Mental Health May-hem

May is the month of Mental Health Awareness in the US. With a light being shown on mental health this month, a light is also being shown on mental health days and their recent popularity. I get it, getting out of bed in the morning to the obnoxious sound of your alarm, the overwhelming feeling of anxiety and the sudden dread you feel in your stomach when you realize it’s another day of just going through the motions or doing the same thing again can get old. Some mornings, it seems almost impossible to get out of bed, impossible to pull myself out of my nice warm comforter to get ready for work, school, or just the day ahead of me. It’s not untypical to fall into a routine. For me I get up, get dressed, brush my teeth, and pack my practice bag, however, recently I feel like that’s all I do. Rarely do I get to sit down and eat breakfast with my parents and worst of all I don’t even get to spend time with my dog:(  Monday through Saturday it is like that again and again. My routine has become like a numb habit. I do the same thing every day. Then I go downstairs, grab a granola bar and head off to school. For 7 hours of learning and tests, and three hours of practice or a game, and then at least two to three hours of homework after (thank you AP classes) everyday….. Monday-Friday.

My schedule is like this day after day, week after week and it’s quite exhausting. Adults feel that the weekend is enough time for students to recuperate, but I personally feel like the weekend is never enough. When am I supposed to focus on sleeping and recovering from the week before when I am maintaining at least four hours of homework, a soccer tournament, family time and a social life between two days? It’s a juggling system and let me tell you, I am not doing well.

By the end of the week, it is common for students or working adults to feel burnt out and unmotivated. I feel like we all just hold on to that idea of Friday, like it’s the only thing to look forward to. It’s the day when we know our “work weeks” will be over. However, some people are not capable of pushing through and getting through their day. Recently it’s been more socially acceptable to take a mental health day or two to recover. A mental health day may consist of catching up on sleep, finishing late work, or taking a day to relax and de-stress from a long, hard week.  

I think that mental health days can be valid but only under certain circumstances. It also depends on the person and how they operate best. I mean all in all its a really good idea. I think that having 8 sick days and 2 mental health days in a working contract is a fair deal. Neither being physically sick and mentally exhausted is going to create a good worker or involved student so why not allow them that period. 10 days out of 365 is not going to hurt anything. Now you might argue with me about weekends, but whatever your opinion might be, I work on at least some school work every weekend and don’t get me started on summer assignments. And that’s another reason I support mental health days because there are some reasons why I believe that mental health days can be valid, such as if you personally think you could be more productive at home.

Examples of this being: catching up on late work for school or a job, cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, and all the other daily tasks sometimes we don’t have time for between school and practices or jobs. Even just simply resting up for the next day. I have taken mental health days multiple times in my high school career and they have always been beneficial to my lifestyle and my mental health. I think it is truly up to a persons judgement on what they need because I do not believe that mental health days are beneficial if you are avoiding tests or big presentations, but only the said person would know what they need. I think it is important to know when your body and mind needs a break. However, you need to make your mental health day productive and helpful towards your personal needs and not abuse or waste a day off.