Value your time off this summer

The bell rings. Papers fly up in the air. The chatter of students fill the hallways as they filter out the doors and into the summer sun. After shedding blood, sweat and tears, summer break has finally begun.

With only a couple weeks of school left to spare, students are ready to spend the 10 to 12 week long break idling and unwinding. But with that much time off, it’s best to remember to take the opportunity to learn new skills and be active to make the most of the summer while taking the time to recharge.

With an abundance of time on our hands in the summer, staying at home all day may have a lasting impact on our mental health. According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences, “Larger declines in physical activity are associated with significantly higher rates of depression.” With so much time off of school, mindlessly sitting in bed all day won’t make things much better. While it’s important to take a break and rest, students should continue to venture outside of the house. Not only will this help in terms of productivity, but for mental health, too.

Burnouts are inevitable, but managing and working to avoid them can do well for productivity. A study by the American Psychological Association describes how “As in 2020, American workers across the board saw heightened rates of burnout in 2021.” Between factors such as COVID-19 and the first year fully back to school, it’s no wonder the increase of burnouts was so high. By taking breaks and prioritizing tasks, it’s one step closer to being ready for the next school year.

Some may argue that breaks are meant for total relaxation and thus mental health can be impacted by not being able to relax. However, with so much time off, being inactive all day may also have negative effects on mental health and productivity. Based on a study by the National Library of Medicine, “14 to 17-year-olds spending seven plus hours per day with screens were more than twice as likely to ever have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety.” While you shouldn’t overwhelm yourself with things in the summer, it’s safe to say that students should continue to find other hobbies rather than spending more time on the screen.

At the end of the day, a break is meant for taking time off and rewarding ourselves for all the hard work we’ve accomplished. There’s a balance in this madness, so whether by volunteering, getting a new job or even taking a break from technology, let us enter the summer with that characteristic Irvine High School spirit.