By Bex Peterson, Editor-in-Chief
I’m not very good at relaxing. In fact, I’ve been clinically diagnosed with being terrible at it (in medical fields they call this a “severe generalized anxiety disorder and adult ADHD,” by the by).
This doesn’t mean that I’m a particularly productive individual. No, I’ve spent many hours lying on my bed, staring up at the ceiling and thinking of all the things I should be doing. This prevents me from actually enjoying my time off—I feel far too guilty and unproductive when I try reading or watching TV, but if I can’t think of a project to do to fill up my time, I end up just sitting around feeling fidgety and terrible.
I’m far from the only person who experiences this. Many of my friends have told me they have issues relaxing; unable to sleep in or binge watch TV or kick back with a book for a few hours. I personally can’t fully relax if I have my phone on me—I always feel like I should be checking it for emails or texts or social media updates, but in a world where we’re expected to essentially be constantly available, putting the phone aside for an afternoon (never mind a full day) seems almost irresponsible.
That drive to be always available, always productive, isn’t good for anyone in the long run. I’m not doing anyone any favours by refusing to give myself time off. No one does their best work when they’re exhausted; instead of working reasonable hours and taking reasonable time to recharge, I drive myself into the ground until I crash for 18 hour “naps.” This winds up in me half-assing things I could be whole-assing if my time management was better and I could drop the weird guilty feeling I get if I’m not working.
The Other Press is moving into monthly publications for the summer semester, which means after exams I will absolutely have more time to myself over the coming weekends. I know plenty of people are struggling with questions of how they’ll spend their break time—even if you’re doing a summer semester, you still have a few weeks before classes kick off. Should we fill the time with more work? Seeing friends? Catching up on cleaning and personal projects? Finally getting that Twitch stream or YouTube channel off the ground?
There’s absolutely a pressure to constantly be doing even though we’re told, time and time again, that we need to relax every once in a while if we want to live past 30. It doesn’t help that part-time and even full-time jobs don’t pay nearly enough for many of us to afford to take some time to ourselves. The rise of the so-called “gig economy” has put us in a position financially where every hour spent doing nothing is money wasted, and we’re expected to balance a few side hustles along with our regular employment to make ends meet. It sucks.
There’s really nothing I can say to ease any of these pressures or fix the economy (other than to encourage people to get on board with the socialist agenda and overthrow capitalism once and for all). In the meantime, comrades, I guess I’ll just say that if you need to hear it said, you absolutely have permission to take some time to yourself. Do what makes you happy, get all the sleep you can fit into your schedule, and feel free to tell the world to fuck off for a day so you can play video games for nine hours straight. It doesn’t matter if you’ve “earned” it or not—you deserve it.
Until next issue,