Choosing wellbeing over work

Editor discusses how the pandemic has altered workplace culture


In the time prior to COVID-19, it was not uncommon for students to muddle through their school days, clearly sick but attempting to maintain their composure in order to not fall behind in their classes. Brutal Michigan winters, coupled with increasingly severe flu seasons, would cause coughs and sneezes to become integrated within the cacophony of noise during passing periods. The same concept can be applied to students’ mental and emotional wellbeing, too. Under immense amounts of pressure to succeed in numerous facets of life, teens are crumbling under the expectations set by the community around us.

   Consequently, the pandemic has permanently transformed the fabric of our society’s workplace standards. A swift transition to virtual learning, mask-wearing, and caution surrounding staying at home when sick placed a new emphasis on prioritizing personal health in the name of public safety. The rise of platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet has made it easier than ever to work from home when necessary in order to protect the health of a greater community; this same distinction must be made when it comes to our mental health. 

   Attempting to suffer through our days while struggling – both physically and emotionally – only further harms our capacity to learn and grow. How can we expect ourselves to thrive when we can barely even survive? One of the very few silver linings of the pandemic is that it has quite literally forced us to take a step back and reconsider our priorities in life: our health, safety, and relationships with others.

   As the state transitions back into a more ‘’normal’’ school environment this year and students inevitably begin to slip towards burnout, let’s not fall back into our old habits of ‘’sucking it up’’ and attending school even though we desperately need to rest and recover. Taking time for ourselves is productive. Although an extra nap or day off may set you back temporarily, in the long run, it will do you much more good than harm. It’s time to normalize choosing wellness over work- academically, professionally, and socially. Although the pandemic may have been a setback in almost every aspect of life, it has become a wake-up call for society; it is time for us to move forward and not only recognize our own wellbeing, but actively choose it over work, each and every day.