Mental breaks positively affect student well-being

Adrianna Adame, Assistant Opinion Editor

It’s no secret that college can become overwhelmingly stressful.


At this point of the semester, students are overloaded with regular coursework, projects and papers. Many students have completed their midterms by now, after several nights of cramming in extra studying. Getting through college is already stressful for students in general but with the addition of work, extracurricular activities, maintaining friendships and family, it can be a struggle.


It is important to take mental breaks, especially as a student, since it can do more harm than good if you keep on pushing yourself past your limit. After a certain point, you stop being productive when you hit a certain level of stress.


According to Touro University Worldwide, “when chronic stress is experienced, the body makes more cortisol than it has a chance to release… High levels of cortisol can wear down the brain’s ability to function properly.”


If students aren’t careful about managing their stress levels, they could burn out and face other negative consequences, both mentally and physically.


According to the Mayo Clinic, the physical consequences on the body were listed as headaches, fatigue and sleep issues. The Mayo Clinic also listed mental consequences, such as anxiety, lack of motivation, irritability and depression. Stress not only causes physical and mental consequences, but also affect behavior, which could lead to emotional breakdowns, change in eating behavior, substance abuse and social isolation.


Mental breaks are important because they prevent students from burning out and are vital to their overall well-being. Students need to take some time out of their day to relax, whether that be in the form of listening to music, taking a nap, hanging out with friends or chilling at a peaceful location.


At CSUSM, we have The Serenity Lounge on the third floor of the USU. The Serenity Lounge is a safe and quiet space for students, staff and faculty to relax and unwind from stress. According to the sign on the door of The Serenity Lounge, “all sound is prohibited inside” and that “silence and mutual respect are expected at all times.” All electronic devices, such as phones are prohibited from the space. The Serenity Lounge seems like a great place for those who need a quiet space to take a quick break during the school day.


Also, the HOPE and Wellness Center is a resource on campus that provides resources for addressing stress management. Such sources provided are through counseling and workshops at the Student Health and Counseling Center.


Dr. Cheryl Berry, a mental health educator at the Student Health and Counseling Services, said that “mindfulness has been proven to be able to help people in physical and mental conditions to manage their stress.” Berry also mentioned that the Student Health and Counseling Center offer Mindful Mondays, a program that offers a potential solution to stress by focusing on mindfulness and self-care.


With spring break on the way, students will have time to loosen up a bit after the last few weeks of midterms and heavy workload. Of course, some professors may assign work to do over the break but overall students will have some time to take a break from the stress of school. This will be a great time for students to take it easy and focus on themselves.


The next time that you feel like you feel overloaded with schoolwork and other commitments, make sure to take some time to take care of yourself. Mental breaks are essential to not only our well-being but also contribute to how productive we are in all areas of our lives.