Illustration by Kaylyn Dunn

Finding a balance in life for each and every pressing matter that can occupy the day is something every college student faces.

Whether it’s big responsibilities or little responsibilities, a balance must be found.

For college students, the balancing act often involves figuring out where to fit all the classes, work shifts and homework into a short 24-hour day.

For students, a crucial piece of the puzzle is left out. Along with scheduling time for work and school, students need to schedule me-time.

One can achieve excellence at work, be an employee of the month and get straight A’s. However, if a small portion of the day isn’t set aside for personal time or a mental health check, the well-oiled balancing machine will start to break down.

As a full-time student and a nearly full-time employee, I handle the workload of my shifts at Someburros and my three classes per day with ease. This only comes from an understanding of how to manage my time in a way that makes sense for me.

I devote the first half of my day to schoolwork. I go to my lectures and take appropriate notes to reflect upon later. I use the boring parts of my lectures or the 20-minute gaps between classes to knock out homework. That way, the second half of my day can be devoted to work and personal time.

Next, I go to Someburros and pour everything I have into making sure I’m fulfilling my position as kitchen manager to the best of my abilities. By the time 9 p.m. rolls around, all I want to do is pass out in the living room and stress about the next day.

I’ve found that my best days follow when I resist the urge to overwhelm myself with stress about upcoming assignments or taco Tuesdays at work. Instead, I indulge in a little bit of highly necessary me-time.

The rarity that is me-time can include things like going to sleep earlier or calling up friends and socializing. It is a block of time that everyone should add to their day. Relaxation is the body’s natural process of rejuvenating itself and returning to equilibrium.

If students are constantly running from class to class, shift to shift, and stressing about all the items of life that need balancing, the simplest form of finding balance is overlooked.

Relax. Take time for yourself. Let go of that stressful deadline looming in the future or the pesky coworker who keeps messing up, and let your body and mind reset. However, taking time for relaxation does not mean you get to avoid your responsibilities and school assignments.

Relaxation in the form of meditation has even been shown to improve brain function and memory, as well as lower anxiety and depression, according to the Harvard Health Blog.

Perhaps the best form of relaxation is multitasking these responsibilities. Destressing and preparing your brain and body to handle more at the same time can serve as a justifiable reason to add relaxation into a busy schedule without having to feel unproductive.

The biggest excuse for not taking time for ourselves is that we simply don’t have the time. That is probably true for a lot of my fellow students at NAU. However, to that statement, I would urge everyone to create the time.

For myself, me time works best at the end of my day, but my habits and preferences are not the same as everyone else’s. Extra time for yourself can come from resisting the urge to hit snooze and from starting your day earlier, or even just having a few quiet moments in a secluded spot on campus between classes.

However you choose to take time for yourself in this precarious balancing act of life, I urge you to just do it. Take the time or make the time, and the benefits will be felt.