Whew what a week. While productive weeks like this one tend to go faster, they also take a lot out of you. This week was probably one of my hardest in terms of motivating myself to study. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the fact that my Accounting class is online with only the midterm and final as grades and the material is not currently difficult, it can be easy to push it off. I’ve been able to force myself back into school mode but I should probably spend some extra time this weekend going back over the material to make sure I actually absorbed it. There was more than one instance when I was reading about Process and Activity Based Costing and after finishing a page I wasn’t sure I could tell you anything I just read.
This brings me to what I want to talk about today: rest days. They may seem like a luxury that you don’t have time for in your busy schedule but the truth is that they are a necessity in keeping you healthy and productive. I am just as guilty as anyone else in skimping on rest days and pushing myself too hard, both in fitness and in carrying out my work and school responsibilities.
On the fitness side, I have been lucky enough to not seriously injure myself as a result of pushing too hard. I have however experienced more than one instance of knots and inflammation in my muscles. Not only did this lead to unpleasant soreness, but also my STL gym buddy (who happens to be a Physical Therapist) Amy yelling at me for being dumb. In one of these cases my fellow gym goers were given some free entertainment as Amy basically “shanked” a knot in my calf with her knuckle. There were a lot of facial distortions and some swearing that took place. Whether you are working out to lose weight, stay in shape, or relieve stress, your body needs time to recover. There are many opinions saying how much time you need to recover or how many rest days you really need, but it really comes down to how intense your workouts are, what your fitness level is, and at the end of the day listening to your body. Your body is capable of incredible things, but it is also very good at giving you signs that it needs a break. By not allowing it to recover you are not only opening yourself to injury and other negative effects (decreased immune system, fatigue, etc), but you may stop seeing results from your training. If you don’t want to spend the whole day lounging, do an “active rest day” where you do light exercise (walk, yoga, stretching) just to get the blood moving. Keeping the intensity down lets your body recover and you still get to feel accomplished.
Now for the school and work side of the coin. This one can be a little tougher when you are working with deadlines and a heavy workload. Sometimes taking an entire day off just isn’t in the cards. My 4 week coding class in January combined with my work responsibilities did not allow for a day of trading reading, homework, and work for Netflix. However, that amount of mental stimulation and need for focus demanded that I build in breaks or risk burning myself out. While I couldn’t take an entire day off, I made changes to my schedule to make the most of my workable hours and give myself time to reset. I set days and hours that I would dedicate to homework and applied my undergraduate trick of 45 minutes to an hour of studying 5-10 minute break. This is a trick I learned in my psychology class; taking breaks actually helps improve memory and absorption of the material. I planned my workout schedule to so that I gave myself a break between the work day and studying and let myself sleep in on my fitness rest day. Those 4 weeks were still stressful and exhausting, but they could have been much worse if I hadn’t allowed myself to recover.
Now that life has calmed down a bit I have made the effort to give myself those full rest days to chill out and regroup. I did not do as well this week with giving myself proper rest and I saw the effects of that when I was studying. With that in mind, today may see limited review of Accounting during lunch, but then I am done for the day. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, Friday nights should be dedicated to something fun and relaxing, not studying. I will be a much more successful student when I pick up my book on Sunday to review after taking a day off.
Sleep: 7 Hours (stayed up too late watching the GOP disaster, I mean debate)
Work: 9 hours
Studying: 1/2 hour review
Workout: Light stretching and walk with Tucker (follow @tuckerfluff on Instagram for all of his adventures)