With our iMedia finals week in full swing, I feel that it is important to acknowledge that the life of an interactive media professional, and especially that of a graduate student, can be intense. Do you worry that you are becoming a workaholic? Is the stress of work or school getting in the way of enjoying time with friends, family, or even alone? Even if you haven’t hit your personal “wall,” this serves as your mental health checkpoint: keep reading for some tips on managing your work-life balance.
Set your productivity hours
If you are anything like me, it is hard for you to get anything done before 9am, or after 9pm. Great! For me, that is perfectly set-aside “me-time” that I have every day. What are the hours that you can’t focus during? What are your most productive hours? Know your habits, and treat those habits like a set of rules. With remote work taking the world by storm, it can be increasingly difficult to set boundaries, but this is an absolute necessity.
Nourish your body
Being a powerhouse all day every day at work is fantastic, unless you are sacrificing the health and well-being of your body. Here’s your friendly reminder to never skip that all-important lunch break. In fact, if time permits, invite a friend, classmate, or coworker along with you for your next lunch. Make it feel like a real break from work. Are you rescheduling your gym time, then rescheduling again, and again… and again… We have all been there. If working out is a priority for you, and part of your ideal routine, don’t let your work get in the way of this! Know your personal priorities, and acknowledge that taking care of yourself must always be one.
Where do you work?
What does your workspace look like? An office? A coffee shop? Or… maybe it is your bed. If your workspace overlaps with your personal space frequently, it may be time to make a change. This habit can be blurring the lines between your work and home life, in ways you may not even be conscious of.
Maximize your free time
What are you doing with your weekends? Hopefully, they look significantly different from your weekdays. Make your free time reflect the activities you enjoy most, the places you want to go, and the people you love. Just as you try your hardest at work or school, live the portions of your life that do not involve work to their fullest.
Know that you are not alone
You are not alone in your struggle to find balance. It is part of a complex set of emotions we all have the capacity to feel and to overcome. Acknowledge how you feel when you feel it, then take steps to find your personal balance.
You got this.
For more advice, please visit Mental Health America’s resources.