Balancing Life as a High School Student

This week, we take a look at how to better manage time and make living more positive.

Dear Liv,

I’m struggling to find balance in my life right now. My time management skills have never been great. Between school, family, and a relationship, I’ve found myself becoming overwhelmed often. How can I find that balance and find myself looking at life in a more positive way?


Someone Desperate

Hello, Somone Desperate and welcome to balancing your life 101.

Time management is not an easy skill to obtain. Scheduling out your life can easily become overwhelming and it can be hard to find time to accomplish all of the tasks you had your mindset to.

I’ve always been someone who likes to organize, whether it be creating a bullet point to-do list, scheduling events in my planner, or reorganizing my room to feel less cluttered. The only issue is, I only like to organize certain things. When it comes to living my day-to-day life, I love to be spontaneous and fly by the seat of my pants. But I’ve learned that doesn’t always work…especially as a high school student.

For me, there are a few steps I’ve taken to balance my time and live with a more positive outlook.

Step 1: Find something that de-stresses you

It’s important to find something that brings you joy and relieves you of your stress. For me, I recently started meditation, and I’m not going to lie, it works. Now, I was definitely a skeptic before trying it, and I didn’t think it would work for me. People I knew meditated and it helped them, but I always thought it was a hippie-dippie way to “handle stress”. But, it worked for me. I felt this new sensation and immense relaxation. It helped me feel relief immediately.

Another thing that relieves me of my stress is writing. And, you don’t have to be a good writer to write in a journal or keep a diary. Journals and diaries are for you — unless you feel the need to share them with someone else. Writing can help you get all of your thoughts and feelings down, without verbally expressing them or talking to someone about them. Sometimes, it’s even more stressful to talk to someone about the struggles you are having, so having an outlet to jot down thoughts and ideas is important, no matter how “good” you feel your writing is.

Step 2: Schedule things in advance

I know it sounds like a daunting task, but scheduling things in advance is imperative to balancing your life. Knowing when you have things planned will help take at least some of that overwhelming feeling away.

You mentioned being in a relationship. Perhaps a way to manage your time with your significant other could be to have a set date night every week? That way, you and your partner are both aware that it is your night. You both avoid making other plans for that evening. Try to stick to that, that way you have time together every week, but you aren’t seeing your partner too much.

To spend more time with family, going out to dinner with them is something you could do. If I am feeling overwhelmed, it always helps me to spend time with my family. Going out to dinner gives us a chance to talk and spend quality time together, without the distractions of homework, phones, electronics, or work.

Special Reminder: Don’t schedule yourself to the point where it overwhelms you even more. Try not to spread yourself to thin. There must be days in your schedule where you have nothing planned and you spend time focusing on yourself. That can be a difficult thing to do sometimes, but it is 100% necessary. You have to focus on just you sometimes!

Step 3: Find a specific way to stay organized

Whether it be in a weekly to-do list or a day-to-day planner, find a way to keep all of your plans and events in one place. Being scattered in how you organize things will only make life more overwhelming for you. Experiment with what helps keep you most organized. I find myself writing to-do list after to-do list and when I check things off, I feel like a weight has been lifted. I also have a day-to-day planner where I write down all of my scheduled events and my homework.

Step 4: Don’t forget to smile!

As cheesy and unrelated as this one may sound, smiling can make you feel less stressed and overwhelmed. But, did you know that smiling can actually trick your brain into feeling happy, even when you aren’t? Studies and science have found that smiling can lower stress and boost your mood. Smiling induces a chemical reaction in your brain that releases certain hormones that increase your feelings of happiness.

So although you might not feel like truly smiling, fake it til you make it. That fake smile might end up making you truly happier in the end.

Someone Desperate, give these steps a try and see which ones work for you. If you find something new that helps you manage your time and balance your life, please let me know.

Don’t forget that I am accepting advice requests! I will not print real names or share your information with others.

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