Opinion: Inserting ‘mental breaks’ into our lives is more important now than ever

Mental breaks are necessary in such unprecedented times, especially for students moving back home for quarantine.


Hannah Pinski, Opinions Columnist

We are now heading toward the third month of social distancing and what seems to be the “new normal.” The hustling cities and streets are still ghost towns and more events for the summer of 2020 are getting canceled.

However, one thing that is most affected during this quarantine is mental health. I don’t know about you, but transitioning from being independent in Iowa City for the past year to moving back in with my family is more difficult than I thought it would be.

It’s important to keep in mind that everyone needs some “mental space.” While we all love our family, being around them constantly as well as the only people we see now becomes a little overwhelming. Parents are adjusting to working from home, students are still managing to find motivation for online school, and siblings are finding it harder not to pick a fight with each other everyday.

Not to mention our lifestyles have changed dramatically. It seems like the ability to go out with our friends existed so long ago, and being able to shop at a retail store has now turned into a luxury we wish we all had. The scary part of this change is that we now all fear having to go to the doctor or hospital or inability to see family in nursing homes even if they become sick.

In addition, the amount of stress present in our lives has increased now more than ever. College students continue to worry more each day if they are going to return to school in the fall, laid off employees struggle to pay for their bills each month, and parents are wondering how much longer they are going to have to be teaching their children the unit circle.

It’s no wonder we find ourselves struggling with our mental health. With the added stress, lifestyle changes, and uncertainty about the future, it’s easy to compromise mental health to adjust to this new way of life. However, it’s important to remember that sometimes putting down the school work or responsibilities and getting away from your family and roommates can help an exasperating situation tremendously.

Many of us can find ourselves getting frustrated over every little thing whether it’s the internet crashing from everyone using it or when the store ran out of your favorite cereal for the third week in a row. It also doesn’t help when your parents then bug you about helping set up Zoom again for their weekly conference call after teaching them for the past six calls.

Whether it’s going for a walk, driving around the neighborhood, or even just closing your eyes and popping your earbuds in, taking time for just yourself to just regroup is important during these times. Many of my friends feel as though they are lashing out at their loved ones because there’s no one else around to vent to. Taking the time to take a mental break allows us to clear our minds and destress from the world we now live in.