Feb. 16, 2021

Creating a Meaningful Balance

University students are faced with many demands on their time. Trying to juggle classes with everything else can be overwhelming. Often I hear students say things like, “I don’t have time for a social life” or “I’ll worry about taking care of myself when the semester is over”. If you can relate to statements like those, this blog may be for you!

Here are some tips for creating a meaningfully balanced lifestyle:

  1. First things first: to create “meaningful balance” in your life you need to develop awareness as to what is meaningful to you.  To determine what is important to you, pretend you are an elderly person looking back on your life: what life experiences did you have that made your life meaningful? What was your life like? How did you contribute? What were/are you grateful for? What kind of person were you?  
  2. Once you have reflected on what’s meaningful to you in the long-term, assess your current priorities. What do you want to achieve this semester? Do your semester goals fit in with your overall vision for your life? What are the different areas you want to pay attention to? (e.g. relationships, courses, spirituality, work, volunteer, exercise, etc.)   
  3. Create a detailed time management plan. You can start by thinking about when and how you will fit your desired activities into your routine. Some students find it helpful to create monthly plans and weekly plans. You can record all non-negotiable items into a monthly plan, such as assignment deadlines, work shifts, or family events. Your weekly plan will be more detailed than your monthly plan. Again, start by recording non-negotiable items into the weekly plan, and then fill in the remaining spaces with items that will help you stay focused on your current priorities.  
  4. Online classes can definitely blur the lines between work and relaxation. Consider making small changes: If you find you are constantly checking your email, consider removing it from your phone. If you have difficulty ending your day, try designating a daily cut-off time to dedicate to non-academic tasks (including relaxation!)
  5. Make sure to include time for fun and self-care. No matter how busy a person is, it is necessary to take breaks. Breaks do not have to be time-consuming. Even doing something like taking a 5-minute walk or making a cup of tea can do wonders for maintaining motivation.

Now more than ever, finding balance is crucial to avoiding burnout. For more support, check in with the academic support team at the Student Success Centre!