As a graduate student, we know it can be hard to balance school responsibilities with life. Sometimes it may feel like we do not have enough hours in the day to study, attend clinical placements, and have a social life. As a current fourth-year student, there have been periods throughout my graduate school career that have required more time devoted to one of these aspects than another. Here is a list of things that I found helpful for maintaining a work-life balance throughout my grad school career:
1. Plan it out.
Take the time to set up a Google calendar, written calendar, and to-do list system. Seeing your action items written down along with their due dates can really assist in dividing up your day to complete your tasks.
2. Ask for help.
This is an important one. If you are feeling overwhelmed or do not know how to do something, do not be afraid to ask for assistance. Think about how much time you may waste trying to figure out a problem on your own, only for your solution to be incorrect. Now, you have to start all over again. Asking for help may look like a lot of things: speaking with a professor, asking a friend, or calling a family member for advice.
3. Take time for yourself.
A former therapist of mine told me, “Take 15 minutes for yourself, every day.” This advice was simple but allowed for me to have a daily moment where I knew I would have 15 minutes of self-enjoyment. When you are busy, it can be easy to forget about yourself, but remember you can only care for your patients if you also care for yourself. Stress and burnout diminish our decision making, and we want to make sure we are doing all we can to avoid those feelings.
I hope these three simple steps allow you to manage your time and stress better. If you need more resources, here are previous blog posts from the SAA about Mental Health Resources. If you are struggling with burnout, this past Virtual Education Series event from Kaitlyn Kennedy, AuD may be helpful. Finally, here are additional resources from the national SAA regarding mindfulness and health.
Janna Hines Orr
2023-2024 National SAA President
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