Many students struggle with finding the perfect way to balance school and their social life. Everyone has different wants and needs, but it is important to prioritize your basic needs.

But don’t worry. Here are a few tips to fix all this!

Put your health first. Physical health and mental health go hand-in-hand. While this may seem like a simple concept, it is very easy to neglect eating habits and a sleep schedule in college. Late-night Cookout runs and choosing Chick-Fil-A every lunch and dinner may satisfy you at the moment, but you might be struggling, even more so than usual, to get out of bed in the morning. If something about your body feels legitimately “off,” you can visit a Grace Health clinic right on campus to find answers and treatment that will help you heal and move forward. As for mental health, Cumberlands offers free counseling services for anyone who needs it. You can vent, pinpoint the reasons why you feel or behave a certain way, and learn how to move forward healthily. The Counseling Center even has a service dog now that you can request to sit in your sessions. I know dogs always put me in a good mood!

Utilize a planner. It is beneficial to see not only when assignments are due, but also to write in fun events to look forward to! Get assignments done as soon as you can so that you are not stuck in the library at 11pm on a Sunday night. By getting work done during the week, you allow yourself to have more free time on the weekends. I always make sure to plan at least one outing each weekend to motivate myself through the week. My Sundays are reserved for church and “resetting” for the week to come.

Find a hobby. If you do not have any hobbies, college is a great time to pick some up. In my free time, I like to write music and sing. If you are an introvert, like me, this is a great way to express your emotions while still getting some much-needed alone time to recharge. Many days I find myself playing piano in the music building to relieve some stress. If music is not your forte (get it? Forte, music pun…), there are places throughout campus to do art, play sports, lift weights, play card games, play ping-pong or billiards, and more. There are also plenty of clubs on campus to plug into, which kind of becomes a hobby on its own. The options are endless!

Set aside time to relax. I suggest reading or even watching Netflix in a hammock at Patriot Park! Yes, you can do these in your dorm room or apartment, but there’s something about sunshine and fresh air that restores the soul. For me, whenever I am stressed or anxious about something, reading my Bible and praying always helps me calm down. You can easily combine relaxing with social time too. Be the first person to ask someone over to your dorm/apartment to hang out, or to the grill to grab food, or to Patriot Park to hammock. Sitting back and talking with a friend is sometimes all your heart needs to be refreshed.

The busy schedules of college can be stressful, but they’re also the perfect opportunity to get used to caring for your mind, soul, and body in the most efficient and beneficial ways for YOU. Try these tips; I believe they will set you up for success!