As a high school student, it seems as though my time is everything other than “me” time. There is time set aside for school, for homework, for extracurricular activities and club meetings, for volunteering, for family and friends, and for church and other obligations. But where in the typical high schooler’s busy schedule is there any “me” time pencilled in, if anywhere? Does the modern high schooler spend any time not bustling around to activities, going to school, or studying? Or have high schoolers, in the crazy college admissions fueled frenzy to be successful and submit to society’s (through parents, teachers, peers, and the media) increasingly high standards for their lives? High schoolers today feel an intense pressure to be successful, and so they focus their energies on making themselves appealing to increasingly selective colleges, participating in more and more time consuming activities. Since colleges have gotten more selective in the past few years, students realized that they needed to step up their games in order to be accepted to their top choices. As a result, teens are too busy and do not leave any time for themselves, which is crucial in being a happy person/becoming a happy adult and developing an identity outside of school.
Ask an Expert
Here is what Doctor Dan Gottlieb has to say on this issue in an article for The Philadelphia Inquirer: “Free time fosters creativity and emotional development. It gives you the opportunity to deepen relationships and learn about yourself. Without free time, I worry that you could grow into adulthood valuing yourself more for your performance than for your humanity – therefore putting yourself at greater risk of self-absorption, depression and anxiety disorders.”
Allowing yourself downtime is essential in becoming a well rounded person with a personality and a self worth separate from “performance” and school-based activities.
Do Something for Yourself
A great way to give yourself some quality “me” time is to meditate for a set amount of time every day. It will not only allow you time to clear your mind, but it has tons of health benefits such as decreasing high blood pressure (from all that stress!) and increasing serotonin levels (the good stuff that makes you happy!).
Something else you could do is keep a journal and set aside a time to write every day. This is a really cool idea and it can be anything you want it to be: a book for doodling, writing poetry, observing the world around you, detailing the mundane or exciting happenings of your life, drawing, or all of the above! Cool journals can be purchased on sites such as Ex Libris Anonymous, (a company which uses recycled old textbooks and children’s books and binds them with a spiral and paper while keeping some of the original book pages), on Etsy, or at any book or department type store.
Reading is always a nice way to unwind from the day, and I personally love reading before bed because it helps clear my mind and focus on something other than what is currently occupying my brain. Libraries, book stores, e-Books, and tablets for reading give you endless options for your literary needs. I found that once I got a Kindle, I started reinvigorating my childhood love of reading, because who doesn’t love a fancy gadget!
Go for a run, get a gym membership, take an art class, take a nap, read a book, lay on the grass, go shopping, do whatever makes you feel happy and relaxed, because you deserve it! Allow yourself the necessity of free time, and either rediscover an old hobby or find a new one that will help you to relax and clear your busy-bee mind!