Say Yes to a “Say No Day”
College can get really busy really fast. You can take anywhere from 12 to 20 credits, and then there’s work on the weekends, campus work-study jobs, research, health-shadowing, education internships, business internships, clubs, sports, etc. Like I said, you can get really busy, really fast.
Getting all of these things done during the regular Monday-Friday, 9-5 time frame isn’t always possible. This means weekends get filled up quickly and everything is extra.
I know for myself, even if I am doing some extracurriculars on the weekends (for me it’s working as a home caregiver and volunteering at Abington Hospital), I count these days as a break just because I am not doing any school work. In reality, these days are not real breaks. A real break involves real rest. Filling up your weekends is not real rest.
I am not saying that you need to somehow pack everything you want to experience in college into weekdays so you always have weekends open, because that is not sustainable either. I am saying that it is beneficial for everyone to schedule an intentional day off one guilt-free day a month for proper rest at the very least.
My friends and I call this a “Say No Day.” A say no day is when you schedule a day, like actually put it into your calendar, where you will not do anything. All you have to do is rest. You can get takeout if you want, hang out with friends if that’s what fuels you or make sure that you set boundaries and say no to plans if what you need is a day completely to yourself. You don’t have to go anywhere or abide by a schedule; you are in complete control of your day.
We call this a “Say No Day” because for us, what we really need is to say no. Say no to plans people propose, say no to homework, say no to work, say no to anything that is not restful.
If this type of day is not relaxing to you, you can always modify your Say No Day. If rest for you is hanging out with friends, then your day can be full of adventures. If you are going on a hike or camping, you can schedule where and when you are going to go. The point is to separate yourself from all the activities of a crazy, stressful, fast-paced life. Allow yourself to mentally slow down and focus on things that give you energy instead of taking energy away.
The most important part of having a successful Say No Day is to actually schedule it far ahead of time, and make sure you are disciplined enough to keep it in your schedule.
I know first-hand that when things get really busy, I will compromise any personal time I have scheduled for myself to get the work done. I also know that my schedule will fill up very quickly so if I don’t get something into the schedule in a timely manner, then something else is likely to fill the white space of my Google calendar.
I recommend sitting down and scheduling one Say No Day every month for the semester at the same time that you get your schedules for the semester. That way you can make sure that you don’t schedule it for a time that would be inconvenient for prepping for an exam, but you will also be able to schedule it before anything else takes over your schedule. And then comes the most important part. As the Say No Day is approaching, make sure that you do not schedule anything on top of it or compromise the day that is meant only for you.