How can we set boundaries between school and personal life? Here are eight tips.


Eliana Mann

DISCONNECT. Google Classroom notifications fill up Gmail inboxes in the blink of an eye, and create a lot of unwanted stress. No one wants to hear their devices constantly buzzing with the sounds of new assignments and grade updates. So why not just turn them off?

Students come to campus for seven hours of classroom education per day. That adds up to 35 hours each week plus time for homework, and the truth is, that’s a lot. So, it’s understandable that separating school and personal life is a challenge. Here are eight tips for how to set boundaries and disconnect from school work.

1. Utilize study halls and free periods. These chances to get work done during the school day are a valuable time to get ahead on assignments. Making the most of these periods will minimize the amount of work that is left to do at home, leading to more personal time. To help maintain focus, consider downloading apps such as “Forest” ($1.99) or “Flora” (free), which are unique ways to help decrease phone distractions.
2. Create a designated workspace at home. This is a way to set a physical boundary between school and personal life. If the work gets overwhelming, simply leave the workspace for a bit and take a break. Also, make sure to keep this space organized to minimize stress as much as possible.
3. Turn off notifications. Google Classroom notifications fill up Gmail inboxes in the blink of an eye. Especially for students with the Gmail app on their phones, these notifications can simply be unbearable. So why not turn them off? Just make sure to check Google Classroom more frequently so nothing important goes unnoticed.
4. Get away from the screen. Since much school work is digital now, a great way to set boundaries is by taking screen breaks. This could mean getting up to stretch, going to the kitchen to make a snack, taking a quick walk outside, playing with a pet, or really anything that sounds good.
5. Create a schedule for completing work. Productivity is one of the key ways to make more time for personal life. To get assignments finished quickly, make a plan and really try to stick to it. This will help with organization, minimize stress, and is a great tool for time management. Check out these customizable schedule templates on Canva (free) to get started.
6. Build time into each day for yourself. Small self-care moments are quick ways to take a break from school and focus on personal life. Maybe this means taking a relaxing shower/bath, or spending time outside, or listening to a favorite playlist. It looks different for everyone, but self-care is extremely valuable.
7. Plan fun activities during free time. Make the most of weekends and longer breaks by doing something fun with friends or family. Have a sleepover, go out to lunch, attend a concert, get coffee, or whatever sounds like a good time!
8. Talk to someone when things get overwhelming. Find someone trustworthy (a teacher, parent, counselor, friend, etc.) who can help when school work starts piling up and stress starts increasing. It’s important to share when life is really challenging, rather than letting things build up and get worse.

It is important to remember that all of this boils down to taking care of yourself, in order to achieve that healthy school-life balance. School is a lot to handle, and many students in the community are feeling the same way. Especially at the beginning of the school year, finding a useful strategy like one of these eight is important, and will be increasingly helpful as the year progresses.