Dear Asian Youth,
The school term started, and work began pouring in. The curriculum is different this year because of COVID-19, and the choice to go exclusively remote, hybrid, or fully in-person was presented. I am a senior this year and am already feeling the panic of college applications, school work, and general stressful matters. I don’t know if I could describe this feeling as “burnout,” but I am certainly feeling the pressure of juggling many conflicting obligations. Tiredness is seen as a natural factor of daily life but what if I truly need to relax? When would it be a good time to step back and just re-evaluate? I feel as though the hustle and bustle of high school blur our ability to self-care. There is an expectation that a successful high school student can not only handle school, but also extracurriculars, social life, and whatever life may throw at you.
Even though our summer has been unprecedentedly longer than usual, I think there is new anxiety: online school. I think the concept of online school is initially very appealing to a high schooler, but when it comes down to it, I feel sometimes it can be worse. For me, it can be isolating and distracting because of the lack of structure. I know that could be a personal issue I have, but it’s challenging to alternate between virtual and in-person school. It’s almost like there is no routine, and there is no rhythm to the madness of school. Everyone wants a sense of normalcy, but I don’t think there can be complete normalcy as life has changed. There are things we took for granted before that we find ourselves missing now. The removal of leisure activities and the onset of being thrust back into a school mindset leaves me overwhelmed.
So maybe you’re feeling the same way and wondering how to combat it. Obviously, fatigue is hard to overcome. Oftentimes I just want to lay in bed and sleep through all my online classes or not go to school that day. I think self-motivation is a huge component of how to create the routines you are seeking. Since school isn’t the same as before, and there is no traditional “school” routine you can have, you need to create a new normal. Try to let yourself go through the motions you would usually go through for school before the pandemic. If not, you run the risk of making laziness become a habit. But that’s not to say you can’t take breaks and relax. I take a lot. It’s not the fatigue of overworking but more so the mental challenge of dealing with the stress of a pandemic, school, and everything else going on. I think you need to find a way and a time to switch off. If you are constantly alert, that pressure will seep into the weakest points of your mind.
Maybe it’s sleeping in, maybe it’s playing with a pet, or maybe it’s facetiming a friend. No matter what it is, you have to decompress. Put your mind at ease, and just focus on nothing. Don’t force yourself to be constantly alert and processing something because our brain needs charging too. One of my teachers told me yesterday, “sleep is king,” and I honestly can’t disagree. Whatever time you’re reading this, take that action or take that break that you're craving. You probably need it, and so do I.
Cover Photo Source: Thrive Global