Balance Work and Life Through Thanksgiving

By Suzanne Lazar ’16, graduate student, SUNY Empire State College; editor, The Student Connection

November 10, 2017

As a student at SUNY Empire State College, you work very hard to balance your courses with work and home.  Working on assignments in-between your kids school activities or after a full day of work is doable with the flexibility that ESC offers its students.  But sometimes, the balancing act can be difficult.

When you choose to return to college, or enter into higher education for the first time, it’s important to figure a way to find that balance.  Your education is important and another priority that you’ve added to your responsibilities.  But it’s very important to keep your personal life engaged because in reality, the education is helping to improve your personal life.  Achieving educational goals, while not feeling overwhelmed by all the other things you give attention to in your life, is one of the many great things that ESC gives to its students.

The Thanksgiving holiday season just around the corner, and it’s a perfect time to redirect your focus from the courses, to yourself, your family and your friends.  Here are a few ways to get your balance back this Thanksgiving:

Volunteer in your community.

Give back to those in need by donating a coat to a local shelter, serving a meal at a local City mission, or by asking friends and family to bring several non-perishable items to your Thanksgiving dinner, then donating them to a local food bank.

Host a game night.

Board games aren’t just for kids anymore!  And Thanksgiving isn’t just for eating turkey and pumpkin pie. Get your friends, family, kids and adults and play some classics like Monopoly, Life, or Candyland!

Run a turkey trot or go for a short hike.

Turkey Trot races are a popular event around Thanksgiving.  The race is usually a 5K and you can run it or walk it. Another option is going for a short hike or finding an easy walking trail. Both activities are fun for the family and great exercise.

Cook together.

Ask your friends and family what their favorite Thanksgiving dishes are, create a menu, and get cooking!  This is a great way to get your mind off of school work and a fantastic way spend time with your family and friends.  You’ll instantly feel the work/life balance is back.

Watch old family videos or look through photo albums.

Gathering around a warm fire and looking at old photos and videos can be a great distraction from school and it can reconnect you with your life.  It’s always fun to see the smiles on people’s faces when they take a trip down memory lane.

Host a letter writing campaign party on an issue that is important to you.

After a full day of Black Friday shopping, break out the left-over pie, make some hot chocolate, throw some logs in the fireplace, and talk about issues in your communities/cities/state/nation, then write your legislators.  Pick an issue that affects you personally and one that doesn’t. Writing letters to your legislators is educational and encourages more participation in what’s happening in your communities.

So, don’t let the stress of completing your assignments get in the way of enjoying the holiday season. Doing one or two of these things can make a huge difference in how you get back to the books after giving yourself some much-needed down time.

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Suzanne Lazar

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