I love my school. I’m so grateful to be blessed with the opportunity to get an education, and such a high level of one.
There is one thing that my school has continuously bothered me by, though. And it’s not just my school that does it.
The other day, we had a presentation informing us about the ‘Healthy Mind Platter’. This is a way of living, created by Dr. Siegel. It calls for a balance between sleep time, physical time, focus time, time in, downtime, playtime and connecting time. Our teachers were advocating for ‘The Healthy Mind Platter’, wanting all of us to attempt to adapt to this method of living.
Well, I believe that as a high school student this is nearly impossible. Let’s look at each of the categories and how they apply to my life.
Physical Time. I play on a high level soccer team, which calls for soccer at least four times a week. This excludes the at-home training I must complete. I’d say I’m active for at least an hour each day.
Focus Time. I spend 7.5 hours each day listening to teachers, completing assignments, and giving everything I have to my academics. Then I go home, and complete the homework they assign each night. Usually it comes to 2 hours each day. That’s 9.5 hours of focusing each day, and none of it is my personal focus such as playing guitar or writing blog posts.
Time-in. Hah. What a lovely fantasy.
Downtime. Well, does driving to and from school and soccer count as down time? That’s about as close as it gets.
Playtime. Soccer? I guess? There’s the occasional family game night when I’m not buried alive in homework.
Connecting Time. I am a person in need of connection. I make sure to get my fair sure of socializing, whether it’s making dinner with my parents, doing homework with friends, or eating lunch with others.
Sleep. For someone as busy as me, I get a lot of sleep. If I don’t, I will not be able to function. On school nights I go to bed at 9:30 and wake up at 7:00. I have never been one of those kids to stay up all night studying, thank goodness.
If I were to rank the amount of time and energy that I put into each of these categories, it’d go Focus Time (by a land slide), Physical Time, Connecting Time, Sleep, Playtime, Downtime, Time-In.
It almost made me laugh that my teachers were advising that we should balance every aspect of ‘The Healthy Mind Platter’.
How am I expected to get good grades, complete all my school work, be a part of school sports teams, play on a high level soccer team, be in clubs and councils, socialize regularly, practice mindfulness, eat healthy, and meanwhile have enough time to get 9-12 hours of sleep?
Teachers are asking too much of us. We can’t do everything and still be sane. I understand that there needs to be a balance, but a perfect balance is just not going to happen.
I can’t be a part of everything. I can’t be good at everything.
We’ve had presentations on meditation and self care, contributing to the community, eating healthy, getting jobs, what makes a healthy, balanced mind. But when will we have a presentation about the reality of a high school student?
There just simply aren’t enough hours in the day to successfully adhere to ‘The Healthy Mind Platter’. I wish I could have downtime and time-in. In my perfect world I’d be meditating once a day. But that just can’t happen with the amount of effort they expect from us in school and in our community.
Instead of ‘The Healthy Mind Platter’, we should follow ‘The Slightly Stressed, But Relatively Sane Mind Platter’, specifically for high school and university students. It’s 50% focus time, 20% sleep time, 15% connecting time, 10% physical time, 5% downtime/be stressed time. This is how my life is, and certainly for other students.
A perfectly balanced life is a fantasy world that I one day hope to visit. But as a student, it is important to prioritize what needs to happen.