Tips and tricks for balancing work and rest

There just never seem to be enough hours in the day to do all the things that we would like to do. It’s a lifelong struggle that we all face at one point or another, where does all the time go? Whether it be studying, working, eating, cleaning, spending time with people, and everything in between, there are a lot of things to juggle day by day.

So hopefully in this post I can through a few of the methods that help me maintain the elusive work-life balance, all the while minimizing stress.

One of the methods I find most useful is to put the first things first. That is, you have to make sure you prioritize. And doesn’t that make sense? If you have something that is super important, why wouldn’t you get it done before something else that can wait?

For me, when I get home from a day of lectures, the things that are highest on my priority list are going over the lectures I just had, playing some games to relax, and having some food.

This is where planning comes in. Working out how much time you will spend doing each activity helps to ensure that you will have enough time to get each done. Having at the very least a general idea of what you want to do in a particular day works wonders for helping me achieve those goals. It especially helps because it is something you can commit to, having that time in your mind, and establishing that that is the time to do whatever you have planned, can help tremendously. Particularly as a student, where staying on top of the constant influx of work is a priority, time management is critical, and leaving it to the last minute can lead to a lot of unnecessary stress. Trust me, I know. Usually I will walk through the door, have something to eat, play games for 45 minutes to an hour, and then start studying.

Making sure you have time to chill and relax after a busy day is just as important as making sure you get the work done that you want to. Keep in mind it’s more about managing stress than eliminating it. A little stress can be good, too much can be harmful.

The biggest problem with planning is that it can be hard to commit. We all have those days where you come home from a busy day or work and/or lectures, and all you want to do is to fall flat on your bed with a bunch of snacks and watch Netflix into the early hours of next morning.

Procrastination can seem like an incredibly tempting option, especially if it has worked in the past. But usually the end result is a lot of stressing out, and a grade that isn’t as high as you would like it to be, and worse, a grade that you know could of been better if you had put more time into studying and not catching up on the latest shows. Procrastinating has a sweet taste, but an incredibly bitter aftertaste.

Getting over this urge to put things off is impossibly hard sometimes, but normally the hardest thing for me is just starting. if you can convince yourself to do even 15 minutes of work, it is easier to stretch that out further than stopping and having start again. Plus, once you get used to doing work at a particular time, it becomes routine, but making it a routine can be the hardest part.

On the flip side of the coin, it’s important to have balance. I mean, that is the title of this post. If all you are doing is working and/or studying, with no time for R&R, you are doing something wrong.

Now I realize I may be out of my place to say that. Everyone comes from a wide range of backgrounds and circumstances and perhaps you just may not have the time to relax in between all of your other responsibilities (in which case stay strong). However I cannot understate the importance of having the time to take a load off every now and again. Chronic stress is unhealthy, and unpleasant.

This is where my last tip comes into play, enjoying the little things. Sometimes time to have fun and play games is scarse, for example during exam time. It is during this time that you really need to make the most of your limited relaxation time, and endure. Making sure you set some time apart to relax is even more important when the going gets tough. However there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and particularly during exam time, if you can knuckle down and do the work, then once it is all over you will feel on top of the world, and have good grades to boot. Making those fun times happen can be hard, but we all need to unload stress every once in a while.

Another thing that has always helped me is meditation. Practicing mindfulness, and even just taking 5 minutes to focus on my breathing and do a guided meditation is almost magical in the healing and calming effect that it has. Not only that, but when I return to my study, I feel more focused, and able to work more productively than ever before. So I absolutely recommend that, whether you are strapped for time or not.

Of course, all of this is from the perspective of a student, but hopefully some of this is relevant and helpful regardless of your situation.

But these are just my tips and tricks, I would love to hear what works for you. How do you maintain a balance between work and rest? Let me know in the comments, and if you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, give it a like. Also let me know if I should do more posts like this, or keep it strictly to gaming posts. Your feedback is always appreciated. Until next time, stay beautiful 🙂

Mindfulness, and how it changed my life

It has come to my attention recently that while I am a gamer, I’m also a student, and part of why I started this blog to share my experiences and tips and tricks when it comes to dealing with university and school life, as well as just life in general. Life is stressful, and while I like to think I’ve got it sort of worked out, it’s never simple, if there is something that works for me, chances it might help someone going through something similar.

