The Importance of a School/Life Balance
Performing well in school is a priority for most students, however, this goal can cause students to experience high levels of stress. Getting good grades allows students to learn more, feel more confident, and have more options after graduation. Preparing for life outside of high school is important, but it is also important to remember that no one is only a student. For example, most people are friends, partners, and colleagues, and each portion of one’s life requires time and energy. It is easy for many students to only focus on academics while pushing mental health and social obligations to the side. Although prioritizing academics is important, it is equally important to balance school with other parts of your life. When academics take control over every part of one’s life, people are more likely to experience burnout, stress, and anxiety. Participating in your hobbies, socializing with others outside of school, and having downtime are great ways to combat this.
Having a healthy work-school-life balance is an important factor in one’s mental health. Mental health affects every part of your life – it affects how you go through your day and how you manage responsibilities. Not maintaining a healthy work-school-life balance makes studying, task completion, and moving through your day much more difficult. This can lead to an overwhelming feeling of physical or emotional tension, called “stress overload.”
There are a lot of ways to identify when you are feeling stress overload. These factors might also be symptoms of other things, but if you exhibit more than one, it is very likely you have stress overload. Here are some signs that you are experiencing stress overload:
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- A feeling of being constantly pressured, hassled, and hurried
- Irritability and moodiness
- Physical symptoms such as stomach problems, headaches, or even chest pain
- Allergic reactions, such as eczema or asthma
- Problems sleeping
- Drinking too much, smoking, overeating, or using drugs
- Sadness or depression
Stress overload can also lead to the development of other problems, which is why it is important to identify them and then treat them as soon as you can. There are many ways to help deal with stress and stress overload. These strategies do not completely remove stress from your life, but they can allow you to work on maintaining your school-work-life balance. Relieving stress can be done in a number of ways, which are outlined below.
- Getting exercise throughout the week
- Meditation / yoga practice
- Repeating self-affirming mantras or writing in a journal
- Talk to a loved one about what is bothering you
These tips can help relieve stress in your life and can be applied specifically to handling stress when looking at academics.
Being efficient and staying on top of your academics is important, but if you dedicate too much time to your academics, it can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety about performance. Dealing with stress in a constructive way helps keep students on track for their future plans while allowing them to have time for other obligations. One way to help deal with the workload is breaking big assignments or projects into smaller tasks. Working through multiple small tasks versus working at one large task helps you feel accomplished and see clear progress. It is important to keep in mind that multiple smaller tasks can also have multiple, smaller deadlines, making the final deadline less stressful. Another tip is to have the mindset of a high achiever and not a perfectionist. Oftentimes, students are caught up in getting the best grades or having a well-rounded resume. The perfectionist mindset can be very draining, as opposed to a high achieving mindset, which makes room for yourself and your mental health.
Keeping a healthy school-life balance is the key to moving through your education with a minimal amount of stress, anxiety, and other symptoms of stress overload. Academics are a high priority for a reason, but you cannot perform well if you neglect your mental health. Each individual is not only one thing; people are not only students, company employees, or teachers. They can also be friends, painters, athletes, and so on. Allowing yourself to live a balanced life can reduce stress, increase productivity, and prevent burnout.
This article was written by Maali DeLeon. She is a sophomore at the University of Nevada, Reno, and an AHEC student ambassador.