If you are a college student, chances are you’re extremely busy. Assignments, classes, internships, jobs, clubs/organizations, etc., but where do you fit into that busy schedule?
Being a college student isn’t easy. As students, we are conditioned to always do our best and try our hardest to be successful, but maybe that’s not always the best answer. We need to start putting ourselves first－our mental and physical health－even if this means putting our work to the side.
Below I’ve composed a list of five ways you can prioritize your mental and physical health with a busy schedule. Keep in mind that I am not a doctor and I may not know what is best for you, but I do have a lot of experience with busy schedules and having boatloads of stress. Here’s what works for me:
- Decide What Assignments to Prioritize
Making a list of your priorities can be a lifesaver. Stressing about too much at once can stop you in your tracks and prevent you from being productive. I have caught myself way too many times just sitting in front of my computer frozen because I’m thinking about all the stuff I need to do. It helps to take things one step at a time. Decide what is most important and start there.
- Take a Break
It’s really important to pay attention to your body for your health. If you feel like you need a break, take one. Something that really helps me is listening to my favorite 10-minute meditation online. It helps calm me down and ground me. I also like to make a fresh cup of coffee, eat a snack, watch an episode of my favorite show, watch my favorite YouTuber or scroll through social media for a little while. Do what you need to do to relax and/or recuperate.
- Know When to Cut Things Out of Your Schedule
This one is really hard, but really important. We can’t do it all, and we shouldn’t feel like we have to. If you have the ability to cut something out of your life that is just adding to the stress, then do it. I know this is easier said than done. It’s not fun feeling like you’re disappointing others by leaving an organization or workplace, but ultimately your health and well-being are the most important thing and everyone around you should respect that.
- Know When to Not Do Your Best
This sounds silly, but sometimes you don’t need to try your best or submit your best work. If you are having a particularly hard time or stressful day, it’s okay to submit work that will not get you the “A”. It’s okay to submit assignments that don’t reflect your best work. Professors will more than likely be understanding that you can’t always submit industry-ready homework. We have it ingrained in our brains that anything lower than an “A” is bad, but it’s not!
- Stress About the Big Things, Not the Little Things
I know what you’re thinking, “I thought this whole article was about trying not to stress.” Well that’s true, but I am aware that we can’t control our stress. If you have stress, try to focus it on the most important things in your life. There is a difference between eustress and distress. Some stress can be positive and give you motivation, whereas other stress can just be harmful to your body and mind. If you are stressing, try to focus that stress on the most important things so you can get those things done first.