Wellness days are just another day for homework

Although well-intended, we should be creating an intentional rhythm of sabbath for ourselves.

Addison Freiheit, Staff Writer

When I imagine a restful day, I imagine waking up without a hundred “to-dos” running through my mind. I imagine hanging out with friends and reading a book that has nothing to do with the required reading stated on the syllabus. Maybe I would go to the beach or go on a hike. Either way, homework would be far from my mind.

Although Biola had good intentions when providing sporadic “Wellness Days” throughout the semester, my wellness days hardly look like the leisurely day I previously described. 

EXPECTATIONS VERSUS REALITY

I will admit that my schedule is a rarity among my friends. Despite taking 18 credits, I have no more than two Zoom classes a day. Being a part of the Torrey Honors College, in addition to online classes and a variety of remote jobs, frees me up to do work at my own pace. Please do not think that this makes me any less busy than the next student with 18 units and a job. It only makes me more flexible.

I say this because, while I genuinely appreciate the short reprieve from Zoom classes, I can hardly describe it as a break. As I look ahead to the next consecutive wellness day, I am mentally preparing to spend it on large projects due later this week, reading the required texts, studying for exams and working. Essentially, it is just another day of work.

NO SPRING BREAK DOES NOT EQUATE TO NO TRAVEL

Biola decided not to have a spring break this semester in order to prevent students from traveling and increasing the risk of spreading the virus. I understand their rationale. By taking away our spring break, there likely will not be any grand trips to Mexico or wild getaways to Florida. 

It is naive, however, to believe that those trips are not happening at all. Zoom university has enabled travel to be easier because now classes can be taken with us. My parents already had made plans to go on a ski trip during spring break and considered flying me out to join them because half a day of skiing between online classes was certainly doable. 

REST OR PROCRASTINATION?

The truth is, I could decide to spend these wellness days resting. I could choose to block out these days for the beach and pretend that my list of to-dos is not growing, but using these wellness days in the way Biola intended feels more like irresponsible procrastination than rest. Putting off work today will lead to stress tomorrow. These wellness days are for our mental health, after all, and procrastination does not seem like the answer to taking away spring break.

A RHYTHM OF REST

There is value to spreading out rest days. Too often we enter spring break burned out from our workload. We run between work, classes, friends and clubs, all while counting the days until spring break’s sweet reprieve from stress. This is not sustainable and moving through life while exhausted takes away joy from the mundane. 

I started purposefully implementing a sabbath day a few years ago so that I could be intentional about resting every week. Knowing that I have one day a week where I cannot do any work has forced me to use my time well. It is a rhythm that encourages me to slow down and reconnect with myself. 

Maybe these wellness days can act similarly. Instead of praying our way to spring break, maybe we can take the wellness day—or even an afternoon—to slow down. I see the potential wellness days have to promote rest among students and faculty alike. I just hope that this is the only year we exchange spring break for wellness days. 

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