People always discuss the importance of a work-life balance, but it’s just as important to pursue that balance as a student.
Exercising self care as a student can be a challenge — between studying, work, extracurricular activities and maintaining some semblance of a social life, it’s easy to let your own health fall to the wayside. As an undergraduate student, I often chose to sacrifice sleep for studying, and overloaded my schedule to the breaking point. It wasn’t until after I graduated that I really figured out how to prioritize my own health when I was busy.
Now, as a law student, I’ve identified several strategies to ensure that self-care activities fit into my schedule!
1. Be honest with yourself at the beginning of the semester.
There’s nothing wrong with turning an opportunity down to ensure that there’s enough time in your schedule to take care of yourself! I myself elected not to complete an internship this semester because I knew that I wanted to focus on keeping myself healthy, and on my studies. By prioritizing early, you can eliminate a lot of stress later on.
2. If you know you want to focus on maintaining your relationships, set up gym dates with close friends!
This is a great way of getting your sweat sessions in without having to sacrifice your social life. I also like to use my commute to call people on the phone, and about once a month I’ll check in with the people who are most important to me!
3. Schedule “me-time” into your calendar.
Too often, while we commit to our appointments with others, we let the things that we promise ourselves fall to the wayside. I can’t count the number of times I’ve told myself I would take a break at a certain time, then worked right through that because “I was on a roll.” Schedule breaks, and take them — you deserve it!
4. Identify the activities that bring you joy and pursue them.
It’s so easy to let pleasure activities fall to the wayside, but they’re incredibly important for your health! It’s so much easier to be happy and healthy when you’re keeping your perspective and doing things you enjoy. I always make sure that I’m reading fiction, doing yoga and cooking regularly because these are things I enjoy doing that help relax me. Find the activities that lighten your life, and make the time for them.
5. Forgive yourself for the small mistakes.
Look, the semester is long, and you’re probably going to slip up; you’ll wake up exhausted, miss a week of workouts or get to the end of the semester and realize you never saw a person you really wanted to meet up with. Maybe, like me, you’ll finish all your exams, emerge from a haze and realize that you don’t know what life means outside of contracts. That’s okay! The reason we do all of these things to stay sane is because we want to remember our humanity amidst the sea of stress and dysfunction that is school. So when you make a mistake, accept that it’s simply a sign that you’re human, and figure out how you can avoid the same mistake in the future!
The semester can be long and hard, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Finding the appropriate balance between your life as a student and your life as a human can be difficult, but it’s well worth the initial efforts.
Have a happy semester! —Anagha