Spending time with my boo is my favorite pastime, but if I did it all the time, I’d never get my articles done. Literally. In previous months without allowing myself to have boundaries, I lived in a constant state of feeling stretched thin, exhausted, and overwhelmed. That was until I made the decision to start introducing balance into my life: a love/life balance that helps me manage my relationship with work, school, and all my other responsibilities. Here are some things that worked for me (and hopefully will work for you):
Recognize Where The Imbalance Is
My grades started declining. I didn’t really care until midterms were around the corner and it dawned on me that I knew nothing because I had been sleeping in class since I was tired from staying up all night talking to my S/O. I thought that my devotion to staying up late made me a “good girlfriend” but really it was just making me tired—and stupid. The point is: You have to understand where things need to improve in order to set any type of plan in place that could improve your relationship. Once I saw how bad my grades had gotten, and how they could possibly hinder me from getting into the college I wanted to get into, I knew something had to change. That’s when I started the process to change.
Talk To Your Partner
A conversation can go a long way. A simple: “I don’t want to do this [activity] right now,” or “I think I need some time to myself,” can drastically improve your mood, energy, and the willingness to be open in your communication. I talked to my girlfriend about the dilemma and what I felt needed to change saying: “I need to start focusing on school. I won’t be as available as I normally am.” These sentences helped to reorganized my time and made sure that both I and my S/O knew what was happening and the reasoning behind it. If you’re like me, this might take a little time and a lot of prodding, but when you get to that point in talking about what needs to change it’ll definitely be worth it.
Discipline (Not Communication) Is Key
Honestly, this one is kind of hard. Acknowledging the problem is one thing but taking steps to set up and maintain the boundaries are another. The first couple of days were hard to say goodnight at only 8:00 pm, but I knew I couldn’t fold. Within weeks my grades started to skyrocket back to the perfection. Even though I put school as my main priority that didn’t mean the end of my relationship. We still hung out and spent time together, except it was just in a time frame that allowed me to accomplish other goals of mine too. The key is discipline. You must force yourself to put other priorities at the top of your list, despite whether you really want to or not.
It’s healthy to spend time away from each other in order to accomplish other things. Building healthy boundaries can actually work wonders for a relationship. Talk to your boo if you start to feel like things need to change in order to help improve aspects of your life. Remember it’s always okay to say “no” to someone you love and especially when it comes to your well being.
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By Patience Hurston, Senior, Thornwood High School
Twitter & Instagram: @itsyaafavvv
*This article is made possible by the support of Chicago Dating Matters Initiative. #DatingMattersChi