As I sat in front of my computer, mentally flipping through the many subjects I could write this editorial on, I found myself getting more and more bummed about all the things in the world that seem to be going wrong. So today, in both message and action, I’m taking a break.
I’m not going to talk about healthcare. I’m not going to talk about international relations. I’m certainly not going to talk about Trump’s budget. Instead, I’m going to talk about something equally as important: You.
You, in this case, means not only you, the reader, but also You, the individual — the collection of thoughts and feelings and wacky behaviors that comprises a human being.
I’ve found that one of the most difficult things in life is to find a balance between our individual needs and the commitments that we have to the world around us. Without that balance, life can quickly become overwhelming.
It’s easy to find tips on how to better manage your time or how to be more productive or how to relax and de-stress, but what is less often addressed is the sense of guilt that can crop up when you choose your own serenity over the problems that face the world outside.
Sometimes, such guilt is valid. Peace of mind, while important, isn’t usually worth someone else’s suffering or hardship, so if your choice means that someone else is terribly inconvenienced or let down, maybe you should reconsider. However, there is a big difference between ignoring your responsibilities and simply taking a break to refuel.
Our society praises the concepts of hard work and perseverance and stigmatizes the idea of escapism. In a world of broad strokes, maybe this makes sense. In reality, I think that we need both.
In my experience, caring too much for too long sometimes leads to an overwhelming build-up of stress that can make it seem easier to not care at all. Rather than go down a dark and apathetic road, you should be able to have an afternoon of bingeing a sitcom and eating some good food — or whatever else it is that helps you leave the world behind for just long enough to regain some kind of balance — without feeling guilty for taking a moment to yourself.
Many things in the world are worth fighting for and many causes could desperately use your help, but keeping yourself healthy — physically and mentally — is the best way to make sure that you have the ability to do so.
I believe this is especially true for college students, who are constantly faced with challenges and opportunities while also hefting a heavy workload. Finding that balance can mean the difference between simply making it through and excelling to be an unstoppable force of nature in your chosen field.
So next time you feel like the world might be too much, stop for a moment, take a breath and find a way to be your awesome self again.
The world will be all the better for it.
—Cayla Fronhofer, Editor-in-Chief