Grudgingly waking up for your 8am after sleeping only four hours; spending hours in the library studying for your huge exam; scrambling to get ready for a weekend filled of celebrating with friends…These scenarios depict the life of an average college student, where balance is a foreign concept and stress is second nature.
If you are a former or current college student, you have more than likely heard the joke about the college triangle. Consisting of social life, enough sleep, and good grades, the college triangle allows you to pick only two of the three points of the triangle. Although we laugh and nod our heads when we hear this joke because it resonates with us all, seldom do we consider whether it would be possible to have all three points.
As I am about to finish my third semester of college, I believe I have enough experience under my belt to share some advice on how to alleviate this issue and work towards living a more balanced life.
For me, I believe the key to finding balance within the college triangle is practicing better mental health. While some may raise their eyebrows at this notion, having a healthy headspace is critical to living a more balanced life, and today I am hear to share just why.
Put Down the Phone
A huge offender of our mental health is our phones. The act of scrolling through social media, liking pictures, watching stories, replying to messages, etc. is so internalized that we never consider the time we waste or the negative feelings we develop after seeing certain content online. Making a pact with yourself to be on your phone less is a great step to improving your mental health. Even making a goal to not scroll through social media when you wake up or before you go to bed will help dissipate negative emotions.
Your Body is a Temple
As we have all been told many times before, exercise and eating well are crucial to one’s health. While I do not want to belabor this point because of how often it is stressed to us all, I will say that taking 30 minutes out of your day to go for a walk or saying no to a fast food meal will make you feel better not only temporarily but also in the long haul. When you do good things for yourself, you will be feel better mentally, too.
You Are Who You Hangout With
Additionally, our relationships have a profound impact on our mental health. The more time we spend with certain people, the more we begin to act like them. Toxic relationships will only hinder your health. Instead, spend more time with people who build you up and want to see you succeed.
Find Alone Time
If given the option to reinvent the triangle, I would put “me time” in between the three points. As students, we are all very busy with classes, exams, friends, and extra curriculars, leaving us with little time to spend solely with ourselves. As I’ve gotten older, I have truly begun to understand the importance of having a few minutes a day to just be present in the moment with myself. Whether it’s going for a walk, reading a book, journaling my thoughts, etc., moments spent alone are so important to your mental health. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, taking time to get in touch with yourself and slow down is a fundamental concept for creating a better routine and a better life.
When you consider the importance of your mental health and take the time to get in touch with yourself, the external problems in your life seem much less menacing. Finishing your homework seems much less taxing if you know you can take a break and go for a walk or grab a coffee with your friends later.
While there is no algorithm for how to perfect your college routine, I can promise you that if you put your mental health first, balancing the three points of the college triangle will seem much more feasible.
Written By: Carter Smith