WORK LIFE BALANCE TIPS FOR BUSY STUDENTS: HOW TO ACHIEVE THE PERFECT BLEND OF BUSINESS AND PLEASURE
Is your work life balance getting you down? You may not even realize it, but sacrificing your personal life for school and work 24/7 isn’t actually doing you any favours.
It’s very common for college and university students to fall into the trap of not achieving a healthy work life balance and overworking themselves to the point of burnout. However, even if you think you don’t have the time to manage all of these things, you’d be surprised to see that you absolutely can if you take the right steps.
We’re here to help you make sure your life is well balanced, and most importantly, successful. This guide will help you learn why a good work and life balance is so important, and how you can achieve it – no matter how time consuming and demanding your school schedule is right now.
WHAT IS A WORK LIFE BALANCE?
The philosophical concept of work life balance was introduced by 20th century psychologist and engineerLillian Moller Gilbreth in the early 1900s. Gilbreth, who was the inspiration for the 1950 film Cheaper by the Dozen, was the matriarch of a family of 12 children as well as one of the first female engineers to receive a PhD. So, if anyone knows a thing or two about balancing work success and a good personal life, it’s the woman who invented it and perfected it.
Everyone needs a personal life and a work life. If you don’t have a healthy work life balance, you can easily begin to suffer physically, emotionally, and mentally. Constantly putting work or school ahead of your relationships, physical and mental health, or personal care can actually lead to a decline in academic performance because all of these elements are important for keeping you at peak levels of function.
The ideal balance of work and life should include enough time for all of the following areas:
● Work, including school time, study time, and your job if you have one
● Exercise or physical activity
OVERCOMING THE GUILT FACTOR OF OVERWORK CULTURE
In today’s society, we’re conditioned to believe that working ourselves to the bone will lead to achievement, success, and even wealth. Putting in long hours at work makes you come across as a hard worker, and we are constantly bombarded with messages telling us to “hustle” or “hit the grind.”
The longer your work week gets, the more exhausted you’re going to be. Think about those typical movie or television tropes about the workaholic who never makes time for his or her family because they’re always working around the clock with no time to enjoy their life. Sure, being a workaholic might make you wealthy, but is it worth it if you’re sacrificing everything else that matters to you?
Overwork culture is a toxic aspect of society that often leads to a burden on the health care system, damaged personal and family relationships, and decreased mental health. These are just a few of the consequences no one seems to talk about when they celebrate those who work overtime and participate in “hustle” culture. In fact, overwork culture has become so prominent that people tend to feel overwhelmed with guilt when they do things that should be considered normal in a healthy and balanced life – like clocking out on time when your shift is over.
As you learn to balance your life, remember this – exhaustion is not a trophy. Hard work does pay off, but it should never be at the expense of your wellbeing.
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STUDENT BURNOUT IS REAL… AND DANGEROUS
When you don’t achieve the ideal balance between your school, work and life, you’re putting yourself at risk for burnout.
Most students undergo stress. This is a very normal and expected aspect of being in a college or university program. However, student burnout is different from your regular stress levels. Burnout occurs when that stress begins to completely overwhelm you and interrupt your ability to function effectively, and it typically lasts for a long period of time.
It can also be detrimental to your success in all of the areas of your life, from your academic performance to your personal happiness and relationships. Here are just a few of the negative effects and consequences that can come with student burnout and completely derail your life:
● Frequent panic attacks
● Major depression
● Loss of motivation
● Low self-esteem
● Severe anxiety
● Substance abuse
● Suicidal thoughts
● Binge eating
● Physical symptoms such as rashes, stomach pains, and chest pain
● Headaches and migraines
● Personality changes, specifically irritability and mood swings
● Interrupted sleep patterns
● Relationship problems
Maintaining a healthy work and life balance is an essential way to prevent yourself from reaching the point of burnout and managing those stress levels in a healthy, productive way.
A GOOD WORK LIFE BALANCE LEADS TO MORE PRODUCTIVITY
This sounds like a complete contradiction, but giving yourself a better balance between your work, school, and personal life and making time to prioritize non-work activities can actually have a better impact on your productivity.
But how does my work productivity increase if I’m taking more time for myself and my social life instead of spending all of that time working? This is a fair question that many students have when it comes to searching for that balance and understanding why it’s important.
If your body is constantly under stress and feeling burnt out, it’s hard to muster up the energy to complete any work to the level of quality you need it to be. The same goes for your mental health. When you let your mental health and wellbeing suffer, you’ll soon find that your productivity levels suffer as a result. Essentially, the minute your quality of life starts to suffer, everything else will suffer, too – and personal fulfillment, socialization, physical activity, and self-care are all key aspects of a good quality of life.
Further, when you start to revolve your life entirely around your work and school, your personal relationships will begin to suffer. Those personal relationships are your source of help, support and relief when the stress starts to overwhelm you, and not having that support leads to that dreaded burnout we mentioned above.