It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

You’re finished with another long day of school, and you jump on your leather couch right away after you slam your fifteen pound backpack on the ground. But you fight the urge to take a nap, knowing you have hours of calculus and stats homework to do. You sit right back up because you know you can’t rest for a minute because that would be “unproductive.” So you fight to be strong, to sit up and hide the bags under your eyes and the way your eyes twitch every so often. Because everyone else is doing the same thing right? Hiding the pain to seem strong; everything’s really okay, because everyone else is doing the same thing as you anyway. 

Zoom Exhaustion is Real. Here Are Six Ways to Find Balance and Stay  Connected - Mindful
(Credit: nadia_snopek/ADOBE STOCK)

So many are promoting the phrase “it’s okay to not be okay,” but what does that really mean to individuals in our society today? Teenagers in today’s society, or “Generation Z,” often find themselves overwhelmed with the ten college level classes, fifty extracurriculars they are putting under their shoulders. Generation Z, or Gen Z for short, often just collectively puts their head down and sleepwalks through the pain, trying to put too much on their plate. However, overworking leads to harmful consequences, including health issues in the immediate future. 

Focusing on the phrase, only when we are struggling with aspects in our young lives do we learn, grow emotionally, and figure out ourselves. The fact is, we have to experience not being okay to put together a growth mindset for the future. 

Likewise, high expectations are placed upon Gen Z’s shoulders; some say that Gen Z will be “the generation that will lead revolutions and ultimately change the world.” These generalizations, although empowering, are exactly what hurts us. Being a double-edged sword, it shows the mindset that all of Gen Z has to live up to these lofty and vague expectations in order to be worthy. 

Collectively, we have to realize that we have our good and bad days; we cannot accomplish a week’s load of work in a day, every single day of the week, and it’s okay to take rests when you’re not feeling up to working. It’s okay to not finish all of your endless to-do list today, or even tomorrow for that matter. Pushing past your obvious limits will have negative drawbacks, leading to long-term consequences that are detrimental to our physical and mental health. 

Larry Shi

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