North Texas Daily

Preserving one’s mental health should not be a competition

Preserving one’s mental health should not be a competition

Preserving one’s mental health should not be a competition
November 11
12:00 2021

Balancing work and school is something a lot of students deal with, but everyone handles it differently. Idly mentioning that a work shift kept you up late is a casual way of letting others know about your predicament. But other times, peers will try to outdo you by bringing up how they barely got any sleep because of their job. Simply put, this should not be a competition.

They may brag about how they have not slept or have not eaten a full breakfast because of how overworked they are. But getting enough sleep is more vital than people realize: college-age students need at least seven hours every night.

Bragging about not sleeping is akin to boasting about having an unhealthy diet. Skills like problem-solving, memory and alertness all become affected when someone does not get enough sleep. Although they may feel like they are being more productive, they are actually becoming less efficient. Driving while sleep-deprived can cause drivers to drive recklessly, resulting in more fatal car accidents.

Skipping breakfast is not a great habit either. Eating in the morning helps your body regain energy and face the day. When someone goes through the day on an empty stomach, they will not have the energy to pay attention in class or do their job right.

There is also a sort of pride that some might gain in boasting about how much harder they’re working than others. They might feel like they’re winning a race that no one else is aware of.

Whether it comes to school or jobs, people compete over what they go through rather than what they have accomplished, maybe because they do not see significant results from their work.

In order to feel like they have something to show for it, they will boast about how they have been losing sleep from all their hard work. This lets them bring up their work without actually talking about the results.

This competitive need to prove to others how much more they toil away can lead to a more negative atmosphere in the conversation. Competing with others to see who has it worse only serves to make everyone feel bad about themselves. Being told that one’s problems are less than someone else’s makes people feel insignificant and like their peers do not care. 

Keeping your problems bottled up is not the best course of action to take either. It helps to talk about it with others. Friends can provide support and help alleviate the negative effects of daily hardships. The same can be done by making jabs at your situations, which could help make them seem not as bad. These coping mechanisms can be beneficial towards yourself and those around you, but making it a competition is not the way to go. 

This could also fall under the umbrella of venting, where someone might express the trials they are going through after someone else states theirs. Though this is not always a bad thing, venting to someone when they are already going through a tough time can have the opposite effect. They need to find a balance between venting about their struggles but also listening and providing support to those who also need it. 

This is not just a matter of considering the feelings of one’s peers but also one’s own wellness. People should not be encouraged to put their work before their own health, nor that it is the only way to be successful. Compassion for others and oneself would benefit everyone and prevent people from feeling alone in their struggles. 

Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas

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Arelys Morales Conty

Arelys Morales Conty

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