How to Balance Work & Study


“I cannot come and kill myself” – Melissa’s Wardrobe, UK Fashion Stylist

Working and studying at the same time can be quite difficult, whilst many people have been able to do it, it can be quite strenuous depending on where you work.

Maintaining a balance between studying and working is essential, since your main priority is to collect your degree and prosper. Taking on too many hours at work can seriously interfere with your studies, on the other hand it’s understandable that student finance aren’t too generous these days and living costs can be stressful.

In 2008, a study that explored the impact of term-time employment on 1000 students from six UK Universities found that “term-time working had a detrimental effect on both their final year marks and their degree results.” Essentially the more hours students worked the greater the negative effect. On the other hand, working whilst studying can be useful in terms of gaining professional skills.

Whether you’re thinking about working whilst studying or you’re already doing that, it’s important to take care of your mental and physical well-being.

Burnout is real folks!

Although I never worked during my undergraduate degree, as my degree was emotionally and physically taxing, I’ve had to work during my masters degree. Whilst the Government are currently giving out generous masters loans to assist with funding, I still need to live of course and pay for other expenses. I currently work 12 hour shifts in a forensic hospital  whilst studying for my MA in Psychotherapy which can be very exhausting, so having some sort balance in my life is crucial. I’ve managed the work/study balance by engaging in restorative yoga & planning ahead, my diary has become my best friend.

Here are some tips on how to manage your mental and physical health whilst studying and working

Maintain a Diary & Prioritise

Plan, plan, and plan some more.

Whilst plans don’t always go to plan, it’s important to have some sort of schedule to keep you focused and on track. Learn how to prioritise your assignment load and your job load. Keeping a diary is a simple way of keeping on top of deadlines, and any working commitments.

Engage in mindfulness or yoga

Moving your body is essential!

Stress levels can affect your body as well as your mind, it’s important to keeps level down through any type of light exercise. Mindfulness is an ideal way to clear mental clutter than may affect your cognitive functioning during the day.

There are a number of apps, such as Calm or Headspace that provide you with tailored mindfulness guides. There are also yoga apps which provide you with restorative routines, my personal favourite is the Nike Training app.

Speak with a counsellor

The counselling service within the university is often free, so make use of it if needed! Having someone to speak to in a calm and safe space can have a positive impact on your mental well-being. Don’t suffer in silence.

Communicate

I believe it’s important to communicate with your manager about the hours you work. Don’t allow yourself to pressured or bullied into working hours that do not allow time for study.  I once had a course mate who would study for 3 days and then work 4 days straight, so eventually they broke down, emotionally, psychologically, and physically. Give yourself time to recover, and speak up when necessary.

Make time to socialise

Having a support system like your friends when studying and working can be great. Humans need social connection, so try socialise when possible, and reach out to others when you’re struggling to cope.

These 5 tips are a few ways you can manage the work/study life. If you already study and work, what’s your strategy? If you’re thinking of studying and working at the same time, what would you add to these 5 simple tips?

 

Let us know in the comments below.

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