Challenges await every college student, but what if you need to juggle studies, work, and child-related obligations altogether, often during the same day? The increasing number of people around the world is facing such challenges and no wonder.
In an ever-competing market, the edge that top-notch diplomas get you can be a difference between welfare and employment. However, managing such a hectic lifestyle is not nearly as impossible as it might appear. Here are some practical tips for all of those brave parents that are balancing kids, studies and work.
Establish your lifestyle balance by creating a comprehensible schedule
One of the first tips you’ll read or hear anywhere is that you need to create a comprehensive and comprehensible schedule. Everyone that juggles at least two dominant occupations in life – i.e. college and job – should consider this, let alone if they have to deal with three major projects, one of which being the kids.
By creating a schedule, you will rediscover that direly needed balance in your life. Your days will have structure and you’ll even manage to squeeze in some extra free time along the way.
The best way to go about this is to assemble a list of kid-related obligations and study time, allotted according to the fixed work schedule, and plan it out for two months. That much would reasonable and ample enough. Then create several copies of that schedule and hang it on the fridge and the wall of your bedroom.
Encourage your children to be self-sufficient when it comes to outdoor fun
Now, while you should spend as much time with your children as possible, you have to teach them how to be self-sufficient. This will take some of the burdens off your shoulders.
With some encouragement, you can teach your kids to fall in love with outdoor activities. Whether it’s sports, pool parties, running around or, as they would call it, exploring, spending time outside will boost their immunity, teach them bravery and, if they have a group of friends, encourage their social and cognitive development.
As long as it is a safe environment outside, prompting your kids to go out is a win-win situation. Furthermore, this self-sufficient, communal play will leave you with just enough time to delve into your studies.
The studies are important, but keep in mind that children and work come before it
Once you’ve cleaned up the part of the day for studying, you’ll have to consider your program options. Luckily, it is much easier to gauge academic obligations with kids and extra work these days because graduate programs tend to be flexible.
It is of utmost importance to contact your mentor and explain the entire situation to them. The more honest you are – the better. Then you can work on scheduling and restructuring of the time frame, especially as it pertains to exams. Most professors are accommodating these days and you’ll feel much safer and less stressed out because now you have another ally in your lifestyle struggle.
Treat your well-being as the cornerstone of everything
When you are juggling work, kids and academic conquest, you hardly have time to think of yourself. Lifestyle – what is that? Well, this is where your friends and parents typically advise you that you have to ‘put yourself first’ and take care of yourself so you’d be able to carry the burden. While it is reasonable if you feel annoyed because of such advice, especially if they are not in a situation that is remotely similar to yours, it is based on truth.
You have to make extra time for, let’s say, regular workout. Three sessions a week, ninety minutes each: that should be enough to keep your blood pumping and your immunity working overtime. However, if you have to keep an eye out on your kids, especially if they are small, you might want to move your exercise routine home.
Purchase a yoga mat, a few dumbbells and find a few nice palates and Yoga programs on YouTube. If you start exercising at home, you’ll have more time on your hands to watch over kids, socialize with them or jump around the house and commit to some short-hand tasks.
Ultimately, if you really cannot find time to exercise enough, your healthy dietary habits can do a lot to keep your health on the up-n-up. You know the drill – stock your plate with fresh veggies, snack fruits, eat lean protein and tone it down with refined carbs – especially candy, cheap snacks, and sparkly sodas.
Apart from taking care of your physique, you should also give importance to your mental health. Take time to practice mindfulness exercises and work on being more resilient to stress. Doing things that help you relax and stay happy will be very helpful in helping you keep your sanity no matter how busy you may be in balancing your life as a student and a parent.
On the other hand, if you feel like you need to talk to a professional mental health counselor, you can also schedule a session with a therapist, like the licensed therapists from BetterHelp.
Quality time with children doesn’t have to suffer because of your studies and work if you follow the tips outlined above.
After all, it is in the very nature of people to be busy and hard-working, and they’ve also had thousands (if not millions) of years of practice in raising children under a variety of unseemly circumstances.
All it takes to make a difference is good organization and consistent (and basic) self-care. Remember, you invest all that effort now because you are playing the long game.