Indian female student sitting on floor at home with laptop, headphones, mug

How to Make Time for Yourself and Your Hobbies With a Busy School Schedule

Making time for yourself and the things you enjoy is extremely important. Here’s how you can work around a hectic school schedule for a healthier life.

Whether you’re in high school, college, or graduate school, most students have to make sacrifices when it comes to school-life balance. Being a full-time student can make it difficult to find time for yourself and your hobbies, especially if you’re involved in many school activities and functions. While school is a major part of your life, letting the stress and time it takes consume you is extremely unhealthy—both physically and mentally. It’s necessary to make time for your own interests outside of school to maintain a happy, healthy state of mind as well as strong, supportive relationships. Here are some strategies that can be implemented into your life to help you make time for you.

Time management

The first (and most obvious) strategy for maintaining a healthy balance is to use time management skills to reduce confusion and stress when it comes to scheduling schoolwork and activities. To begin, it’s important to plan ahead so you have a clear idea of what needs to be done and when, which can lead to less stress as deadlines approach. Knowing how much time you need for your responsibilities will give you an idea of the time you have to focus on your interests. Create a to-do list each day to keep yourself on schedule as opposed to procrastinating on various projects and assignments, which can create more stress and less free time in the future. Whether it’s an assignment or your hobbies, be sure to communicate the details of your schedule with those around you so they know when to not disturb you.

While it’s crucial to prioritize your educational responsibilities, it’s also necessary to build time into your busy schedule for yourself. You can do this by breaking down large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones. This way, you can get things done on time without spending too much energy each day on one thing, freeing up time to do what you enjoy. Setting personal goals and deadlines for when you want to complete certain tasks is also helpful; it can keep you ahead of your actual assignment deadlines for school, giving you some time in your schedule to relax. You can motivate and reward yourself for completing certain tasks as well—try a relaxing bath, a movie, or another enjoyable activity.

Related: 4 Techniques to Improve Your Time Management

Stress relief

When school becomes overwhelming, stress can take on various forms, including physical symptoms, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, depression, and dependency on substances to get you through the week. While low levels of stress can be helpful for focusing and getting things done, when it spreads into other areas of your life, it becomes necessary to engage in stress-relieving activities that can keep you calm and ease your mind. Some strategies that help relieve stress include regular physical exercise, meditation and breathing exercises, communicating with those around you, asking for help from loved ones, spending time outdoors, implementing positive daily rituals, and attempting to change your outlook on life. Sometimes, it can also be helpful to see a counselor or therapist when you develop mental or dependency symptoms to prevent harmful behaviors and encourage a positive well-being.

A healthy lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can also help create a beneficial school-life balance that isn’t overwhelming. As with stress relief, making time for regular exercise and healthy eating is a good way to create some time for yourself each day. Sit down for meals that are fulfilling as opposed to heating up frozen food to eat while studying. This is something easy that can be implemented to both nourish your body and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Make sure that when you’re doing things for yourself that you aren’t distracted by other activities. Reminding yourself of what you’re doing at that moment is important as opposed to worrying about distant assignments and deadlines. Additionally, try making regular weekly plans with your friends and family to do things outside of school and work so you’re not spending all your free time alone.

It’s also important to remember that you’re a human who needs time for yourself and that everything you do can’t be perfect. Aiming for perfection is an unrealistic and harmful standard that can set you back. As opposed to aiming for 100% every time, you need to set attainable goals that can be met without the sacrifice of your livelihood. There’s no penalty for turning down certain responsibilities, such as taking on more volunteer work, family commitments, or organization memberships that you don’t care about. If you already don’t have enough time for yourself each day, it’s unreasonable to adopt more responsibilities to worry about. If anything, it may be fitting to let go of some of your current responsibilities that aren’t fulfilling or enjoyable for you.

Related: 6 Ways to Live a Healthy Lifestyle in College

At the end of the day, you’re the most important thing in your life, and you need to make sure you're happy with your daily routines and practices. Maintaining a good lifestyle is  beneficial to your mental and physical health as well as your relationships with those around you. Delegating time for both school and your interests is crucial to being happy as well as implementing relief strategies to manage existing stress. It’s not selfish to step down from any overwhelming commitments you may have. Go have fun and spend time with others! Even though you may not always feel as productive, you’re fostering a healthier state of mind and lifestyle for yourself, which should always come first.

Check out the “student health” tag for more helpful advice on balancing your responsibilities, maintaining your mental health, eating right, and more.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now


About Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a high school junior who has a passion for writing and speaking about the relevant issues of today. She's involved in activities such as speech & debate and writing/speaking competitions, which allow her to inform others and share her perspectives on causes she cares about. Her goal is to pursue a career in the medical field and specialize in Neurology in honor of her uncle who suffers from a rare neurological condition.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Sierra Carranza

Sierra Carranza

High School Class of 2022

I had absolutely no idea where I wanted to go to school; I was considering colleges in almost every state. CollegeXpress was an amazing resource and helped me compare all of my top schools. Without the help of CollegeXpress, I probably wouldn't have made such an informed and confident decision.

Anthony Vidal

Anthony Vidal

High School Class of 2023

CollegeXpress has helped me in a series of different ways when it comes to finding scholarships and learning information about different universities. I actually found my dream university through CollegeXpress and am working on getting there.

Makiyah Murray

Makiyah Murray

High School Class of 2021

The college application process has been a stressful one, but CollegeXpress has eased some of that stress with its readily available college resources. At the beginning of the process, I frequently used the college search feature, and now that I’m almost done applying, I’ve started using the scholarship search. Both of these resources have made it easier to find relevant information.

Yuhlani Patterson

Yuhlani Patterson

High School Student

CollegeXpress has helped me find so many scholarships that fit me. They match me to colleges I have specific interest in to make searching for colleges way easier and more efficient. CollegeXpress refers me to schools that have my major of interest and backup schools if I want to change my mind. CollegeXpress also gives out their own scholarships, so you have even more of a chance at gaining multiple scholarships. This website has helped me de-stress from the pressure of not being able to afford college, [of finding] what schools are right for me, and how to find easy access to scholarships that most people never knew existed.

Rayan Hamdan

Rayan Hamdan

High School Student

I joined CollegeXpress just a few months ago. I had been struggling with severe anxiety, causing me to not be able to tour schools and make sure a college would be perfect for me. I came across CollegeXpress one day when I was searching for colleges online, and it completely changed the game. I was easily able to choose colleges that would suit me, and I also entered a few giveaways! Thank you so much!

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Samford University

Birmingham, AL

Ohio University

Athens, OH