Preventing Mental Burnout: The Importance of Taking a Rest Day

We currently live in a fast-paced society that demands more and more. With every convenience we have added that should open up our schedules for more time to relax and connect, it appears new demands are placed upon us that replace what appliances and smart phones now do for us.

The concept of a “Rest Day” or Sabbath, long-associated with religion, is one that often gets further and further removed from mainstream culture, yet the benefits of taking time to not only physically rest, but mentally reset are becoming better understood.

Here are some tips on creating space for a rest day and why it is important:

  1. Mental exhaustion can be just as taxing as physical exertion. Decision fatigue in which we are constantly being called upon by the fast-paced rhythm of life to make decision after decision can stretch the brain to the max. Taking time to do something mindless can help to clear the brain and improve chances of solving whatever problem is stressing you out.
  2. Keeping track of our “to-do’s” takes up a LOT of mental energy. If there are tasks or an unsolved problem weighing on you that can be pushed off a day, jot it down for tomorrow. It will still be there to solve. I always think of my daily planner like an unloading bin that holds my to-do’s in place until I can get back to them, therefore freeing my mind for other things.
  3. There is no one right way to do a rest day. It is completely up to you. For example, I may allow myself 30 minutes or so of blogging (like right now) because it is something I enjoy, even though it is related to my life’s work. A rest day is what YOU and your family need it to be. There will still be tasks we need to attend to. If you find it difficult to break away from the to-do list, prioritize one area that you will allow yourself to postpone and take a step back from expending mental energy.

When you teach, you touch the future and that’s a pretty amazing place to be. Don’t forget how amazing you are for working with young minds and that you, too, deserve to be physically and mentally well-rested.