Between school, homework, friends, and maybe even a job if you have one, life can get overwhelming at times. With school and life pulling you every which way, finding balance might seem impossible — or even irresponsible. While the compulsion to study all night long seven days a week might feel like the best decision for your success, there’s so much more to life — and learning — than grinding away with your nose in a book.
Whether you feel totally strapped with giant workloads or you fear your friendships will slip and fade if you really buckle down, too much of any one thing is bound to have you feeling totally out of touch. It’s all about finding a balance that works in your life. If you’re looking for a few ways to make the balance a bit easier, there are a few habits and philosophies you can adopt to help you along the way.
1. Set a Schedule
One of the best ways to create balance in your life is to set a schedule and actually keep track of how much time you spend on any given task or activity. That way, it’ll be much easier to pull yourself away from an impromptu six hour study session or a rowdy night out that leaves you too tired for class the next morning.
There are plenty of ways to lay out your new schedule, whether you’re starting from scratch or revamping your system. Daily planners are a great way to keep track of your tasks and appointments, and digital calendars can help you keep everything right at your fingertips. You can even try out a bullet journal, which can help you track other aspects of your life like your moods or sleep patterns.
2. Let Things Go
It can be hard to accept that it isn’t possible to do everything at once. Unfortunately, having an overloaded course schedule, a robust social life, leadership roles on campus, and a part time job is way too much for most people. Learning to say no — in all aspects of life, not just one area you choose to neglect — is imperative in creating your happiness and balance. If you have too much on your plate, you might have to quit something.
Evaluate your priorities and learn when to let things go and turn things down. Taking one less class or giving up one club won’t kill your college experience. Total mental overload on the other hand? That probably will.
3. Set Healthy Boundaries
Even when you do find yourself enthusiastically saying yes to classes, roles, and opportunities, it’s still highly important to set boundaries. From club responsibilities to friendships and even family relationships, you need to make sure that those around you respect your needs and understand the balance of your life.
Sometimes, healthy boundaries might look like saying no to a weekend hang with your friends so you can finish up some homework. Sometimes, they may look like learning to drop the books so you can spend a pleasant day with your social circle. Learn your limits and be sure to assert them directly — that way, others can learn and respect them, too.
4. Practice Self Care
Between school responsibilities and healthy socialization, you need to also carve out time for yourself. You are the core of your academic life and your social life, and therefore you need to spend some time taking care of that core. Self care can take so many different forms — setting time aside to rest, doing things you enjoy, and looking after your physical and mental health are all examples of self care. Set aside some time each week to recharge your batteries, whatever that looks like for you.
5. Nourish Your Personal Relationships
One of the ways that students quickly fall out of balance is by neglecting their important personal relationships — both family and friends. A support system is crucial for any healthy life, and taking the time to nourish those relationships isn’t irresponsible just because it takes you away from studying. Take a break from schoolwork to catch up with your friends on campus or call your parents and see how things are going at home. Lean on the people in your life a bit.
While the main struggle of striking a balance between school and life is that everything feels like the most important thing in the world, a bit of self-reflection may prove that assumption false. Take a look at everything on your plate and think a bit more about what makes you happy, what will help you down the road and what feels important to you.
When you reflect on what’s truly important to you, you’ll probably have a much easier time delegating the hours available each day. You can choose what to focus on and what matters the most. Your priorities may even change with time, and that’s totally okay. All you need to do is readjust.
You Can Strike a Balance
Trying to fit everything into your life can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. When you prioritize, learn to say no, and practice self care, your schedule may look a little different, but you might just find yourself happier, healthier and more productive than ever before.