The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Striking the right balance

Sometimes it feels like balancing your life at uni with work is impossible and there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all… we’re here to help

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Sometimes it feels like balancing your life at university is impossible and there just aren’t enough hours in the day to keep your grades up, your diet healthy and your social life… well, existent. However, finding a good balance is the key to keeping all those metaphorical plates spinning — and contrary to popular opinion, it’s easier than you think!

With deadlines ongoing and exams looming on the horizon, it’s so important to take some time to reflect on how you’re doing. Are you striking the right balance between work and your wellbeing, or are you prioritising one over the other?

Routine is the first step towards getting balance in your life. It’s important not to be too hard on yourself because a very strict timetable can be just as bad for you as having no timetable at all. Why not try restricting all work to designated “work stations”; this could be your kitchen table, the library, or your department’s student lounge.

This will make you more efficient when you are working, as well as making it much easier to relax at home. This will help you to avoid the urge to ‘just do a bit of work in bed’ which we all know is code for ‘have a two-hour nap’. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

Making sure you’re eating properly is also a win-win on the life balance front. Cooking is a great stress-buster and it’s productive too. By cooking cheap, healthy meals and taking them into uni with you, you can save a fortune and avoid the preservative-packed, bland minefield that is the boxed sandwich. You can try out fun new recipes as a break from staring at essays and revision; plus, if you choose smart foods such as eggs, avocados, salmon, and nuts, you’re doing your brain a big favour too.

Managing to see your friends with deadlines and exams around the corner is no easy task. Some good ways to keep your social life as active as possible is to combine it with other things. For example, you could gather your housemates and arrange to eat breakfast as a house on the weekend so you can catch up on the week’s gossip.

Another good option is joining a sports team — there are so many to choose from on every experience level, and it’s an amazing way to meet new people whilst having fun and keeping fit. If there has ever been a time to think about getting fit, it should be now.

In the run-up to exam season, students binge on junk food and crash after major sugar highs. So take of your body for a change and get joining a team! Lastly, group study sessions have been proven to be one of the best ways to have a positive effect on your learning.

Booking a study room at the library or the Ali G Learning Commons is quick and easy to do on the library website, or you could even gather your coursemates around your own coffee table and reward yourself with a relaxed night in after your work is done.

The most important thing to do is not stress yourself out or make yourself ill over uni work. At the end of the day, keeping a balance between the two is more important than meeting every single deadline or completing your essay weeks ahead of schedule. Take care of yourselves!