Work Life Balance

Taking a break on the Union South patio – John Maniaci Photography

The ability to establish and maintain balance in your life is not just a skill needed to succeed as a graduate student, but one you will carry with you for a lifetime.  Start by exploring the approaches below.

Learn from Other Graduate Students: The University of Minnesota’s webpage written by grads, for grads, offers great advice, such as finding or creating support networks, seeking mentors beyond your primary research advisor, taking breaks, getting good sleep, and learning to communicate with your advisor.

Maintain Emotional and Mental Health: University Health Services (UHS) provides many free and low-cost services to students, including mental health counseling and psychiatry.  Common reasons that graduate students visit UHS are:

  • Stress or anxiety
  • Depression
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Relationship issues

UHS also hosts a Dissertation Support Group, a great sounding board and support for the unique pressures of writing a dissertation. Select the Support/Theme groups on the UHS schedule page for information on the Dissertation Support Group.

Utilize Relaxation Techniques: Take some time to practice breathing awareness, peaceful focus, and relaxation of mind and body with UHS’s Relaxation Exercises.  UHS’s Personal Wellness offerings include massage, yoga, stress management, and nutrition.

Connect with Others: Knowing that you belong at UW-Madison is key to success.  Seek out groups of peers or organizations that share your values.  The Multicultural Graduate Network may be a place to start, as well as the Wisconsin Involvement Network where you can search for student organizations by keywords.  Also, be sure to look for activities and groups within your academic program.

Use Your Time Wisely: Strive to use your time in the best way possible.  This requires knowing yourself, when and where you are most productive, and creating a space to promote good work habits.  Find good time management tips on the Planning for Academic Success webpage.

Have a Plan in Place: Reduce anxiety and feel confident in your choices by creating a plan early in your graduate career.  The Office of Professional Development and Engagement in the Graduate School can help.

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