A Healthy Mind Is a Terrible Thing To Waste: A Resolution and Revolution on Rest
By Jaclyn Barrows
Tiredness comes in a lot of forms; there’s the bodily tired one feels after a long day at work or in class, the mental tiredness that comes from doing complex work or tedious tasks, and moreover, tiredness of the soul that stems from emotional strain and difficult circumstances over time. The last couple of years have shown us what the world looks like when it grinds to almost a complete halt, and the usual busyness so many of us face is minimized in favor of health—or at least that was the original intention we were all given at the beginning.
Regardless of everyone’s views on the state of the world, the point is we have all been given a chance to rethink our daily lives and choose what is truly better for us. A growing number of people have taken a hard look at their current jobs and standards of living and opted for ways that lead to greater financial peace, such as starting their own business or finding jobs that respect their time. While money is always going to be a concern, rest, health, and time are given greater importance these days—and that is still a good thing.
As far as my own life is concerned, I’m still a work in progress on my resolutions from last year. I’m still constantly working toward financial goals of my own and making time to reach those goals beyond my daily work. However, I’ve had to do a lot of restructuring of those goals for the sake of better organization in my mind and my schedule, leaving time for rest and relaxation, which needs to happen more in my life.
My goals of 2021 were as follows: 1) reading the classics more often, 2) getting back into traditional art forms such as painting, sketching, and drawing, 3) getting my financial life under control, 4) getting my physical health under control, and 5) practice the art of journaling. These goals for 2021 remain much the same in 2022 but are undergoing a restructuring process so that my days are each much better managed to reach those same goals. It is more in line with a rather good trend I’m seeing lately, where instead of merely setting goals each year, you set systems to achieve those goals if you catch my drift.
How do you set a system instead of goals? Well, the simple answer is to not stop at the setting of the goals themselves—you add to those goals a plan for how you will work on those goals each day via setting a proper schedule with deadlines to meet or breaking the goals down to smaller, more achievable tasks each day. Then you work the schedule you set each day until the goals are met. It sounds so simple (it almost makes me feel stupid), but…I mean…this is how you get it done! As the famous philosophy instructor and thinker Jordan Peterson put it, the point of a schedule is not to make you feel imprisoned—you set your schedule for your own good day. Your schedule (as well as mine) is, at the end of the day, under our own command.
So, how am I going to continue towards my goals of last year, but this time includes rest?
1. First, I will simplify everything down schedule-wise. I am guilty so often of giving myself more than what I can do in a day and have become rather numb to when tasks I set before myself are not completed due to feeling tired from other tasks done in the day, or lazy and overwhelmed. To fix this problem in my own life, I have already begun meeting my fifth goal of starting a journal to help organize my schedule each day. So far, things are going okay, and I am enjoying the process of taking time to journal, as it is also already helping me with organizing my other goals from last year by writing them down in the form of my daily schedules. It also gives me an excuse to make small paintings and drawings that help me not only re-introduce myself to traditional art media but to quietly practice art as meditation as a means of waking up and getting mentally prepared for the day ahead. With my journal and daily schedule as a reference, I can train myself to have a small handful of important tasks worked on each day as opposed to overloading myself.
This has also gone a long way in re-training my mind to recognize why I overwhelm myself with work so much—and the reason is that I am in such a hurry to have a fresh start in life that I feel guilty if I rest even for a moment. That is why I didn’t meet my first goal of reading the classics more often last year—I am still battling the high school-going-into-college mindset of needing to take on a tough schedule with complicated coursework to feel like I’m doing something with my life. Good grief! I am almost 30 years old and still fighting myself on this!
2. Second, I am going to make a concerted effort to wake up earlier each day. Rest is not merely found in the sleeping hours; it is also found in the wake-up routine set each morning. My other guilty habit that has gone on for years is sleeping in too late and then having to hit the ground running each morning well before I’m mentally prepared to handle the day. Since I have the benefit of working from home (and have had this benefit the last two years), I know I should be taking better advantage of the time I have to wake up earlier, have a chance to read, work out, shower, and be at my desk ready to work. It is altogether too easy to sleep in until 30 minutes or less before I have to log in and be groggy when answering phones. What I should do instead is allow myself at least 3 hours before my shift time to wake up, do some planning and artwork in my journal, enjoy some coffee while reading, or do a bit of writing as inspired. Leave the last 30 minutes to get logged in, and at that point be ready for the long day of taking calls.
This will also lead me to go to bed at a better time as well since I will be appropriately tired around 10-11 pm, which if I’m waking up around 5 am, that gives me 7 hours of solid sleep. That’s really good; much better than being my usual night owl self that has me staying up far too late and being barely able to function the next day.
3. Third, I need to get my finances in order not for money’s sake or bills’ sake, but for the sake of personal freedom. So much of my stress in this life stems from my financial struggles and living situation. It is, quite frankly, the reason why I don’t give myself a chance to rest when I need it, as well as the reason why my mind and body are so exhausted that I end up resting anyway when I don’t mean to.
This one will be tough to balance out and not have interfering with the earlier points, but I do at least have a solid timeline and plan for this to happen. I am aiming to move to another state by August of this year as well as change jobs, so until then I intend to:
a.) Work as much OT at my current job as possible so I can pay bills and build savings
b.) Build my career as a writer on several sites by writing great stories, articles, and poetry that you, the audience, will absolutely enjoy reading
c.) Enter contests in writing and art with the intention of winning the top prize (any works that don’t win the contests will simply become posts for the sites for which I write)
d.) I will seek out work in my desired state of choice that pays a minimum of $25 per hour and is full-time
e.) Learn to budget, find ways to creatively save money, and live within my means, especially for when I move out
f.) Do more investing to help build passive income sources
Now, again, these things I intend to work on every day will have to not get in the way of the first two points in this article, but once I achieve a reasonable amount of financial peace in my life, I will automatically feel a lot more rested, even down to the soul. As I said, it is a major stress factor for me. Things must change, and I will be fighting for it.
4. As far as sleep goes, I will make a concerted effort to allow myself not only the chance to get 7 hours sleep each night by going to bed and waking up at decent hours, but I will also try to keep digital sundown on my tech usage. I am on my computer(s) every day for work long into the night, so to save my eyes and go to bed on time, I will need to take a break each evening. No excuses: I must do this as my eyes are in terrible shape and my mind needs a break from the web in general. It is just not healthy.
So, to recap, while my goals for 2022 have not changed from 2021, my methods for achieving them have greatly improved. Honestly, I am super excited that this system is in place—I know it will not be long before I see some outstanding results! The old and tired ways are done, as is the lack of achievement in my goals from prior years. This year is new, and despite it already showing signs and challenges, it should still be a year of great changes for the better. I know that as I get closer and closer to completing each goal, I will feel more rested and rejuvenated. This will snowball and avalanche to greater prospects in life, and thus help bring about greater peace in my life. And I am looking forward to it every step of the way!
About the Creator
Jackie Barrows is an artist, a writer, and all around creative soul who enjoys bringing new ideas and stories to life. She wears many hats as a Graphic Designer, a blogger, and Lead Production Artist for R.A.W. Productions.
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