The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Students can set limits by organizing lives, counselor says

By Ivy Claire / reporter

Students often express the same sentiments.

“There is too much to do. There is not enough time in the day. I am always exhausted,” they may complain.

The responsibilities of school, work, family and one’s social life can quickly add up and fill a schedule. In a Nov. 7 presentation she defined as “the opposite of a time-management course,” counselor Michele Mastick shared with South Campus students ways to set limits and realize success.

“You only have so much time, energy, skills, straining, strength, then you have a load that you have to carry,” she said. “Once you take that load on, you still need to have something left over.”

In Boundaries and Bonus Points, Mastick discussed the importance of setting boundaries and creating margins, the space between one’s workload and one’s limits.

“We have to allow room to breathe, grow, love, rest and heal,” she said. “Without margins, we never get those opportunities.”

Emotional drains come in many different forms from difficult jobs to tasking relationships. Mastick recommended resolving conflicts with people.

“If there’s anything from your past that you feel like is not resolved, it’s still in your subconscious and draining away energy,” she said.

Creating appropriate boundaries in relationships is another way to gain emotional energy, Mastick said. Sometimes family, friends and co-workers are not supportive and may disregard or be unaware that they are asking too much. Mastick suggested students let the people in their lives know if they are feeling overwhelmed.

“Tell them. ‘Right now, I’m a student, and this is what I can handle,’” she said.

It is also important to “say no to negativity” to avoid loss of emotional energy, Mastick said. Many people know others who are constantly negative, and Mastick suggested students break relations with pessimistic or antagonistic individuals. Students can also avoid negativity by giving thanks for the positive aspects of their lives.

“Gratitude can change everything in your life,” she said.

Creating and preserving emotional energy improves functionality and mental well-being and often leads to increases in physical energy, Mastick said. Methods of gaining physical stamina include developing healthy sleep patterns, increasing exercise, improving diet and finding quite. When having a nap is impractical, making time to rest one’s mind can be just as re-energizing. Mastick recommended taking deep breaths and meditating. However, this can sometimes prove difficult in time of stress.

“Your brain cannot have a blank screen,” she said. “Whether it’s things that happened today or imagining the future, it is going to roll something on the screen.”

Mastick said students can limit intrusive or racing thoughts by finding their own happy place.

“Think of a place that’s peaceful,” she said. “When your brain does not want to stop, intentionally put an image in your mind to relax.”

Mastick provided a variety of ways students can gain time in their lives by setting limits on entertainment and activities. One statistic revealed that if the average American were to cease watching TV and streamed content, they would gain between 20 and 30 hours a week.

Eliminating social media can free up 1.72 hours a day. Certain phone applications track how much time is spent on social media and users can set a daily time limit which, when reached, prompts the app to block access to designated websites. Students can gain time by reducing activities, even if they have obvious benefits.

“You have to be careful of your commitments,” she said.

Students can gain social connections, knowledge and physical wellness from participating in clubs, intramural spots and church choir, but they should remain aware of how much time is spent doing such activities to address priorities.

“Sometimes, you have to stop doing some of the things you love, if even for a short time,” she said.

Likewise, students might need to enact “spending freezes” from time to time to preserve their fiscal resources. Mastick suggested shopping at thrift stores or garage sales, borrowing items from neighbors and cooking at home instead of eating out.

Creating a budget which details income and expenses and enacting methods to decrease those expenses will allow students to gain a financial margin in their lives.

Stamina is not spontaneously created, money does not grow on trees, and a day has only so many hours. Mastick said students should consider the limits of their power and calculate the workload they face to ensure they set appropriate boundaries and avoid exhausting resources of energy, budget and time.

“We have to be intentional in setting our margins,” she said.

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