“And in the sweetness of friendship, let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.  For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed” ~ Gibran, The Prophet

 

I have enjoyed plenty of laughter and sharing of pleasures over Summer ;o) but as I have just been flung into my penultimate year, one of my aims is to ensure I am able to maintain balance between my books and my buddies.  Because I have this little (but loud) voice that tells me whatever I do is never quite good enough, I tend to work harder than necessary.  To balance this, I must also ensure my playdates are plentiful; because happy chatter and chai with good friends makes everything worthwhile.    I started the first term fighting a cold and migraine, so I am currently reeling in their aftermath and trying to take things easy, while I can.

 

I also need to allow myself time to rest and rejuvenate in solitude.  This can be tricky when you live a busy life and share a home with other people, especially when they are your dependents!  My youngest daughter, especially, has verbal diarrhoea, although those who know me would probably argue this is no coincidence.  So, I need to make time to have fun with my daughters too.  As we are all busy at our respective school, college and uni we need to make sure we at least sit down and connect over supper time.  I was also thinking about standing for Town Council this year alongside raising a family and studying for a degree. However, I need to make sure I don’t chomp off more than I can chew.  I have so much energy to expend (my role model being the Duracell Bunny) that previously I would push myself beyond my limits, crash and burn, and then be no good to anyone.  So, the art of saying “NO” is something I must continue to practice, for my own sanity.  However, the opportunity to serve my community is also too enticing to ignore.

 

Alongside fun with family and friends, I have also appreciated plenty of fresh air and physical exercise and feel great because of it.  I don’t want to fall into an unhealthy habit of sedentary studying, evidenced by buttock-shaped dents in my chair and threadbare carpet between my desk and coffee machine.  So, while it may sound boring and lacking spontaneity, I find the best way to balance my busy but beautiful life is by planning my daily routine, potential study times and playdates.  This way I have things to look forward to when I feel I am drowning in work and still make sure I get to do everything else that brings me joy.   I never stick rigidly to routines because I value intuition to guide me as much as reasoning, but planning provides guidelines to ensure I don’t get swept along in an academic avalanche, to the detriment of my health and happiness.

 

I will not go into the nitty gritty of planning and organising here, but a great book that guided me is Stella Cottrell’s Study Skills Handbook that offers tons of hints and tips to help you get the best out of your university experience: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Study-Skills-Handbook-Palgrave/dp/1137289252/ref=dp_ob_title_bk

 

Onwards and funwards into this new academic year of organised awesomeness and balance in all areas of your life xXx