The day came when taking 16 units at school and working 35 hours (plus) a week almost killed me. Seriously.
My mom had to take my 19 year-old self to the emergency room because my sleep deprivation had taken its toll on me.
While my mom was frantically driving me to the hospital I kept wondering why this was happening to me.
Was it all the fast-food I was consuming on the go because I spent little time at home?
Was it because I was sleeping in my car between work and school as much as I was sleeping in my bed?
Could it be that all of those painful migraines I was getting were merely warning signs of something seriously wrong with my body?
Or maybe it was the effects of all the caffeine and energy drinks I was pounding to get me through another shift, another class, another hour.
That night, the doctors tested me endlessly, through machines, and blood work, and checked my vital signs every hour because they wanted to rule out cardiac issues.
When morning arrived the doctor came in the room with two remedies that I could take.
He said, “I am putting you on Hydrocodone (a.k.a. Vicodin) for the back pain and migraines. Secondly, I am heavily suggesting you to get 8 hours of sleep every single night. If you sleep more, you won’t need the Vicodin for long. If you don’t change your rest habits, you will always need the Vicodin. It’s your choice if you want to keep coming back here.”
At first I was offended. “I didn’t choose to be here,” I thought.
But under careful review I realized that every time I left the house without properly eating I was making the choice to buy unhealthy foods. Every time I decided to waste time with my friends on the weekends, I was making the choice to work my body and mind overtime. Every time I forfeited rest for the sake of doing more I was putting myself under self-induced stress.
I only took one pill one time. I made hard choices. It led to greater change.
Being tired doesn't benefit anyone
My grades were suffering even though I would cram in so much study time late at night. My customer service wasn’t up to standard because I drained from running on 4 hours of sleep.
I knew I could do better but I just couldn’t retain the information or get myself to be emotionally invested into what I was doing because I was physically exhausted.
As go-getters, we tend to confuse obsessively hustling with hustling recklessly. The difference is that while one fuels our drive to accomplish more, the other derails and hurts our cause.
No one benefits from you when you’re tired.
Not your spouse.
Not your children.
Not your friends.
Not your coworkers.
Not your creativity.
Not you school work.
Not your career.
Not your team.
And you certainly don't benefit from it either.
So why is it that we allow ourselves to live tired? It could be that you are conditioned to think that more work means you're being more productive.
That isn't necessarily the case here.
Instead, think of your output as a direct result of input. If you feel drained, then it is because you have not been intentionally poured into.
Your rest is essential to your work. Most of the times we feel that after we've worked hard we rest. That mindset puts the work at forefront of life. Life is to be lived for God's glory through the gifts you've been given. You are the vessel that carries His glory.
When you're tired you're less patient with your family. When you're tired, you won't pray diligently or read His Word with reverence. When you're tired you won't be your best and anything short of that is a recipe for mediocracy or disaster.
Therefore, I encourage you to rest so that you can be sharp, give more than 100% effort, and work harder than anyone else.
I don't mean spend your time watching TV on the couch or laying in bed on your phone. Doing those things don't replenish you. They hardly entertain and they certainly waste time.
Take your rest seriously. Pray. Read a book. Paint with oils. Listen to music as you sleep. Whatever you do, make sure it is renewing your energy and taking the stress away.
My message to you is not to encourage you to be lazy. I don't deal with lazy people. I want you to be the best you can be and undermining your rest will certainly derail that.
The truth is, somedays we are going to have to work 18 hours to get something done. Some weeks are going to require an all-out time commitment and physical sacrifice, but that is not the standard. If you don’t have order in your life then you won’t accomplish what you set out to do.
We need to organize our calendars better because that says a lot about us. When we prioritize order in our lives we reduce the probability for cases like the one I had
So let me know: How will you implement rest in your weekly routine?
I hope to see that it refreshes you and that you're never ever rushed to the hospital for any preventable reason.