Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Morgan’s Mumbles: Taking Mental Breaks, by Teen Contributor Morgan Randall

Teen contributor Morgan Randall talks with us today about taking mental breaks

As this is the midpoint for a lot of colleges’ fall semester, I (like many other college students) am starting to struggle a lot with mental fatigue especially that which comes from the lack of social interactions with purely online classes. Staring at a computer, on average for eight hours a day, is taking a toll on me mentally as it makes me feel isolated. And the lack of sunlight is having an effect on my mental health. Right now would be the perfect time for a break, one where I could go outside and take time to mentally reboot. However, my college (like a lot of other ones) has opted to not have a fall break this year, and in exchange releasing us from the fall semester earlier. I understand why, with the fear of another large wave of COVID, however, going to a large college COVID cases are already high and a majority of students aren’t in person anyways. I do think it is important to try and limit contact, and if the university thinks this is the best way to do so then I pray it works. However, by doing this it doesn’t allow people time to re-cooperate after midterms or even just to have a few days to reset mentally.

I have one professor who canceled one of our classes this week as a “break” but he still assigned us work, and every other of my classes are still happening. I understand my professors have a lot to teach us in little time, however with the amount of information being crammed into my mind at this rate I will not retain any of it. Mentally I need time to breathe and process everything happening, along with having time to practice some healthy self-care. Since I am currently limited on how I can do that, due to both COVID and the lack of having a break, I am trying to come up with some ways I can still have a mental reset without missing classes and risking the safety of anyone.

Some of the ways I have come up with is to take a walk, it can be hard to get a long walk in when a majority of your classes are spread throughout the day but even taking a short walk normally helps my have some mental clarity. Journaling has also been really helpful, sometimes I journal about things that are on my mind, and other times I just find random journaling prompts and work off of those. I have been trying to explore more music recently and trying to find smaller artists to support. Music has always brought me some kind of happiness, so find something that sparks joy for you and find a way to incorporate that in your everyday life. One of my roommates paints, and I also really enjoy embroidery. Cleaning and organizing have also (oddly enough) become really soothing since I live in a very contained area, any messy area effects my mental clarity. I like to pick up throughout the day, and then whenever I am feeling real slumped I’ll push myself to deep clean something or organize another area so that in turn I will feel better mentally and my space will be cleaner.

These are things I would typically do over a break from school, during high school, so now I am just trying to find ways to incorporate these in my everyday life. That way a break isn’t the only time you get to mentally reset. If you are someone who normally gets to travel over breaks, and can’t do so now. I recommend trying to find a local campsite you can visit, so that you have no (or little) contact to other people but can still feel like you got to get away. Or if you live close to a lake, ocean, mountains, or large forested area take a day trip just to have a change of scenery and find something to do there. If you are able to, take a road trip with roommates or family, pick a location and make it a fun trip. By limiting your space to your car (and as few stops as possible) you can limit spread but also still make a day or a few interesting.            

I hope that this gave you some ideas of things to do if you aren’t going to get a break anytime soon, and I hope it will help you mentally reset.

Morgan RandallTeen Contributor

Morgan recently graduated high school and is currently enrolled to attend college in the fall getting her BA in Theatre and Dance with an emphasis on Design and Technology. She loves theatre, writing, reading, and learning. But something that has always been important to her is being a voice for those who feel like they don’t have one, and being a catalyst for change in any way possible.