by Dr. Karen Jimenez, Director of Counseling
Imagine walking a tightrope step by small step, trying to keep steady so as not to fall to the ground below. For any high school student, managing multiple demands can feel like walking that tightrope. Students are juggling classes, relationships, sports, clubs, applying to college, getting a driver’s license, applying for summer jobs and programs and spending time with family — and this is by no means an exhaustive list (and in no particular order of importance)! As students try to keep all of these proverbial balls in the air so that no one part of their life feels like it is crashing down, they are getting inundated with messages about the importance of getting enough sleep, minimizing their screen time, getting enough exercise, eating well, and, somehow doing all of this in a state of calm as if it were effortless. What would balance even look like in this scenario? Does it even exist?
Instead, balance is really a call to the self, whether it be a whisper or a rallying cry, to put one’s wellbeing on the list. Balance is about paying attention to and cultivating that which resonates with the soul.”
Balance can be elusive; it is almost impossible to strike some equality with all of the competing demands while directing the same amount of time and energy inward towards rejuvenation. It isn’t quite realistic to have equal parts work and play. Instead, balance is really a call to the self, whether it be a whisper or a rallying cry, to put one’s wellbeing on the list. Balance is about paying attention to and cultivating that which resonates with the soul.
That recipe is going to look different for each and every individual. For some, it will look like taking a couple of laps around campus to clear one’s head, or a hot shower at the end of a full day, or taking the time to connect with an old or a new friend, or getting your sweat on in the gym, or spending way too much time chatting in the grill, or taking some quiet time to listen to music, or grabbing an episode of some amazing show. What works for one may not work for another, but it is up to each and every one of us to figure out what works.
Peddie provides a whole buffet of choices and opportunities, and students partake in these and pursue their goals. Stress is a natural part of this process and can even activate or motivate one to do more, push harder, and reach a new level. This is part of striving for excellence. In the midst of this journey, we must take that moment to pause and challenge oneself to answer the question, “How can I take care of myself today?”
It is ironic, and seemingly paradoxical, that when you take that moment to slow down and prioritize the self, it allows one to refresh and begin anew, to be more productive, to think more clearly, and be in a better position to give back to others. When one is completely in work mode and out of balance, health and performance will suffer. This is not about being selfish but at the heart of self-care. In espousing the core value of balance, Peddie encourages students to get immersed in their work and various pursuits while finding joy — and making sure that they are taking some time and doing some of the things to send a message to their body and mind that they matter. This is a vital life skill.