Monday: Wake up! Class! Work! Class! Internship! Club meeting! Band Practice! Gym! Class! Bed!
Does this sound like your life? If it does, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Students frequently schedule themselves into a corner, filling every hour of the day with an activity. Whether you’re working to pay for school, at an internship to beef up your resume, in class for your degree, or a club that you joined because you really love to play co-ed full contact rugby, it’s easy to overwhelm yourself with the responsibilities that come with being active and involved.
Being able to maintain a healthy work-life balance is a great way to show employers that you can handle a heavy workload, and can prioritize and manage your time. If you find yourself with a regular free block of time, certainly consider adding in an internship or professional activity to increase your skills and experience. You’ll be thankful you spent those hours working on a project instead of catching up on Glee.
However, there are real dangers to overextending yourself, too. Chronic stress and sleep deprivation have detrimental effects on both mental and physical health, including:
- Decreased Performance and Alertness
- Memory and Cognitive Impairment
- High Blood Pressure
- Exacerbated Pain and Headaches
- Digestive Problems
- Stress on Personal Relationships
- Poor Quality of Life
The work-life balance is crucial to maintaining your happiness and health. If you find yourself unhappy, unable to enjoy activities you usually do, chronically exhausted, eating too much or too little, short-tempered, or generally unlike your normal self, take a moment to examine all the events you have going on. While maintaining your commitments and upholding your responsibilities is important, your health is more important.
There’s nothing wrong with dropping an activity to take care of yourself. While dropping school, work, or an internship may not be an option, you may want to examine extracurricular activities and see if that time would be better spent elsewhere. Here are some tips to keep in mind for living a healthier, more productive life:
- Eat a balanced diet, and eat enough.
- Drink 8 glasses of water, every day.
- Set aside unstructured time for yourself and your friends; vegging out on the couch can be relaxing and rejuvenating.
- Exercise releases endorphins and keeps your body running smoothly. If a full workout session isn’t an option, try going for long walks, doing yoga or tai-chi, or biking instead of driving to places. You’ll feel better overall.
- Most importantly, get enough sleep!
You are the most important aspect of your life. Sometimes it’s a struggle, but the work-life balance is essential to keeping yourself happy and healthy.