Rest Periods

Rest means abstinence of exertion or activity. There are optimum periods of work and rest for every task and for every individual. “The art of resting”, says Andre Maurois, “is a part of the art of working.” An individual who is tired and greatly in need of rest cannot do any good work. The human organism cannot survive without alternating work and rest. Work produces fatigue; rest or recreation removes fatigue. Goethe said, “Repose is work’s greatest achievement.” In the course of study, rest periods or breaks are essential and invaluable. Boredom, distractability, and dissatisfaction with work tend to set in after about two hours without a break. The following guidelines on rest periods given by an eminent psychologist are commended: During a session of continuous work on the same task, rest periods should be short in relation to the work period—of the order of 5 minutes or so. If longer breaks are taken momentum will be lost and considerable effort needed before you become warmed up to the task again. A rest should be taken whenever you feel that you are slowing down and making errors. A change in activity or posture during the rest are desirable, such as walking around the room, stretching your arms, etc. Rest intervals between different tasks may well be longer about 10 or 15 minutes. Then a short, brisk walk outside or some light refreshment, often serves to restore energies to their former level. In general, it is sensible to take 15-minute breaks between tasks and smaller breaks in the course of a task.