What Spring Break Taught Me About Rest

I needed Spring Break like I needed oxygen. 

The month leading up to the break, I had at least two exams each week (normally three) because two of my classes have 5 exams total rather than the normal 3. (Ugh.) On top of that, every single one of my five classes (even my online class) has a project. All are due the end of April, so I’m in prime-time “get-stuff-done” mode on those. On top of that, I shared an update on my mental health and my little daily struggles. I say “little” because I know that one day, I will look back and think I was actually rather blessed to worry about school and traveling and big life changes because it meant exciting things were happening in my life.

Nonetheless, I needed a BREAK. 

For Spring Break, I flew up to Tulsa and then Cameron picked me up and we drove to his place in Fayetteville. He wasn’t on Spring Break that week, but I stayed with him and we did all our favorite Fayetteville things when he wasn’t in class.

I got to sleep in past 8 every day. (Which eventually I became quite good at….jokes on you, internal alarm clock! Probably had a little to do with daylight savings.) I made a good breakfast for myself each morning without feeling rushed. I quit chugging caffeine in my first couple hours of the day because I actually felt naturally rested. I read good books. I enjoyed food. I strengthened my body at the gym without feeling like I had to or that I had to complete my workout in a certain amount of time to be able to move on to the next thing on my to-do list. I sat around playing cards with friends for hours, forgetting about the time or what day it was or what was on my planner.

And it taught me a lot.

 

It taught me that nothing really is as urgent as it seems.

I was sitting in my favorite coffee shop, annoyed at the slow wi-fi. I ordered tea 15 minutes ago and it was nowhere to be found. I opened my planner for the first time in days and saw an assignment for my online class was due in a matter of hours. My old friend, Stress, began to lock it’s arms around me and the pressure squeezed my temples, giving me a headache.

But then I stopped. Breathed. Nothing is really ever that urgent or that scary.

I got my tea (to-go) and walked to an old study spot on campus where I knew the wi-fi was reliable. I sat down and just slowly began working away on my assignment. If I worked in 10-minute intervals with a few pauses in between to look around at the people walking to class or check my phone for snapchats from my sisters, I could get through without feeling so overwhelmed and stressed.

And it worked.

I got what I needed done. I finished my tea. I felt accomplished. And I didn’t feel the need to immediately begin writing another to-do list to push myself any further.

So I read for fun more. I wrote some. I read scriptures. I texted my Dad. I thought up new recipes that Cam and I could try that week.

And things grew brighter – more beautiful. I could actually notice how pretty the day was or how the chilly air actually made me feel pretty alive and bright-eyed rather than annoyed and grumpy. I could appreciate sweet words from a friend who called or the little joys in the form of puppy cuddles, a Chipotle burrito bowl, or just the best dang Mediterranean wrap I’d had in forever.

I want to carry this mindset into the next month of school. A month from now, as I write this, I will only have a couple weeks left of school. My final tests and projects are pretty much all the last week of April and then I will transition into working for the summer and starting new adventures. Cameron will graduate (WHAT) and it will be summer in Texas where there are giant Sonic drinks and smoothie bowls whenever I want them.

Life is good. God is good. And ya’ll know what He has taught me this week…

REST IS GOOD!

I’ve always tried to put the “school year” or “the semester” in a box and tell myself “I’m just gonna be stressed now.” Or, “I’m just not gonna sleep very much right now.” And then I promise myself when summer comes or when vacation comes, I’ll rest. But I think I’m gonna quit that. Just like you can detox from sugar or quit coffee or quit biting your nails, you can quit over-working yourself and glorifying the earthly things in your life that only bring you short-term joy in the form of a notebook filled with history notes or pens ran dry of their ink.

Let’s sleep more and chug coffee a little less. Let’s open our favorite books before our textbooks. Let’s linger at the dinner table even if the dishes are piled high in the sink and the laundry has been sitting in the dryer waiting to be folded. 

Who’s with me?

X,

Cristina

 

  • Emily

    I LOVE this. So much. I was just in France for spring break & Europeans definitely follow this mindset. It was so nice to sit down at a cafe and people watch for thirty minutes instead of grabbing coffee to go! It really is the little things in life that you enjoy most. I’ll be trying to make this change in my life alongside you!!

    • Cristina Mandujano

      Ah, France sounds amazing! We can all take a little inspiration from the Europeans and slow down a bit 🙂

  • Totally agree with you! I am the same way. When it comes to school stuff, I always stretch myself too thin and forget to make time for the things I find relaxing and rejuvenating. I did a lot of traveling over spring break and while it was fun and good, I didn’t really feel like I got that ~break~ that we all so desperately need. The next few weeks are going to be ROUGH but I’m hoping I can get started on a lot of these exams and projects in advance so it doesn’t totally crush me all at once.

    Love reading your posts lately Cristina, they have such an honest, poetic vibe! Keep on keepin’ on xo

    • Cristina Mandujano

      It looked like your spring break was so fun! I wanna go to Nashville so bad 🙂 (I went for a national dance competition when I was in like 7th grade and I remember it was fun, but I wasn’t old enough to truly appreciate it.) I’m thinking and praying for you these next few weeks, but you’re so close to graduation! If you end up coming to Houston to check out UH, I’ll show you around campus and the city! Thanks for your sweet comment 🙂

  • I purposely forced myself NOT to make my weekly to-do list, just to show myself that I can and should take spring break week off and just live each day! By the end I was a stress ball, but I needed to show myself I’d survive some unstructured freedom!

    • Cristina Mandujano

      That’s so amazing! And that truly is a huge accomplishment – you should be proud that you stopped the glorification of busy 🙂 You go girl!

  • I love this!! I’ve been stressed 24/7 about finding an internship to the point that just thinking about an interview can ruin my entire week, but for spring break I didn’t open emails or my laptop once and it felt SO GOOD. I totally get what you mean about telling yourself you’re just going to be stressed all school year, that’s pretty much how I’ve gone through college so far. But I keep having to tell myself that the things I’m stressing about are so insignificant and will be over before I know it! I’m definitely taking your advice to heart for the rest of this semester!

  • Seriously agree with so much of this. I think we all definitely need a break at times! I’m so ready for break next week and time at the beach!
    Hope you have a wonderful day!
    Caitlin

  • I agree with ALL of this… Rest is much needed in the stress and hustle and bustle of life…

    Great post, Cristina!

    Sweetly, Sally // http://www.sweetlysally.com