Will we ever get a break? Or do we have to make one for ourselves?

Column by J1 Reporter Madison Shaffar

Madi’s Madness

“Enjoy your wild teenage years.”

“Keep working hard in school.”

“Stay involved in everything; it looks so good on a resume!”

These are all phrases that we have heard from the adults in our lives at some point in time during our time as teenagers. But how do we possibly keep up with all of this while maintaining good mental health?

It’s expected for us as young adults to always be busy and always be doing something good, from participating in every club or activity offered to maintaining perfect grades all while spending our weekends having fun with our friends.

And will it ever end?

Won’t this cycle just continue when we get to college and have even more on our plates? And it definitely won’t slow down once we grow up and get full time jobs and families. 

It’s almost like society just expects us to run ourselves to exhaustion. Our parents want to see us go to a good college and get a successful job in our futures. Our friends want to have a good time whenever they get the chance. Our teachers want to see our best work on every assignment they give us. It’s become a competition between our classmates to see how many honors classes we take and how late we stay up studying every night. Why is this so normal? 

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to be involved and have fun, but every moment doesn’t have to be something to check off a to-do list. It’s not like we can change our homework load or stop being social at all, but I think it’s time to normalize the prevention of the build up of so much pressure on ourselves.

I think it’s time that we allow ourselves to make time for a break. If we don’t take care of ourselves, then who will? No one is aiming to pull us down, but we are responsible for protecting our own peace. If we don’t make a break for ourselves, then we may never get one. 

Normalize making time for something you love. Normalize taking a second to forget about your planner and breathe in some fresh air. Normalize going to bed when your brain is fried and you’ve done what you can to prepare for the day ahead. Normalize just plain taking care of yourself.

High school is already hard, we need to spend less time worrying about what looks good and more time working on what makes us feel good. Because in the grand scheme of things, the grade you got on your math test or whether or not you hung out with your friends doesn’t make a long-term impression on your life.

What does matter is the way that you take care of yourself before it is too late. It’s time to normalize protecting your peace before you grow up and can’t break the habits of late nights, overworking, and never taking a moment for yourself. It’s time to remove the stigma that someone is “lazy” because they are preserving their own sanity.

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