Creating the ultimate study life balance

Written by Bridget Backhouse | 6 October, 2021

woman stretching her back at a desk

Being a student is a tough life, even when you take away factors like lockdowns!

Creating some sort of balance between your regular life and study commitments can be tricky, but it CAN be done — it’s actually super important for your wellbeing. Here are some of my top recommendations to support a healthy balance:

Good planning

As the old saying goes, ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. Using a weekly planner or calendar to outline your work shifts, classes, social commitments, exercise, and anything else that’s important to you, means that you’re able to prioritise study time and look ahead. A recent study showed that setting goals and study planning significantly improved engagement with learning and focus on study, and it even improves academic performance (1)!

Nature time

Another task to pop in your calendar is time to enjoy nature – whether it’s time in a local park, a beach trip or a big bush walk! There was an incredible study done that investigated the effects of designated time in nature during lunch breaks on the health of students. It found that there was increased para-sympathetic nerve activity and decreased risk of depression (2). Isn’t that amazing? Remember that one of the key naturopathic principles is the healing power of nature.

Stay connected

In this new age of remote learning, prioritising social connections isn’t only good for your mental health, but it’s also beneficial for your study! Combining time with your friends and studying means you can bounce ideas off each other, fill in the gaps that you might have missed in class, and strengthen your understanding of the content by teaching and sharing with others. Social support has also been shown to encourage students to persevere and complete their studies (3). You don’t have to go through uni alone – your family and friends are there to help and support you until the end!

Keep moving

This was my personal biggest challenge during uni with increased travel and screen time, and apparently that’s the case across a lot of university students (4). My best tips for increasing valuable movement and exercise during study are: make it a social activity so that you can be held accountable by others; schedule it into your weekly plan as above so that it takes away the decision making (and because spontaneous exercise is probably not going to happen); and make it something you love! Maybe a dance class or team sport suits you better than a gym session or a run. Exercise is great for stress management, improves mental health, and will also improve your ability to focus on study too!

Stay flexible

No one expects you to have it together and perfectly balanced all the time. Your study timetable will change, there’ll be weeks when five assignments are due together, and your work and family commitments will be altered too. Keeping a flexible mindset around these factors is vital for success. Make the most of extra downtime when you can to engage in things that you like and know that long weekends filled with study are not forever.

You’ve got this – I believe in you!

References:

  1. Yusuff, K. B. (2018). Does personalized goal setting and study planning improve academic performance and perception of learning experience in a developing setting? Journal of Taibah University Medical Sciences, 13(3), 232–237. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtumed.2018.02.001
  2. Bang, K. S., Lee, I., Kim, S., Lim, C. S., Joh, H. K., Park, B. J., & Song, M. K. (2017). The effects of a campus Forest-Walking program on undergraduate and graduate students’ physical and psychological health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(7). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14070728
  3. Estrada, M., Zhi, Q., Nwankwo, E., & Gershon, R. (2019). The influence of social supports on graduate student persistence in biomedical fields. CBE Life Sciences Education, 18(3). https://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.19-01-0029
  4. Grasdalsmoen, M., Eriksen, H. R., Lønning, K. J., & Sivertsen, B. (2020). Physical exercise, mental health problems, and suicide attempts in university students. BMC Psychiatry, 20(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-020-02583-3

Bridget Backhouse

Bridget is a past student of Endeavour College, graduating from her Naturopathy degree in 2019. She began her own business and over the last year has juggled multiple lockdowns by moving her practice online. Her primary areas of focus are on skin and sleep, but she has a huge passion for assisting students through the healing power of herbal and natural medicine.

Read more by Bridget Backhouse

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