However this hasn’t necessarily been reflected in my writing. All of my posts up until now have been gaming focused. I’ll likely fit gaming into most of my posts, but for now it’s time for a change in pace.

Basically, mindfulness is about keeping yourself in the present moment. It’s all about focusing on what is directly in front of you, instead of focusing on the regrets of the past or the worries about the future too much as people, including me, do.

When mindfulness was introduced to me last year, I was in a pretty dark place. The intense stress and mountain of a workload that is medical school was really getting to me. I was having anxiety, breathing problems, lacking motivation to study, I was a wreck, I needed a change and I needed it fast.

Seemingly out of nowhere, we had a lecture on this. Mindfulness. I had never hear of it before, and it sounded like something worth a try.

Simply put, it is a form of meditation. Not the type where you sit cross-legged on the ground saying “Ouuuuummmm”.Though it is similar. There are many guided meditations which involve sitting in a chair, and involve mainly focusing on your breathing, and/or bringing your attention to how individual parts of your body are feeling. The effect of this is designed to bring your mind and body together as one, in the present moment.

This in turn, is an extremely powerful and surreal sensation. Even a 5 minute meditation is an amazing way to clear the mind, flushing out all the things I’m stressing out about in the future, as well as all the distractions from things that happened in the past. I like to think of it as taking the pill from Limitless, minus the pill of course. Right after meditating, I feel like I can do anything. Moving into my study I am fully focused and able to work more efficiently than ever before. It also helps my social interactions, being able to listen more deeply, and respond less reactively and with more thought, calmness, and confidence, making for more fulfilling conversations.

So you can imagine that for a struggling medical student, this was a godsend.

Now at this point I’m sure you might be skeptical, I know I was. Up until that point, I hadn’t exactly heard many great things about meditation. Also it may just not be your thing, while it has had a profound impact on my life, I know many people who have seen no benefit from trying mindfulness, and that’s all good. But I highly encourage giving it a go before you judge.

In the months I have been practicing it, I have been happier and more optimistic, I have been more enthusiastic and focused on my studies, which has been reflected in my grades, and my relationships with the people close to me have never been stronger. My emotional and physical wellbeing has never been better, I enjoy play games more, and I am overall more satisfied with my life.

After about 2 months of meditation, I also began to practice mindfulness even while doing other things in my day. Taking a few seconds to just focus on my breathing while walking, on the bus, doing stuff around the house, or even when something happens and I start to get angry or upset, has a profound impact on my state of mind.

Now aside from being happier and stressing out about things less, you might be wondering whether there are actually any health benefits to mindfulness. To this I say there are many.

Mindfulness has been showed to prevent and treat anxiety and depression, something I can say from experience. It also reduces stress, as mentioned earlier, but this has numerous implications on your health such as improved immune function and reduced risk of cancer and heart attack. It also reduces irritability, improves memory, and improves satisfaction with who you are, which is just awesome. Self-confidence can be hard to come by, and certainly all of this has helped me be more comfortable in my own skin.

It turns out there are numerous books written about mindfulness as well, some of which I have been working through, which have improved my appreciation for mindfulness, and which expand my understanding of it, and challenge me to think about it in deeper and more interesting ways. The two that I have read are called True Love, and The Miracle of Mindfulness, and if the effect of mindfulness on my life was ice cream, reading these books were basically the chocolate sauce and sprinkles on top.

So mindfulness improves your physical and mental health, makes you happier, and makes the people around you more happy as well. What is there not to love? If you are interested and it sounds like something you could get into, again, I highly encourage you to look into it and give it a go.

That’s all from me for now, but I would love to know, what do you think about mindfulness? And what do you think of me writing more posts like this where I share my ways of dealing with life and everything in it? Let me know in the comments below and if you enjoyed the post, be sure to give it a like. Until next time, stay beautiful 🙂