Work-life balance staves off student stress

Here’s how to manage stress with a heavy workload.


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Managing work well reduces stress in students’ lives.

Emily Coffey and Hannah Larson

As Biola students enter Mental Health Awareness Week, the uptick in mental health problems coincides with the rising pressures college students face as they manage their daily workload and prepare for life after graduation. Here are some practical tips for managing stress during this week and beyond.  


While there is no way to quantify a good work-life balance, there are ways to sustain a good quality of life while performing well at work and school and maintaining a social life. The percentage of undergraduate students employed during 2020 was 40 percent, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, meaning that most students stack a job atop a demanding course load. 

According to junior art major Kristen Kim, prioritizing friendships alongside schoolwork is a way to reduce stress and invest in lasting relationships. 

“Making time in your schedule dedicated to indulging yourself in your hobbies or hanging out with friends is such an important activity that is not work or school oriented,” Kim said in a Becoming Biola blog post titled “Tips on How to Keep a Balance in School, Life and Work.” “For me, it becomes very easy to put friends and family on the back burner and focus solely on school and work. Although people don’t have due dates and grades, they are just as important to our well-being and should be prioritized alongside academia.”


When considering their mental health, students should take stock of whether their work-life balance refreshes or depletes their energy. For collegians managing classes, work, internships and extracurricular activities, stress seeps in from all sides as they navigate a hectic daily schedule. The constant awareness of external factors such as a flailing economy and social injustice adds a layer of pressure on top of the anxiety which comes from handling everyday tasks. 

According to the American Psychological Association, “College students today are also juggling a dizzying array of challenges, from coursework, relationships, and adjustment to campus life to economic strain, social injustice, mass violence, and various forms of loss related to COVID-19.”

While students invariably experience tension, there are steps they can take to manage stress in a healthy way. Simple solutions include buying a planner to organize one’s day and carefully choosing daily activities to avoid becoming overloaded. Should students still suffer from stress, Goodwin University encourages them to communicate clearly with employers and professors that they are buckling under an unmanageable workload so all parties involved can create an appropriate action plan. 


After readjusting their schedule, students should evaluate whether their work-life balance aligns with their wellness goals. If a still-staggering workload hampers their ability to eat, sleep and exercise well, it is time to reevaluate and set new priorities. A healthy work-life equilibrium is a key component of holistic wellness since true flourishing encompasses the soul, mind and body. 

For junior Bible, Theology and Ministry major Sage Lewotsky, wellness is not an isolated aspect of her life but a holistic lens through which she views the world. 

“I have a sincere spot in my heart for walking with people from diverse backgrounds through all the ups and downs that can occur throughout these formative college years,” Lewotsky said in a post on the Biola Peer Wellness Instagram page. “I, like many students, have experienced the vulnerable season of burnout. I learned my first year of college that our well-being is holistic. The truth is, if we neglect having a balanced, holistic well-being, the repercussions will catch up with us later on.”

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