Goodbye Stress, Hello Wellness

Portrait photo of NC State Goodnight Scholar Nadia Chapple of the class of 2024.

On February 9th, students at NC State experienced the first of four Wellness Days scheduled during the Spring 2021 semester. Goodnight Scholar and Materials Science and Engineering Major Nadia Chapple ’24 certainly took advantage of the Wellness Day by sleeping in, enjoying a picnic at Stafford Commons, and catching up with her fellow Class of 2024 Goodnight Scholars!

Normally, college students around the country look forward to our annual Spring Break. Some travel, many go for a beach week with friends, and others head home for some family time. But this year things look a little different.

In order to provide us with some pandemic-conscious time off, many universities, including NC State, have chosen to schedule “Wellness Days” throughout the semester in place of the usual week-long vacation. I can’t say students were thrilled about this idea, but it will certainly decrease the chances of a spike in cases.

True to the intention of a Wellness Day, I did not open my laptop or pick up a pencil once. After my Monday night watching The Bachelor with my roommates, I slept in. My friend and I made ourselves a fancy oatmeal breakfast and went to the gym. Later, I met up with some of the Goodnights in my cohort for a Wellness Day Lunch. We took advantage of the nice weather and had a picnic on Stafford Commons in front of Talley. It was a nice opportunity to catch up with some of the scholars I hadn’t seen since the fall. It was also a good reminder to pay attention to my mental health. 

Being a student is a full time job. We work hard and dedicate the majority of our days to learning. We want to make our loved ones (and ourselves!) proud. But oftentimes we spend too many hours at the desk and not enough time doing the things we enjoy with the people we care about.

Like many students here, I put a lot of pressure on myself and have set the bar incredibly high for all things academic. It certainly helps to keep me motivated, but sometimes these expectations are a little unreasonable. It’s been a learning curve for me, but I have figured out where to draw the line between a reasonable goal and an unreasonable one. Perhaps most importantly, I can recognize when I need to take a break and how to step back from my work.

When I asked some of the Goodnights how they relax, answers varied from watching children’s movies to reading books to dancing alone in your room. Personally, I like to play piano or go hiking with friends. Sometimes I’m satisfied with my own company, but normally I like to spend time with my friends, even if it’s just eating snacks around the dinner table.

Friends are arguably one of the most important parts of being able to unwind. It’s nice to have a solid group — or even just one person — to rely on when you need a distraction or cheering up. They are the ones that can pick up on your bad mood and pull you out of the holes you dig yourself into. It’s true that oftentimes friends know you better than you know yourself. 

The point is, everyone has their way of unwinding, and the sooner you figure out what that is, the better! It’s important to set aside some “you-time” to do something that makes you happy; some activity that makes you briefly forget about your three tests next week or the blog post you still need to write (oops).

Work hard, but make sure you take the time to look after yourself too. Stand up, take a walk, relax, then get back to work.