When we are students, one of the hardest things to do is to maintain a sense of balance in our lives. We often start the academic year with new resolutions; we may be revitalised with energy after a holiday break, we are motivated and committed to a successful academic year.

But maintaining that sense of control over our lives may become increasingly difficult as the demands of university study unfold.

It is easy to overlook the basic factors which provide balance in our lives. When one of these factors is ignored or forgotten, we may become out of balance and our bodies let us know this has occurred. We may become unmotivated - stressed - depressed - anxious - exhausted - lose our appetites or over-eat - become run down or sick - feel anti-social - not be able to sleep or sleep too much - unable to study or work - lose our libido.

We need to remember that we are a complex mix of academic, physical, mental, spiritual and emotional dimensions. Each of these dimensions needs to be acknowledged and nurtured to maintain an adequate equilibrium for effective functioning.

So what are the basic factors which need to be in harmony and which are the building blocks for this necessary holistic balance?

D Diet nutrition

R Relaxation

E Exercise

S Sleep and adequate rest

S Socialising with friends, having fun

Now you have read this simple list you are probably saying "I knew that!" But it is so easy to overlook these fundamental building blocks. We often ignore the signs that we are out of balance, until our body malfunctions and our attention is drawn to the fact that something is out of sync!

The National University of Ireland, Galway Student Counselling Service wishes to thank the  counselling service of  The University of Limerick for granting permission to reproduce this fact sheet.