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Student Life: how to Maintain a Study-Work-Life Balance and (trying to) Avoid Fatigue

Fatigue is a REAL struggle. I struggle with Fibromyalgia, which apparently affects 2.5 million people in the UK, according to The University of Aberdeen. However, even if you don’t have a long-term health condition, fatigue is a major symptom of burn-out, so it’s important to look after yourself. Any person, on any course, is going to have to contend with the study-work-life balance and all the pros and cons that come with it. And while there’s a heap of reasons that someone would want to attend a college or university outside of solely working towards a degree, we still want the best for ourselves academically.

In an ideal world, we would find ourselves completely motivated, dedicated 100% to getting the best grades and leave with a CV blossoming with extra-curricular activities and various academic pursuits. The issue is this – one, a lot of people at university don’t have the privilege of not having to work, and will need to support themselves financially to cover those often expensive bills and the price of meals and other essentials. Things are only going to get more difficult as the cost-of-living crisis rises, so the pressure is heightened. Two, if all we do is work and study – we’re going to burn-out (THAT WORD AGAIN!!!). This isn’t just bad for our mental health, our grades will be negatively affected if we don’t take the proper time to relax, decompress and get ourselves in a good headspace.

It’s important to stress how vital it is to consider our mental wellbeing at this time – students are at a higher risk of developing mental health problems, according to the charity Mind. People tend to relax and de-stress in different ways depending on their needs. I have an incredibly creative and over-active mind, so a product like SleepPhones Wireless Headband/Headphones helps me to relax and drift off without the need for extra help.

They kindly gifted me a pair of Lavender wireless headphones to get me through my final semester of university, and it was a blessing to get a decent night sleep through and through. The headband was a beautiful colour and super soft (this lavender/lilac shade is my ideal choice!), and it contained thin, padded removable speakers to play any type of music (maybe some Ivy Ash tunes??), audiobooks, meditation, white noise, or talk radio. I always opt for some chilled music, but anything helps!

There’s also some other things I’ve tried that some might consider cliché, but I genuinely find that they help me to chill out, or at least take my mind off the stress for a while. Taking a hot bath, lighting a candle, and using my fav bath products gives me 30 minutes to myself, or even going for a walk or doing some exercise to get all that built up energy out. I also find that exercise helps me to sleep better, so that’s a win!

So comes the study-work-life balance, and maintaining it successfully is the key to having a fulfilling, exciting and academically successful time at university.

Though it might seem obvious: for those doing a degree in Music Business like me (or any kind of similar course) I’d argue that your best bet for achieving this kind of harmony is by getting a part-time position that involves music. The fact that you are even doing a music degree in the first place will get your foot in the door, and naturally, your interest in music means that you’re going to find your part-time work fun and fulfilling at the very least.

For the singer-songwriter or amateur musician, consider gigs across your city as means of supplementing your income. You can start by attending open mic nights, and hopefully get some bookings on the local scene. If anything, it will allow you to express yourself and become more confident. You don’t even have to perform – if you have the time, and a bit of penmanship, several publications will pay for unsolicited gig reviews, including NME - for bigger artists.

The issue with this work, though fulfilling, is stability. If you’re looking for a more secure pay cheque, consider record shops and music retailers. A sales assistant is a pretty standard position for people at Uni, but at least you’ll be able to put your knowledge to good use, and if you get employee discount at your fav record shops, it’s a win win!

If you’re an experienced musician, or have an interest in Music tech, consider an internship at a recording studio. This could mean playing in some low-key sessions or assisting engineers and producers. If you have access to a digital audio workstation – freelancer websites are looking for beat makers, and musicians of all stripes.

Turning to that all important mental health, I’d stress that you shouldn’t feel guilty about giving yourself time to relax. Uni is a great time to socialise and try out new hobbies, and you should consider joining a society if you’re looking to meet people, just make sure to look after yourself and avoid that dreaded BURN-OUT.

Getting the proper study-work-life balance won’t only allow you to achieve the best academically, but make you a happier, more fulfilled human as well. And that sounds pretty damn positive and good going! Good luck, let me know how you get on with everything.


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