Finding a work-life balance
Looking after your mental health, and finding time for yourself amongst such a busy schedule is something I definitely advocate for, and I’m a strong believer that we should all value our mental health just as much as our physical health. A chemistry degree can be tough at the best of times, so I found it imperative to find a nice balance between studying and living my life. It can be hard to feel like you have time to do the things you enjoy, and it can often become a struggle to switch off from your studies when your schedule is so busy and hectic. If you’re feeling this way, I hope this blog can give you some tips on how you can create a better balance.
Prioritising tasks and writing to-do lists
I think sometimes it can become overwhelming when all of your outstanding tasks are whizzing around in your head, worrying you and playing on your mind throughout the day. I find it useful to write a to do list at the beginning of every week, clearly bullet pointing every thing that needs to be done by the end of the week. I find this helpful as it allows me to just focus on what needs to be done that specific week, and not what needs to be done in two weeks or a months time.
I also like to prioritise my to do lists and put the most important tasks at the top so that I get them done first. Usually assignments with upcoming deadlines, and anything with a submission date that week (such as tutorial questions) are at the top of my list.
Finding a routine
I find that getting myself into a structured routine allows me to separate work from home. I find that I’m always more productive in the mornings, so I like to focus on getting my priority tasks done during this time when my brain is most fresh and awake. In the afternoons, I work through the rest of my to do list. I stop studying at around 7:30-8pm as I feel like I start to get tired, and I like to take my evenings full off and switched off from uni so I can relax. Adding to this, it’s so important to take regular breaks – I find that studying for an hour and a half-two hours followed by around a half an hour break works best for me but there are lots of other ways to take breaks. Some people find that short bursts of work followed by short breaks work best for them: e.g. 30 minute study-5 minute break or 50 minute study-10 minute break. During your breaks, step away from your laptop, have a drink, maybe grab a snack. This is so important so that you’re not thinking about your work 24/7. Overall, I find that routine allows me to separate uni from life as it feels like I have specific ‘work hours’, and anything outside of that is my free time.
Pursuing your interests/hobbies
No matter how full on your study schedule might be, you should always make time for your hobbies and interests. Whether that’s going to the gym, playing a sport, reading, crocheting, dancing.. MAKE TIME FOR IT. No matter how bust you might feel, try and squeeze in time to do what YOU enjoy, away from your course. There are SO many societies to join, have a look through them on the Warwick Student Union website, or go to the societies fair, and see what suits you – you never know, you might find your new passion!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
You shouldn’t feel ashamed for struggling. Maybe reach out to a someone for advice, whether that’s a friend or your personal tutor at uni. You could even reach out to the Warwick nightline, which is a confidential student run listening service. A lot of people will be feeling the same exact way as you, so you shouldn’t feel alone or scared to speak out.
Don’t neglect the small things that make you feel good
I think it’s so easy to get swept up in such a busy schedule that you find yourself having gone weeks without a proper self care session. I like to make time every week to do small things that make me feel good: painting my nails, doing a hair and face mask, cooking my favourite meal, going out to see friends. Even though these activities don’t often take long, they help me to relax and they make me feel better afterwards. Try not to let yourself get stuck in a rut where you’re not doing things for yourself!
I hope this blog gave you some tips on how to find a better balance. Have a lovely day and don’t forget to look after yourself!