As we briskly move into the fall season, I am filled with excitement for the cooler nights, the holidays and the family time to come. I am also, unfortunately, reminded of the mental and emotional weight the fall and winter seasons bring to many people and have brought to me before. As classes, projects and assignments pick up, the sun seems to pack up and leave, leaving in its absence depression, anxiety and more unnecessary weight.
During this time and through the winter months in particular, I implore you to put yourself and your health first. Assignments, work and whatever else you have on your plate should be a strict second to your own well-being.
While there is an overarching societal problem with overworking people and not caring about their mental and emotional needs, there is also a Truman State University and general college problem, too. We can each work to combat these problems.
Professors, bosses, friends and family should understand your need to be self-centered sometimes, so there is no reason to feel guilty for taking the time you need. Also, as a professor, boss, friend or family member, you should be understanding toward those you know need to take some for themselves.
As far as what you do during your “you time,” I recommend doing whatever it is that makes you happy, comfortable or relaxed. What I do for myself varies depending on my mood. I like taking walks, talking to my mom, watching mindless TV shows and playing Candy Crush on my phone. Most of those things don’t take very long and I can quickly get back to being productive. Sometimes, though, you need to take longer, and that’s okay, too. That’s all part of being self-centered and doing whatever you need.
My message is simple and seems to be preached often, but until our University and the rest of the country can get on board with supporting mental and emotional health in this way, it’s a message that I will repeat over and over again.
If you need to take time for yourself, go ahead. If you’re feeling guilty about taking time for yourself, don’t. And if you know someone who needs to take time for themselves, let them.