A balance scale with 'Work' and 'Life' written on wooden blocks, symbolizing the importance of achieving work-life balance.

Being a working student is no small task. Between juggling academic pursuits and working to support yourself and/or your family, it’s easy to overlook the importance of self-care. However, taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being is crucial to sustainability in education and work. If you tend to shrug off self-care, keep reading for some tips to find a balance amidst your busy life.

  • Establish a Realistic Schedule: Creating a well-structured schedule is the first step towards maintaining self-care as a working student. Tools like Google Calendar or an agenda can not only help you keep life organized but can also show you where you can schedule time for fun or a break. Make use of time management techniques, such as the Pomodoro Technique, to stay focused during study sessions while allowing regular breaks to prevent burnout.
  • Prioritize Sleep: Sleep is a cornerstone of self-care, but is often seen as something we can do with less of. As a working student, it’s crucial to get enough rest to recharge your mind and body and prevent wearing down your health. Prolonged lack of sleep leaves us vulnerable to getting sick, which can make managing work and school even harder. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night and establish a consistent sleep schedule. Prioritize quality sleep by creating a calming bedtime routine or using products like black-out curtains, sleep masks, or earplugs to prevent you from waking up throughout the night.
  • Nourish Your Body with Healthy Food: A well-balanced diet is essential to fueling your body and mind. As a busy working student, it’s easy to resort to fast food and snacks, but prioritize nutritious meals instead. Plan your meals in advance and consider meal prepping to save time. Ensure your diet includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and plenty of water to stay energized and focused.
  • Incorporate Exercise into Your Routine: Regular exercise is not only beneficial for physical health but also for mental well-being. Find physical activities that you enjoy, such as easy walks, surfing, jogging, yoga, dancing, or playing a sport. Even short bursts of exercise during breaks can help reduce stress and boost your mood.
  • Make Time for Relaxation: Amidst work and studies, it’s essential to take moments to unwind and relax. Engage in activities that bring you joy, whether it’s spending time at your favorite beach, watching a movie, hanging out with friends, or pursuing a new hobby. Allocating time for things you love to do will help you recharge and return to your responsibilities with a fresh perspective.
  • Practice Mindfulness and Stress Reduction: Managing stress is vital for maintaining self-care. Consider incorporating mindfulness practices, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, into your daily routine. Mindfulness can help you stay present, reduce anxiety, and improve focus. There are numerous smartphone apps that can be a great tool if you’re new to these practices. Start small, and don’t get discouraged if you struggle to incorporate these practices at first.
  • Learn to Say No: As a working student, your time is valuable, and it’s okay to set boundaries. Learn to say no to additional commitments that may overwhelm you. Prioritize your existing responsibilities and make room for self-care without feeling guilty.
  • Seek Support and Stay Connected: Don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or peers when you feel overwhelmed. Talking about your challenges and sharing your experiences can be cathartic and reassuring. Stay connected with your support network, and don’t hesitate to ask for help when needed. If you find yourself needing more help, don’t hesitate to reach out to your HMC staff. We have support services that have helped fellow HMC grads from all walks of life navigate their challenges and work toward graduation. You can learn more about your support services at hmi.edu/student-support-services or by coming by Suite 644!

Being a working student is definitely demanding, but it doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your well-being. Remember that taking care of yourself is essential for both academic success and professional growth. By creating a balanced schedule, prioritizing sleep, nourishing your body with healthy food, and incorporating relaxation techniques, you can maintain self-care as a working student. Embrace the journey with a positive attitude, and remember that your well-being is the foundation for a bright and successful future.