Finding the balance: tips to keep you steady through the storm of student life
The dictionary definition of balance is: an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.
It’s not always easy to achieve this, but I have some tips to share that I hope will help you attain balance and master staying upright and steady through the storm that can be student life.
My recipe includes having non-negotiable daily reminders. These are the things you do everyday, no matter how many exams you have, how many Sailor Jerrys you drank last night, or what kind of nauseating hour your casual job as a swimming coach requires you to be awake and alert. These are key self-care principles fundamental to finding balance.
Feel free to try some of my weird and wonderful rituals, but always remember it is crucial that you consider what works best for you.
Okay, you don’t have to sit cross-legged and chant (although you totally can). Try putting aside 10 minutes a day — I prefer the morning — and give your mind some headspace. It allows your brain room to breathe for a moment before you inundate it with study, work, stress, social life and your favourite procrastination technique (mine is usually YouTube videos). Your mind is a muscle and deserves rest. Watch this for some tips on how to meditate and help your mind to work at optimum level: [ted id=1640]
A lecturer once told me that doing an exam without a full night of sleep is the same as doing an exam drunk. I hope none of you would attempt an exam drunk, but I know that as uni students we are all guilty of cramming all night. Sleep is vital, so figure out how much you need and stick to it. I like 6-8 hours a night, even during exam block! [ted id=1044]
I like yoga, circus, surfing and prancercise. It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you make your heart race a little every day. This will keep you steady and upright longer. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-50GjySwew&w=560&h=315]
What I mean by this is to sustain yourself with items other than chocolate and coffee. While these are both necessities to true happiness, it is important to have a balanced diet. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wSQB6FRUvM&w=560&h=315]
Discover things that make you “flow”. For me, I like to write imaginatively. Every day I set myself a creative stimulus and spend some time writing something completely different to the content of my uni assignments. Maybe you need to make a scrapbook, dance in your lounge room (or in someone else’s), join a debating team, sing in the shower or watch copious amounts of Orange is the New Black on Netflix. Find the things that make you feel flow and do them regularly. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXwLsba2TOY&w=560&h=315]
Actively put energy into the people who support you the most. When you need someone to cook dinner, get you out of bed or listen to the 101 reasons why your 45 per cent assignment is an unnecessary aspect of your degree, make sure you find the support you need. There are also loads of great professional support services available at Griffith.
Once you have your non-negotiables in place, as a by-product I hope you will find balance. In my experience, now that I have figured these out and as long as I stick to them, I have become better at time management, my study is more focused, my social life is richer and I can work part-time without it impacting my study.
Words by Mindy Davies
Illustration by Nicole Clowes