Amy Pettler attended Teesside University studying BA (Hons) TV and Film Production graduating in 2018 and MA Creative Writing graduating in 2019. Amy is back at Teesside and is now completing her PGCE. Here she talks about how she manages to find a healthy balance between her work and her personal life.

I’ve been at University for five years now and in this time, I’ve studied, worked and been involved in a number of clubs and activities. Learning to manage my time was difficult at first, but by practising the following tips I managed to find a successful work-life balance.

At University there is a pressure to jump head-first into every opportunity available, and this is something I would highly recommend, but it is easy to get lost in your schedule and become overwhelmed by the amount of commitments you are taking part in.

That is why finding a positive work-life balance is vital. How did I achieve that?

Time management

Developing good time management at university is an important skill if you want to succeed with your course and maintain a good work-life balance. Scheduling your time carefully is a good way to keep on top of your studies and keep track of your commitments.

While studying, I logged all important dates and times on my phone calendar to form my monthly schedule. I also used a notebook to organise my daily and weekly commitments. This helped me remain in control of my time and managed my stress.

I find that when creating a schedule, it’s helpful to plot in time for yourself. By scheduling personal time, it will make it easier for you to practise self-care and stop you from overworking yourself.

Schedule in self-care

In a bid to find that perfect work-life balance, prioritising self-care was the main thing that stopped me feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Self-care is easier said than done and can often fall to the bottom of the to-do list once the assignments, nights out and shifts at work start piling up. By purposefully scheduling time for yourself, practising self-care will become an important part of your routine.

Self-care comes in many forms, ranging from a phone call with family to reading a book. Find what works for you and make time for it, otherwise you risk becoming stressed. Teesside University offers lots of wellbeing support for students – check online wherever you’re studying and you’ll find classes, advice and activities.

Be realistic

Self-reflection is a good way to avoid getting lost in your work – at the end of the week, take a moment to consider how you feel, what worked and what didn’t. Did you reach the weekend stressed and exhausted? Or did you feel okay? Reflecting on your experience in the short term can help you find your balance.

If you look back at the week and find yourself feeling exhausted, question how it can be changed. Have you taken too much on? Are you rushing to get your work done last minute? Was that one to many extra shifts? Can something be changed to make next week easier?

It’s easy to let things build up but being realistic about what you can take on and consistently checking in with yourself can help you avoid feeling stressed.

Learn to Say no

Learning to say no is difficult, but it is important. Don’t take too much on, it’s tempting to throw yourself into every opportunity, take on extra shifts and go out every night, but eventually it will become too much. Learning to say no will help you to find a work-life balance that suits you.

If you have taken too much on, feel you can’t let go of any of your commitments, or feel overwhelmed by the pressures of balancing everything, you can ask for help. There are many different types of help and support available at University, to support your mental health and physical wellbeing. The student life pages are always a great start.

It is okay to ask for help. Take good care and enjoy finding your balance!