Making time for rest and relaxation has never been more important
By Jessica Berget, Opinions Editor
Some people think if you’re not stressed out, anxious, and exhausted, that you’re not working hard enough—but nothing could be further from the truth. If you’re experiencing any these feelings it’s most likely because you are already working too hard, and you desperately need a break.
Overworking is a common problem in many adult’s lives, but especially among students. Between balancing multiple jobs, classes, studying, volunteering, exercising, maintaining a social circle, and even eating, it’s a wonder how anyone finds the time to pee—much less relax.
As much as we like to joke about our unhealthy lifestyles that come with being overworked—being underpaid, not sleeping or eating right, excessive smoking or drinking, and chugging down gallons of coffee to feel alive again—it is a serious epidemic that we should not be taking so lightly. Even just typing out these activities makes me anxious, so the idea that being constantly stressed and exhausted are good indicators of hard work is not only wrong—it’s an extremely unhealthy way to think.
People in Japan die from being overworked so much that there is even a word for it. “Karoshi” translated into English literally means “overwork death,” which is usually caused by cardiovascular issues. According to a report by Statistics Canada, Japanese researchers who examined the relationship between cardiovascular disease and long work hours hypothesized that working too much brings about unhealthy lifestyle habits such as “smoking, alcohol abuse, lack of physical exercise, sleeplessness, poor eating habits, and fewer chances for medical examinations.”
Now, we are not nearly on the same level as Japan, but the correlation between being overworked and the physical, mental, and emotional toll it takes on our bodies has never been clearer, but overworking has become such a big part of our society that people continue to do it, whether they are aware of it or not. For instance, many people say they don’t consider checking emails as work, but I would argue it takes a lot of mental energy to formulate replies to work messages, so it is technically “work.” Learn to tune out those unimportant emails on your days off, and just chill out. It’s for your health.
There are also many students who are in such a rush to graduate and get their degrees that they take four to five classes each semester while also juggling jobs and other responsibilities. If this is what you do, you are a much stronger person than I, and I admire the hell out of you. However, you are going to have the rest of your adult life to overwork yourself, so slow down, relax, and have fun—while you still can. Don’t be afraid to take a semester off occasionally or take less classes if you feel you need it. There’s only about two to three week breaks between semesters, but I would say that’s not nearly enough time to unwind after taking multiple classes for four months straight. Take the time off when you can, because before you know it, you will have worked your entire life away.
Being constantly overwhelmed and on the verge of a mental breakdown does not equate efficiency and productivity, and that is something we should all learn to accept. If it’s your day off, make it the most relaxing and restful day possible. You deserve it.