Are Rest Days Possible for Full-Time Students?

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By Anna Cocks

This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 4 of VARSITY News.


The culture of our society revolves around consumerism, exhaustion and the inability to separate work from other spheres of life. We are productivity junkies. If you’re not busy, you’re wasting time. As a result of this, we hardly ever rest. No wonderwork-related stress, depression, burnout and anxiety disorders are costing South Africa’s economy 2.2% of its GDP.


The solution:
Have a rest day each week. Work for six days and rest for one.


The reasons and the benefits:
Devin Stickells, a 4th year mechatronics student, believes that, “resting speaks to our humanity. We aren’t infinite, we get tired and we need to rest.” Resting is good for our health. It helps one live a balanced life, bringing peace and rest to the mind, body and spirit.

Margaret Diddams, Lisa Kleion Surdyk and Denise Daniels write in their paper, Rediscovering Models of Sabbath Keeping: Implications for Psychological Well-Being, that separating life into work, play and rest is important in promoting psychological resilience – the ability to cope with stress and recover to a state of well-being. They express that choosing to rest, while involving reflection (which builds on competence) and relationship building (that strengthens one’s social identity), leads to positively impacted well-being. 


How do you rest?
The key is for you to establish what work is and what it isn’t. Rest days are ‘no work’ days- that includes any form of work outside of varsity too. Ask yourself: is this serving my purposes of resting?
Do things that sparks joy in your life and that will refresh you. This includes physical rest for your body. The aim of a rest day is to feel prepared and energetic for the rest of the week. It allows you to work and live from a place of rest instead of striving. So, unplug, breathe in and spend some quality time with yourself.


Rest for how long?
The duration is all up to you, though it is encouraged to take an entire day off. The key thing is not to think about the work you need to do in the back of your head. So be intentional about resting if you plan to work later on in a day.


Is it possible for full-time students?
Yes, it is possible. Devin Stickells, a 4th year mechatronics student takes a rest day every Saturday. He has been doing this for a year now and he’s still passing all his subjects. His dad started this pattern of rest while he was studying medicine at university. Devin was encouraged by this and now follows suit. Rest days are possible, no matter what you’re studying.


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