When is the last time you and your child took a “mental health day,” a day to rest, unplug and recharge?
We live in a society today where the well-rested professional loses respect and the calm and relaxed teenager is looked down on. We hear stories and marvel at the success of famous people like Bill Clinton and Martha Stewart who only need four hours of sleep a night. We esteem the high school Valedictorian who graduated with a 4.5 GPA, an All-America athletics award, and a book contract. We make the kid who participates in only one extra-curricular activity look lazy, and we make the mom who takes a spa day feel guilty for her time off.
Yet there is a glaring disconnect between the messages we receive from culture about resting and the messages we receive from scientists.
Researchers, physicians, and even high school nurses all agree that proper resting time and enough sleep is necessary to the health, mental wellbeing, productivity, and happiness of any individual.
We need to start making rest a priority and begin teaching young people its value.
Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of online school is the flexibility and freedom that it provides students. In online school, it’s perfectly OK to skip a day and get some much needed rest. Online school students have the ability to manage their time however they choose — slowing down the pace of their lifestyle, intentionally scheduling in mental health days in the midst of a busy schedule, or being kind to oneself and listening to one’s body and soul instead of the demands of a set school schedule. Online school students do not need to fear falling behind in classes if they take a day or two off. And not having a set class schedule means there is no shame in sleeping in a couple more hours.
Instead of being captive to societal pressures and the stressors of a fast-paced life, we want online school students to feel empowered to set the tone of their own life, prioritize the things that make them happy and healthy, and grow in the aspects of living that will enable to be remarkable.
Don’t be afraid to take the day off, to say no to another commitment, and to listen to yourself and give yourself what you truly need. Play hooky, go outside and explore, curl up and read a good book — rest, recharge, and live remarkably.