College is characterized by quick-paced work and numerous assignments — and sometimes it’s all you can do to catch up with your workload. With so much school work on your plate, you might forget how to make time for yourself.
If you’re like many college students, you probably put nights out on hold because you have an exam the next morning. You may want to see your friends more, but feel like you have no free time to hang out. Keeping up with your classes is crucial — but you also need to prioritize your mental health.
If you’re struggling with finding a healthy school-life balance, you don’t have to figure it all out on your own. Here are five ways to feel balanced and find stability in college:
1. Create a Plan
Life flourishes when you have a solid idea of where you are — and this also applies to college. Your class schedule sets daily times for attendance, and you should implement this structure within other areas of your life, too. After leaving class for the day, you may not know what task to tackle first or where you should go next. Try creating time blocks for both necessary tasks and leisure activities.
Sometimes, students are so busy that they even have to schedule their meals or appropriate times to take naps. You might think this means you’re failing at time management, but careful planning will actually benefit you in the long run. Structuring your life prevents you from neglecting necessary needs, like getting adequate nutrition. Minding your body’s demands and your college deadlines goes hand-in-hand with self-care.
2. Practice Self-Care
Self-care doesn’t exclusively mean indulging in guilty pleasures — it means listening to your body and what it needs. Although eight hours of sleep a night isn’t always possible, try to get a reasonable amount of sleep. Eat full meals regularly, and choose healthy foods to energize you. Reach out to your professors for guidance when your workload piles up, and don’t be afraid to ask for an occasional extension when life gets in the way. You never know what’s available if you don’t ask!
When the work of a challenging assignment or lengthy paper is over, reward yourself. Take a long shower, watch a movie or try a new restaurant. Whatever you choose, make sure to incorporate relaxation after working hard — you deserve it.
3. Establish Support Systems
People thrive in the presence of love and care, so talk to your friends and family when you feel lonely or overwhelmed. Your loved ones are there to support you, so surround yourself with caring, positive people when you need them.
If you feel like you’re missing a support system, try getting involved with clubs and organizations on campus. You can meet new people in places like the library or the cafeteria, and your classmates can also be some of your closest companions. Find new ways to make human connections — because no one should have to handle life alone.
4. Know Your Abilities
Perfectionism plagues many people. You don’t have to complete a task perfectly — no matter how many times you’ve done it. Focus on doing your best, but don’t strive for the impossible — and don’t get caught up in others’ expectations. Self-awareness matters most. You know yourself better than anyone, and you can realize when you push yourself too hard.
Try writing positive words of affirmation and posting them somewhere visible — daily encouragement can improve your state of mind.
5. Avoid Procrastination
Follow your schedule closely to avoid putting off work until the last minute. Rushed work won’t ever be your best, and you can miss assignment requirements when you don’t take your time. Extensions are okay sometimes, but you should never ask for them because you failed to manage your time effectively. Work ahead often and keep a record of assignment due dates so you’ll know when to get started on new projects.
Take Your Time
If you aren’t accustomed to college life yet, don’t despair — adjustment is a different process for every student. Stress is normal, too, but you can manage it by making sure you’re on schedule and making more time for yourself.
Take the time you need to get in the swing of your new school life — soon, you’ll be a pro.