If you're studying and working, finding time for yourself can be difficult. Here are Student Support Manager Sian's top 5 tips to find that work-life balance.
Trying to juggle further education with a job, family life or other commitments can be extremely stressful but it’s something that every student, no matter their age, course, location or level of study will experience. It’s also very easy to let it all get on top of you with several different triggers - deadlines and time management issues, a lack of confidence, or those much-anticipated results days could all cause stress levels to rise.
Sian Duffin, Student Support Manager at Arden University, not only assists students balancing their workloads, but after going back into education herself, is also learning to manage her own work-life balance. She has given some top tips to keep the scales from tipping:
1. Write a list
It really helps to make a list of everything that is making you feel stressed and any tasks that are associated. Not only does it allow you to offload onto paper, but it also helps to see your tasks written down and makes it easier to break them down into manageable chunks. If you can, try and walk away from the list when it is written and come back to look at it with a clearer head to prioritise what needs to be done most urgently.
2. Assess your working style
A lot of the time it can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, as well as keeping up with work or your personal life. Try and take a step back and look at how effectively you are using your time. Try and figure out when you are most productive and plan your study around that instead of trying to cram everything in – is it in the morning or at night? Is it for longer periods of time or short bursts with more breaks?
3. Use positive language
When you’re stressed it’s so easy to be negative but try to alter your mindset a little. If you can start thinking positively about everything you have achieved so far, balancing your studies and still maintaining a healthy lifestyle going forward will seem much more achievable. A positive mental attitude will also help you feel calmer and alleviate some pressure!
4. Take a deep breath
If you’re feeling stressed or let everything get on top of you, it can lead to panic or loss of control. When students contact the support team at Arden with any concerns, we encourage them to try some breathing exercises which can be very effective. It’s worked for me in the past, sometimes fresh air can help too.
5. Build a support network
Isolation can really increase stress levels and make juggling all your commitments seem so much harder, so having the right people to support you when you’re studying is so important, a problem shared is a problem halved! As many of our students study by distance learning, they’re able to call our Student Support team for a chat if they ever feel like they need someone to talk to. We also offer a 24-hour hotline for students that need it outside office hours, often by the time students have talked to someone about how they’re feeling, they feel much better.
Blended Learning offers the perfect opportunity to control your work-life balance, if you're looking to study while working.