We have all heard phrases regarding how we need to live a balanced life, right? They are super inspiring and incite you to wanna take action.. But like the other phrase goes “it’s easier said than done”.
I cannot think of a better saying to describe my life as a full-time college student who works part time, manages a floor of 50 freshmen, and maintaining a social life. Balance is not possible. I do not know if it gets easier later in life, but with changing class deadlines every 3 months, to helping others, my “balance” goes wild.
When I get overwhelmed from all of the stuff I am taking on, I have what I like to call my mini meltdowns. They stem from lack of sleep, lack of people interaction outside of work/ school, and sometimes just appear from nowhere. What I appreciate about them though is that this slight emotional release is my bodies way of telling me that I need to breathe and try and schedule my time better.
This can be really hard to do, but I have developed some super useful ways to keep myself on track and a little less stressed out.
- Google CalendarOh baby my holy grail. Without this I could NOT FUNCTION. Before each new quarter starts, I create a highly detailed google calendar with my class schedule, work schedule, RA duties, and personal time. Yes I schedule time for myself because if I didn’t I would honestly neglect it.On top of schedule all of these things I set reminders anywhere from 10-15 minutes before each task to help keep myself accountable. Trust me it works when you forgot about class and kept snoozing your regular alarm and wake up 10 minutes before class starts and have to run to class to get the attendance grade when you actually teach yourself everything outside of class.. I mean it helps me know when to walk out of the door because I am a perfect student (lol)
- FriendshipsAlthough this may seem like a duh, my friends and those I have grown close to over the past year or so have sincerely helped me with my transition into a new place and helping me balance that personal side of things. Just some time spent with a friend, even if it is just a quick lunch or coffee date, is one of the MOST needed things.Not only are friendships important, but friendships outside of school/ work settings are needed as well because it can get unhealthy to not give your mind a break from the constant stimulation of things. (even if you are not aware of it)
- Breathing/ Stress techniquesOne of the awesome things about my jobs/ major is that we get to learn a lot about how to manage emotions of others and even our own. I am so grateful for this and I wish that these types of self care routines were mandatory rather than let’s say math (sorry no sorry general education requirements).4,7,8 breathing has changed my life. If you have not heard of this technique it is where you breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7, and exhale for 8. It can allow you to recenter yourself, become calm, and just take on hard tasks. I deal with a lot of stress and when people say just breathe, by golly just breathe.
- Lastly, seeing stress as a challenge rather than a barrier. A lot of times we tend to shut down when feeling overwhelmed which can halt anything that we may be doing and this is negative. Stress is known to cause health issues when seen as negative but when you view it as an obstacle you can overcome it can be a very positive part of life. In my Organizational Behavior course we watched a TED Talk by Kelly McGonigal called How to make stress your friend and it goes more into that topic. But to sum it up stress is only negative if you view it as that. I practice and constantly remind myself that I can get through anything I set my mind to and so can you.
I didn’t really intend this to turn into a lesson on how to “balance yourself” but these are just someways I keep myself in track and “balanced” for lack of a better term. I don’t think we should ever strive for complete balance or harmony because life is always throwing curve balls when you least expect it to. We should strive to be able to overcome and dodge those curve balls and have the proper skills within ourselves to know that everything will pass.
I can hope that after my crazy busy college life that things will slow down, but I do enjoy fast-paced living and even without the schooling aspect I have a feeling that life will just continue to throw obstacles at me. I will do all that I can to be ready for that.