my schedule to revive me. That includes intentional one on one time with good friends, ocean and surfing trips to enjoy God’s creation, time to work out, Disneyland outings, and just being in good company. Soul rest is needed. I have learned that during times that are more stressful, I of course need to be wise with my time management, but I also need to remember to breathe and do things that revive my soul. In order to relieve stress, I need to be doing restful things in order to continue working hard.
Overall, as I have shared above, here are some more tips and tricks that I have about resting and finding sleep in college!
- WORK AHEAD. If you work ahead, you are less stressed. If you are less stressed, you sleep more. Makes sense.
- Give yourself some soul care. You will not feel rested unless your soul is taken care of as well. Make sure you are doing things that also make your heart happy.
- Always spend time with Jesus. You will never feel truly rested if you ignore your time with the Lord. Jesus calls us to rest in Him. He will give you rest. I assure you, rest is so much more than sleeping, and you will never feel rested unless your soul finds rest in the Lord. Even during the stressful times, continue to dwell and be with Him. I promise you that it is worthwhile.
- Have a morning routine. Sometimes the hardest part about sleeping and finding rest is finding the motivation to get up. However, when I developed a morning routine, I had something to hold myself accountable to in order to ensure that I actually got out of bed. If I started my day productive, I usually continued in my productivity. If I begin my day intentionally without stress, it allows me to feel more rested and at peace throughout the rest of the day. I begin almost every morning by working out at the Biola Gym, getting ready, and going to the caf and eating breakfast while reading my Bible and journaling. Every morning. It helps me find rest throughout the rest of the day and helps me to relieve a significant amount of stress.
- Learn to say no. I promise that there will be more things to do later on. There will be another time to hang out with your friends that is not at 3am. One of the hardest things I have had to do while at Biola was learn how to say no so that I could do homework or go to sleep or do anything that was actually important to my well being. There will always be another opportunity. Saying no to something will help you say yes to the more important and worthwhile.
Sleep and rest are so important my friend, no matter what stage of life you are in. You are a better person when you are well rested, which is why we are literally commanded in the Bible to rest and sabbath. God gave us rest as a gift, and it is often a gift that we do not take advantage of. My prayer for you and for me too is that we can take advantage of the grace that God has given us and find rest.