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The balancing act: 5 ways to stay on track

By Kaija Kaarid, 2nd-year Life Sciences student

Just two weeks back from winter break and things are definitely in full swing! With school and extracurricular activities keeping me busy, it feels like I don’t have time for fun or exercise (and I’m trying not to break my new year’s resolutions!). I have midterms starting in week four, a life-guarding competition at the end of the month and so much else on my plate. How am I going to balance everything in my life so that I can stay happy and healthy?

Can you relate? Feeling overwhelmed too? Here are 5 tips to help us stay on track!

1. Make yourself a weekly schedule!

Before using this tool, I always felt like I was running out of time. The weekly schedule accounts for all of the hours in your week and shows you just how much time you really have. You can use this to plan out all of the aspects of your life. I put my classes and commitments in first, followed by schoolwork, workouts and social time!

2. Try out the 9-5 rule.

Treat weekdays like work days! If it works with your schedule, get into a regular routine of starting work at 9am and working until 5pm. That way you can schedule workouts and social time for after 5pm and not feel guilty about it. You will know that you’ve done your work for the day.

3. Everything in moderation.

Don’t overwork yourself. I absolutely love volunteering and doing extracurricular activities but be careful not to take on too much. Adjust your workload if you need to. On the other hand, don’t go overboard with breaks and rewards either. A good way to keep track of this is by using the 50:10 rule (50 minutes of work followed by a 10 minute break) or the 9-5 rule as mentioned above. Also, try turning off your electronics while working, it can be easy to fall down the digital rabbit hole!

4. Seek help if you need it.

If you begin to feel overwhelmed and overworked, talk to your support system. University can be a lot to handle and we all get stressed. When I’m stressed, talking to my friends and family really helps me get through it. They’re always encouraging and level-headed (even when I’m not). Also, Queen’s has so many resources available to us, don’t hesitate to seek them out.

5. Stay positive!

Start your days with a positive attitude and try to make the best of each day. When things don’t go as planned, I find that putting things into perspective and being grateful for what has gone well really helps to keep me on track. Practicing positive self-talk (being encouraging to yourself either aloud or mentally) can help combat stress as well!

Homer frolics with positive thoughts.

I know that there’s lots to do and life can get busy but using these tips can help you balance it all! Good luck!

For other strategies and resources check out Learning Strategies Online Resources.