How to Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance?

Edited by Sophia Savva

As students, we are always on the go, and we sometimes feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. We commit ourselves to numerous things—school, a job, extracurricular activities, workout sessions, relationships, volunteer positions and so on and so forth. Many students, like myself, struggle to balance everything and maintain a good work-life balance. When we fail to keep up with particular commitments because we’ve focused on fulfilling other ones, we tend to become frustrated and fall behind on work too.

Mastering a work-life balance has been an ongoing struggle for me. Not only do I always prioritize my academics, which can prevent me from dedicating my complete attention to other aspects of life, but this results in my persistent frustration. I find myself in an unhappy place, where I am constantly stressed about attaining high grades and doing well in school.

Sometimes, this prevents me from having fun and ensuring that I take time for myself and friends. I have been trying to spend more time on bettering myself both physically and mentally by exercising, reading books and spending time with myself in order to do the things I love. Simultaneously, I am trying to dedicate efficient time to my academics as well. I have definitely not succeeded in maintaining a work-life balance but, I am trying each and every day.

I decided to speak with Niro Mohan, a University of Toronto student, to learn more about her experience with managing a work-life balance and how she overcomes the various struggles associated with a balanced lifestyle.

Her Campus (HC): Can you please describe to me what a work-life balance means to you?

Niro Mohan (NM): A work-life balance is about prioritizing what’s important, consistency and planning ahead.

HC: What are your experiences, if any, of attempting to have a work-life balance? Can you provide me with a few tips or advice that you would give to others that are striving towards maintaining a work-life balance?

NM: So, I am a part-time student at UTSC, juggling a part-time lab job with a thesis course plus I’m a part of many clubs/extracurricular activities. I would say I struggled at the beginning to balance everything. But as the months progressed, I knew what I had to do prioritize. I had to give up some social goals for some academic goals. For example, a social goal would be spending time with friends and family but, there were many situations where I had to miss this to meet academic deadlines. I became accustomed to that lifestyle, but I continue to strive to maintain that ideal balance.

I would definitely advise that using a planner/agenda is ideal. It worked for me. For example, every weekend I would set aside one day to plan out my entire week with all the deadlines, whether that was for social or academic events. Even just check marking something off your priority list, gives you satisfaction. In terms of mental health, around harsh deadlines and application due dates, I actually forgot to prioritize my health in terms of ensuring that I was eating and staying hydrated.  But those times taught me that I need to try harder to accomplish a more healthy lifestyle because, your mental health is more important that meeting social and academic goals.