Thursday 25 January 2024

Balancing Law School Amidst Emotional Challenges: My Personal Routine

This blog is about finding the right daily routine. It shares personal experiences, encourages being yourself, and gives simple tips for getting things done despite challenges.

- Areen

Navigating the widely-promoted regimen of early wake-ups, journaling, workouts, and seamless work-life integration is a familiar journey. As a longstanding member of the study community, I've delved into countless vlogs, attempting to mold my life in the image of those I admired. The attempt to rise early and adhere to a disciplined lifestyle, however, faltered after just three days, leading me to a profound realization: that a prescribed routine was not a harmonious fit for my unique circumstances. I found myself comparing myself to children from Korea who could study for 18 hours, yet I struggled to even rise from my bed on challenging days. It took years to embrace a fundamental truth: my differences don't diminish my worth compared to those leading dissimilar lives. 

My primary advice is to cease the relentless comparisons with others. While external sources can serve as inspiration, recognizing and embracing individuality is crucial. We all possess distinct strengths and weaknesses, rendering a one-size-fits-all study plan is impractical. The only true competition is with oneself; the goal should be self-improvement, surpassing one's capabilities from the previous day or week, understanding that progress is a unique journey for each individual. 

Now that I have established that a single routine cannot fit all people, I would like to share my daily routine, which can be changed according to your needs. 

I am a law student; I usually stay at home (I can take online classes) but prefer to study on my own. So, I don't have deadlines. In addition to my studies, I'm trying to learn languages, get published, try for internships, and deal with societies at my university.

But, I am the most apathetic person I know. I struggle a lot with mental health and what I like to call 'sad girl' days. This is a period of time when I am so unmotivated that I cannot move. Then, as a girl, the days before my periods are also just as bad mentally. On the day of my period, I am hardly able to get up from my bed. Moreover, some days are made difficult by my ongoing family issues. And so, in a month, I only get a few days when nothing goes wrong, and I can actually get my tasks done. 

So, how do I manage all this? But before this, I'd like to shout out two YouTubers that have helped me a lot, FayeFilms and The Thought Spot, whose video on managing executive dysfunction has been immensely helpful. I highly encourage you to check them out. After watching countless videos, particularly those from the two sources I mentioned, I have finally managed to construct a routine that suits me well. My strategy involves: 
  • Weekly task delegation
  • Prioritizing impending deadlines
  • Daily activities like practicing German and working out
  • Studying two modules alternately for three days each. 
  • Additional tasks such as internship work, blog writing, and research are woven into the week. 

Beyond this structure, I envision my ideal day at the start of each week. Unlike time blocking, which proves confining in the face of unexpected disruptions, my schedule remains flexible. Studying occupies the morning until lunch, followed by a break and less mentally demanding work. If I feel a bit more energised around the evening, that is when I workout before resuming studying and addressing any remaining tasks. Crucially, I prioritize rest after 8 pm daily by engaging in activities like drawing and watching anime to unwind. 

While an ideal day might involve high productivity, realism sets in. My unpredictable life and the onset of 'sad girl' days make adhering to a strict routine challenging. To mitigate this, I front-load the most critical tasks, ensuring that, should disruptions occur later in the day, essential work is already completed. 

On days when sadness overwhelms, I consult my to-do list, prioritize tasks with deadlines, and grant myself a break—be it a nap, shower, or a sweet treat. Music or background YouTube provides a motivational backdrop as I push through work that is urgent. If my mood improves, I tackle additional tasks; if not, I acknowledge the day's limitations and opt for a fresh start the next day. 

Importantly, I've learned to accept that calling it a day and prioritizing rest is entirely okay. The mindset shift is crucial; one is not a failure for leaving tasks on the to-do list uncompleted. 

In essence, the journey to effective time management and productivity is a personal one. Recognizing individual differences, embracing flexibility, and prioritizing mental well-being are foundational principles. 

By sharing my experience, I hope to inspire others to tailor their routines according to their unique circumstances, fostering a mindset of self-compassion and continual improvement.

Whether you are looking for support for your own mental health at university or supporting a friend, help is available.

Hi, I'm a first-year law student and have been a part of the study community for several years. I'm thrilled to have found this platform where I can share my struggles and perhaps share something useful that can help others.  

No comments:

Post a Comment