Tips for Finding Balance in College
~Excerpts taken from 8 Tips for Finding Balancing in College by Sharon M. Weinstein
Learning to create a good work/life balance is critical to your success and survival. Work/life balance includes everything, from academics, social activities, clubs, family, hobbies, eating, and sleeping. How can you do it all without burning out? Start with these tips to find life balance in college:
- Develop healthy lifestyle habits. Eat and try to make it healthy! Sugar highs and lows can negatively impact your ability to cope with stress. Avoid empty calories from junk food and eat fruits and veggies to get you through energy slumps. Exercising regularly keeps the body tuned up, restores energy, and helps promote better memory, reasoning, and concentration.
- Let it go. The movie Frozen has a winning theme song: “Let it Go.” In fact, The ability to "let it go" helps students to thrive. It's easier said than done. Think about what must be done now and what you can let go and defer for another day/time/semester. Relax, and let it go!
- Know when it is time to make a choice. At some point in time, you will feel overwhelmed. Being willing to make a change is a good thing. So, look at where and how you spend your time. Are you involved in too many extracurricular activities or organizations? Would this be a good time to drop a leadership role, cut back on social activities, and even drop a class, if needed? To do so is not a sign of failure, but rather the first step toward achieving the balancing act that you need to get you through the experience.
- Ask for help. One of the great things about college is that you have access to all sorts of help; you can turn to professors, advisors, counseling centers, and more for help when you need it. The important thing is to be able to recognize when you need it and not be afraid to ask for it.
Being Good to Yourself & Building Your Vitality
Remember that an important part of living a fulfilling life is to be good and kind to yourself. By doing this, you can not only feel better but you can also be more present and supportive for others. Below you will find a list of strategies to help increase your daily energy and vitality.
- Appreciate your strengths. People face challenges each day, yet they continue to move forward through their days showing great capacity for resilience. Check in at the end of each day and just take a moment to reflect on the strength and resilience you show each day. Doing so will help boost your confidence, build a healthier sense of self, and make tackling obstacles that come your way just a little more manageable.
- Surround yourself with the people who are supportive of your needs. Family and friends can influence how you feel about yourself and how you manage what comes your way in life. Supportive relationships make you feel that your perspective and your feelings matter and they are interested in supporting what is most important to you; they are also there to help you manage the challenges that come your way and also make it possible for you to pursue those things that are interesting to you; and they show you that they care for you just the way you are. Make time in your week for those people who lift you up. That can be as simple as scheduling a phone call, texting, or video chatting. Start to plan more extended visits with those who are important to you.
- Find what is enjoyable, interesting, and meaningful to you and make time to do these things. Making time for the activities in your life that are important to you not only creates positive experiences but these bright spots in your life help when other things get more difficult. Remember to be creative! You might want to travel or learn a new craft (e.g., how to garden, how to fix an engine) but you may not have the resources to do everything all at once. Start small---take a class, find out more about your interest by reading a book, magazine, or internet sites on the subject, join a club or meet-up of those who share your common interest.
- Make positive lifestyle changes. Simply put, being physically healthy helps us to have more energy to do the things we want to do and manage the challenges that come our way. Create new manageable eating and physical activity goals (e.g., walking; adding more fruits & veggies), improve your health through social activities with others (e.g., dancing, riding bikes with others), and find resources to reduce harmful habits such as smoking (e.g., www.smokefree.gov or UCSB's resources for smoking cessation).