5 Strategies to Help with School/Life Balance

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By UB clinical intern Taejah Vemuri

Imagine this: today is the start of another busy school week. You have a paper and three tests to complete by Friday. You wonder how you will accomplish all of your assignments on time and also clean your apartment, see your friends, and participate in activities that you enjoy. You feel overwhelmed by your tasks, you dread the coming week, and you are unsure how to begin.

If you are a student, you have likely experienced this scenario. As a student myself, I have certainly felt overwhelmed by assignments, have stayed up until the early morning hours studying, and have struggled to achieve balance between schoolwork, social relationships, and self care.

Students often feel as though they need to “do it all”. To elaborate, student life includes pressures to perform well academically and develop friendships in challenging environments that do not seem to allow enough time to accomplish one’s work and stay emotionally healthy. While these challenges are real and substantial, there are ways to overcome them and enjoy the peaks and valleys of student life. Through my ten combined years of undergraduate and graduate education, I have developed five strategies to thrive in school and simultaneously achieve balance between one’s life and academic work.

Get Enough Sleep

When a student is overwhelmed by numerous assignments due in a limited amount of time, sleep frequently becomes the lowest priority. In my experience, this is the biggest mistake that a student can make. A lack of sleep makes our brains and bodies work more slowly, and it becomes more difficult to tackle schoolwork and fully experience our lives. You owe it to yourself, mind, body & soul, to get enough sleep. Prioritize sleep because you believe that you deserve to be fully present in all parts of your life.

Create a To-Do List

Writing out a to-do list establishes an organized framework to guide your work and your life. Make sure your to-do list includes tasks that are broken down into manageable pieces and set reasonable deadlines to complete each item. Also, make sure that your to-do list does not only include schoolwork! Schedule in time with friends and loved ones, hobbies that you enjoy, and essential life tasks such as grocery shopping and cleaning. Once you have created your to-do list, do not ruminate. Instead, get started! Stay mindful by focusing on one task at a time, instead of thinking about what you need to complete tomorrow or next week.

Prioritize Nutrition and Exercise

As students, we are often so busy with schoolwork that we do not take the time to nourish our bodies with wholesome food and engage in physical activity. Remember that this is the body you will have for the rest of your life; it deserves your loving care and attention. Instead of viewing nutritious eating and exercise as tedious activities or punishments, try to think of them as important components of self-care. You deserve to eat nutritious food and engage in exercise that will make your body and mind stronger.

Keep Perfectionism at Bay

Personally, I have battled with the desire to be perfect in numerous domains of life including school, relationships, and healthy living. Through my life and education, I have learned that perfectionism does not serve any of us. Free yourself from the shackles of perfectionism because it will not help you achieve any of your goals. Instead, it will hold you back. Strive for personal growth in the classroom and in the world, but accept yourself, and value your positive traits and hard work.

Ask for Help

Student life can feel lonely but I encourage you to avoid getting stuck in a bubble of isolation. Instead, reach out to others and ask for help when you need it. This can include leaning on and confiding in friends and family. During times of hardship, such as when school is particularly difficult or you are facing personal struggles, an important way to seek help is to consider therapy. A therapist or counselor can provide a healthy outlet for you to discuss your feelings and experiences, create goals, and develop strategies to achieve them.

Urban Balance offers insurance-friendly counseling services, and can also provide therapy at sliding-scale rates. If you are interested in learning more about therapy or making an appointment, please give us a call at (888) 726-7170 or email us at intake@urbanbalance.com.

Student life includes many challenges and rewards. While your time in school can feel overwhelming, you have the power to create a school/life balance that promotes personal growth and allows you to enjoy your time as a student.