How do I find a healthy work-life balance?

As some of you might now, I’m studying computer science. The education is something, that’s called an AP-degree, which means, that it takes 2.5 years. I’m now in my fifth semester, so I’m first doing an internship and then I have to write my main thesis.

Prolonged internship
I’ve always been really scared about having to start an internship. And for a long time, I’ve known that I wouldn’t be able to work full time. So, I applied for getting permission to work part time. I’m now working 20 hours per week instead of 37. But I also have to do my internship for six months instead of three.

In the beginning, I was quite in doubt, if I should mention my autism diagnosis in my application. However, I decided to do it, because I felt like I had to explain, why I’m applying for a part time internship. But it wasn’t all negative having to mention my autism. I also felt like I could tell about the strengths, my autism brings along. Furthermore, as I’m working in IT, I knew that people weren’t just as scared of hiring autistic people as they are in other work areas.

My internship
Maybe you’ve already read about my internship on my Facebook page or my Instagram account. I found a great company. My boss is totally fine with me being autistic and having to work part time. Actually, they are really flexible with everything in general. You pretty much decide yourself, when and where you’re working. It’s just important that you meet your deadlines.

The first week
I worked my 20 hours the first week and I was totally proud of myself. I was so scared of starting my internship, that it was already a great achievement for me to show up. But unfortunately, I was really exhausted after the first week. We did plan my hours in a way that I had a day off every week, but that didn’t even help. I was even exhausted on my day off and on the weekend.

My second week
Monday during my second week I decided that I would talk to my boss the next day. I don’t really know what I expected, but I just needed to tell him, that I didn’t feel like I could manage 20 hours per week. At least in the starting phase. I really didn’t have a functioning everyday life. I was only working, sleeping, eating, relaxing and sleeping more. Luckily, my boss was really understanding. He suggested, that I could get one more day off in the first weeks, so that I would have time to get used to everything.

What now?
I wanted to work less, because I wanted to get a healthier work-life balance. I wanted to be able to use my spare time on more than just sleeping and relaxing. But now I’m working fewer hours and I still have a hard time finding out what actually defines a healthy work-life balance. What do I need to be able to do during a day for it to be good? Today I was out shopping for a bit, I painted, took care of my blog and went for a walk. It was an ok day, but still, I’m really exhausted. Do I have to accept being exhausted every day? And how exhausted is ok? I really hope those questions are going to help me get closer to finding out how to get a healthy work-life balance.

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