If you’re attending Pickens Technical College and you wrapped up your semester of intense, hands-on training, congratulations. You’ve earned some rest. The classes and programs at PTC are not easy. They’re not supposed to be. Learning a new skill is difficult, whether it’s how to weld or how to time the hit-stick just right in Madden.
Since you’ve worked so hard to develop this new skill, you deserve to rest, as well. Playing hard—getting out and having fun—is important, too, emotionally, psychologically, and physically, but so is rest. Why? Because rest helps your body and mind recover so you can come back stronger.
Physical Benefits of Rest
I don’t need to cite scientific research showing how beneficial rest is on your body. You know it instinctually. Not only is rest crucial for not working yourself to death physically, it helps you become more coordinated and strong, especially if what you’re learning and working on at PTC is physical in nature.
It’s a pretty simple concept. When you work out at the gym, you don’t always see dramatic improvements in your strength or muscle mass. It’s only the next day that you feel sore and yet see a difference in your body. Rest helps your body rebuild the lost and spent cells from your physical workout and lets these new cells become even stronger than the ones they replace.
You’ve probably heard before that your brain is a muscle and needs to be exercised to work at its best. Just like a muscle, the brain needs a rest period to regrow stronger and better than before. But more than that, your mind needs rest to be fully functional and ready to learn. Even if you’re doing the smart thing and continuing your reading and training over the summer, your brain needs rest because your mind needs rest.
When I say your mind needs rest, I mean more than sleep. Even when you’re focused on some task you learned only weeks before, your mind is pestering you with questions and random thoughts while your brain is attempting to sort through all the sensory input that makes up its overall perception of the world. And just getting your mind to focus on one task or thought at a time takes concentration and effort. You need rest to enable your mind to focus on the task at hand when you need it to.
When people use the term ‘burn-out’ you might think of it as a physical or mental problem. A person is so tired that they physically can’t drag themselves back to work for another 14-hour day, or their brain is so fried from being burnt out that they can’t perform their job. I see burn-out as an emotional problem. When I feel burnt-out, I either feel emotionally empty, or that I can’t control my emotions. It’s not that I physically can’t do my work, or that my mind has been turned off, it’s that I just don’t feel like doing the work. Motivation is a struggle we all go through. When you’re tired, you’re less motivated. Your brain is trying to tell you something: that it’s time for a rest. Don’t ignore it.