The Infamous "Work-Life Balance"
I hope you’re all having a good semester so far, even after what seems to be a month-long ongoing midterm season! At least the leaves are still changing colors while the temperature hasn’t dropped too much (hopefully I’m not jinxing anything).
Today I wanted to talk a little bit about the idea of a work-life balance. Just as a little disclaimer right from the get-go, I want everyone to know that this is in no way an easy thing to do!
Everyone has different ideas of what a work-life balance is, and that is perfectly ok! If you have something that works for you, stick to it! The idea of a work-life balance stems from the idea that work (whether that is school work, work on campus, work off campus, you name it) can be a lot, and some people find it helpful to intersperse their work with other fun activities to avoid burnout. I asked some of the other Ears what they do to balance work and enjoyable activities and here is what they said. The following testimonials are not meant to act as advice; every situation is different. These are just some things that work subjectively for certain people and are not supposed to reflect a model of how people should balance work and other activities. If any of the following quotes do not resonate with you, please don’t worry; discovering what works best for you comes from time, patience, and self-reflection.
“No matter how much work I have on a given day, I try to give myself 15-30 minutes to walk outside. Sometimes I’ll listen to music or a podcast, and other times I like to just listen to the noises outside. Especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed, listening and naming all the sounds I hear (birds chirping, leaves rustling, cars driving by, people talking) can be really helpful to ground myself.”
“Sometimes when I sit down to do work, I will think or write down some manageable goals/assignments I want to accomplish. I really want to emphasize the word manageable, because sometimes I get overzealous and tell myself to get 10 tasks done in one sitting so when I inevitably don’t finish everything I end up feeling bad.”
“I remember during my first couple of years at Tufts I would sometimes feel pressured to go out at night after a long week of classes when all I really wanted to do was to eat snacks and watch a movie. I’ve realized that people have many ways to recharge, and some people do that by going out when other people just want to stay in, and both of those are ok. I’ve learned to trust myself when it comes to doing what feels best for me.”
“Sometimes I’ll try to physically put my phone in another room when I need to get work done. There have been too many times when I’ve impulsively picked up my phone until I realized I’ve only done one reading over a span of 4 hours. Instead, I’ll do focused work without distractions and then I’ll give myself a good break afterward.”
“My housemates try to find at least one day a week to do something together. Sometimes it's playing Super Smash Bros, watching a TV show, or playing a board game.”
“At the start of the semester, I realized I was taking way too many hard classes and was so swamped with work that I had no free time. I was really anxious about dropping a class, but after talking with my professor I decided it was the best thing to do for my mental health and I’m so glad I did it! Now I can take it next semester and enjoy it without the stress of my other hard classes.”
As always, if you feel like you’re swamped with work or just generally overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to give Ears a call or a text. We’re here for you!