Finding the perfect work/life/study balance … if that’s possible

We’re a few weeks into the new term and it’s a really exciting time for hundreds of students embarking on their next chapter. You will be meeting lots of new people, learning lots of new things and probably worrying just a little bit about how you are going to manage your workload when essays and assessments kick in, particularly now, as we approach the October break.

We all live busy lives. Most of us are balancing work, friends and family life – add in study and it’s a whole different ball game as you are adding another element to an already full and varied life. It can leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed and stressed out, but please believe me, this is completely normal! It is how we cope with that stress that makes us different.

Stress takes its toll on people in different ways – some people binge eat, you might struggle to sleep at night, your skin may react, or perhaps you find yourself with a short temper? It’s about recognising the signs of stress and knowing how to manage it.

It’s a known fact that most people go into self-punishment with stress and start to deny themselves anything that is pleasurable or fun. We use all of our energy and focus on being productive. This is actually counterproductive as we become more stressed and more tired because we are not getting time to rest or play. Finding a balance is key to refresh and relieve stress. So, what can you do?

First of all – REST. It’s so important – this might be sleeping (eight hours a night is best), watching a box set, reading a book or meditating. Don’t knock the power of Pilates, yoga or tai chi until you’ve tried it!

PLAY – Exercise, catch up with friends or catch a show. Exercise and other physical activity produces endorphins – chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and also improve our ability to sleep. Even 15 minutes of exercise a day will help reduce stress. We have a beautiful campus – get out when you have time during the day. I promise you will feel the benefit.

MUSIC – is also a great for relieving stress. Create a playlist on your phone/tablet of mellow tunes with a slow, steady rhythm to help slow down your breathing and heart rate which will help you feel calmer. Don’t underestimate the power of healthy breathing – I really like this website for hints and tips:

www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/ways-relieve-stress

And if you find calming music doesn’t work, try throwing on one of your favourite tunes, sing loudly, dance wildly, and see how you feel!!

Importantly, you must REWARD yourself when you reach a goal – rewards play a massive part in getting the balance correct. It might be something as small as a buying yourself a nice cup of coffee and sitting in peace, a gig you want to go to or having dinner with people who are important to you. I use rewards to re-energise me for the working week ahead and also as an incentive to get that report done that I have been avoiding all month. It really does work!

Remember, you are not alone! You are part of a community at Inverness College UHI. Try some of my tips and if you find the recipe for the perfect balance please feel free to share it with us all!

Written by Claire Kilburn Young, Wellbeing Officer at Inverness College UHI.

For information on our Guidance Team and the help and support we offer, visit: https://www.inverness.uhi.ac.uk/students/student-support/guidance-team/ You can also speak to a member of staff by popping into the Student Services Centre behind our main Reception.

 

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