Busy is not the new healthy

There are countless organizations and activities at Baylor to steal time away from the educational side of college. While it is important to be well rounded and enjoy your time on campus, students tend to pile a few too many things onto their already full plates.

I am the type of person who likes to stay busy. Having an open schedule makes me feel unproductive and lazy, two traits that I hate to embody.

Instead, I choose to throw myself into my two jobs, 17 hours of classes and a club sport that leaves me without much sleep or a fully working immune system. This lifestyle is evident common amongst a number of students on campus, and it often pushes them to a level of stress and unrest that is neither healthy nor feasible in the long term.

According to the American Institute of Stress, eight out of every 10 students experience stress daily, those numbers that have increased radically since the early 2000s. This may be partially due to the advancement of technology and its use in everyday life. Before smartphones and laptops, work ended when you left your computer, and work contacting you required a phone call. Now, emails, texts and social media keep everyone connected at all times. Removing yourself from a stimulated environment is harder than ever.

Additionally, the job market has changed drastically since previous generations entered it. In order to get a well-paying job, depending on your skill set, having a degree is often no longer enough. Those who succeed are those with have full resumes and high GPAs.

This pressures students into joining multiple organizations and taking on heavy levels of coursework. As they attempt to gather the needed skills for their future while still appearing appealing to employers. Coupled with the need to finish college quickly in order to incur the least amount of debt, students are pushed to be active at all times of the day.

As students, it is important to be in good mental and physical health while trying to tackle the college lifestyle. Many students find themselves getting sick more often when they are rundown and overworked. According to AARP, stress can lead to the common cold, slower healing from injuries, ulcers and stomach problems, neck, back and shoulder pain, and depression. These issues can develop from other components of life, and constant stress can cause all of these health risks to arise as an uncomfortable combination.

In an effort to combat these symptoms, letting go of smaller stressors is an easy place to start. Perhaps letting go of your tendency to vegetate on your phone for 30 minutes after class when other important tasks await, or the tendency to avoid planning for an upcoming event or test. If small changes are not enough, it is OK to prioritize what matters most in your life. Find joy in what you do, and if you find that there is no joy in something that is not necessary for your success, simply cut it out.

As the saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”