Feeling overwhelmed? Thankfully there are ways to achieve a healthier work-life balance. 5. Get used to saying no One way that people become overwhelmed with commitments is through an inability to say no, Inside Higher Ed observed. Many individuals don't want to upset friends or colleagues, so will simply agree to a new project or commitment without considering the fact they don't really have the time. Recognizing that it's okay to say no to something on occasion will help you to avoid over-stretching yourself.6. Seek help when necessary If you ever feel overwhelmed, anxious or depressed for an extensive period of time, it is perhaps a good idea to seek professional help. Most universities will offer free or low-cost counseling services, the University of Wisconsin-Madison noted. Speaking with a professional about your feelings and concerns can be enormously beneficial and a great strategy for improving mental health. "Most universities will offer free or low-cost counseling services."
Studying for an advanced degree can be both a rewarding and stressful experience. Indeed, while many will enjoy learning, the prospect of countless papers, endless chapters to read and looming deadlines can leave even the most dedicated student feeling overwhelmed.
While feeling stressed from time to time is perhaps an unavoidable consequence of higher study, there are steps that can be taken to ensure that you don't let your schoolwork take over other areas of your life. It's important to strike a balance between your university commitments and other pursuits, whether it's a job, socializing with friends and family, a hobby and so on. Students that are able to establish a successful work-life balance will find themselves less stressed and anxious and will be more likely to succeed as a result.
Are you feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to start? Review the list of helpful tips below:
1. Give yourself plenty of time to complete work
One of the best ways to avoid the stresses of school work is to give yourself plenty of time to complete each assignment, the University of Southern California advised. While this is certainly easier said than done — sometimes life can get in the way — a good habit to develop is to make a note in your diary of each deadline you have coming up and then pencil in study and writing time. With a solid plan and calendar in place you'll be more able to organize your time and fit in other commitments.
2. Make time for yourself
One key to a good work-life balance and overall mental wellness is to pencil in some alone time for yourself. Whether it's doing something you like, such as watching a movie, reading a good book or going for a run or simply catching up on much needed sleep, some time away from a packed calendar is essential to help you relax and recharge your batteries, USC asserted.
3. Make connections
One great way to navigate the trials and tribulations of graduate school life is to connect with other students in your position, the University of Wisconsin-Madison stated. Whether it's by checking out an extracurricular club or meet-up group or making social plans with peers in your class, new friendships with individuals that share your values and goals is a great way to alleviate stress and strike a happy balance between work and play. In other words, although it may be tempting to hole up in your room and dedicate all your time to your studies, finding the time to socialize can actually be beneficial in the long run.
4. Eliminate unnecessary commitments
Some people may have multiple commitments at any one time — a job, school, several social clubs, volunteer work — the list goes on. One effective way to strike a more fulfilling work-life balance is to drop some of the commitments that you like the least, the University of Wisconsin-Madison advised. Such a move necessitates that you sit down and take a long look at your calendar and ask whether or not each commitment is actually necessary — both in terms of your personal development and happiness. For example, if you've been participating in your local baseball league or an a cappella for some time, and now only show up out of loyalty and habit, it may be a good idea to consider moving on.
7. Reduce time with electronics
It's amazing how much time can be eaten away by simply surfing the internet or checking apps on your phone. Social media websites, streaming platforms, emails, texts — the list goes on — all of these things can take away valuable study time, leaving us wondering how and why there aren't enough hours in the day. A great way to ensure that you have more time is to pencil in electronics breaks when possible. Turn off your phone, turn off the internet on your computer or block addictive websites — do anything you can to curtail the time you needlessly spend online. Of course, there's nothing wrong with using social media or checking emails, the key is to do so in moderation.
8. Take care of your health
Be sure to look after your health — exercise and clean eating should take priority over partying and late-night study sessions filled with take-out and coffee, The Muse explained. Exercise and a healthy diet will not only help reduce stress but also improve your mood and motivate you to achieve more. Inactivity combined with foods high in salt, fat and sugar will likely leave you feeling sluggish, tired and generally burned out.