Natalie Gessler Balances Life

Natalie Gessler Balances Life

As teenagers, we deal with a lot at this time in our lives. We have our social lives, school and homework, jobs, and extracurricular activities. Trying to keep the grades up so parents aren’t upset, planning hangouts with friends so there’s time to see each other outside of the lunch hour, and going to practices or rehearsals almost every day after being at school for eight hours can become stressful, and even more so at the start of a new school year. Putting so much on one’s shoulders can ultimately have a negative effect on mental health and even physical. Studies show that symptoms of too much stress are aches, chest pains, exhaustion, trouble sleeping, dizziness, headaches, muscle tension, and even digestion problems. Stress also leads to things such as depression and anxiety. Reading all of this, it is clear how vital this balancing act is. 

Being an athlete and having a job, someone I believed was worth speaking with was Natalie Gessler. She is a player on our soccer team and knows first hand the struggles of this balance. She has a job at Eat’n Park, comes to school everyday, and stays dedicated to getting to practices and games. I thought getting her take on this subject would help others with figuring out how they can do it all without overworking themselves. 

How often/ long do you work?

“I work three days a week at my job. My total hours are around 24 to 28 hours a week.” Natalie said.

“Wow, that seems like a lot with school and soccer practice.” I said.

“Oh it is!”

How many days a week do you usually attend practice?

“Everyday.” she said and laughed, “Plus Sundays. Practices are two hours long.”

What do you do in your free time?

“When I get it?” She said, “I like to work on cars and watch stocks.”

“Watch stocks?” I asked, “Interesting.”

“It’s actually really fun to see what goes up and what businesses are doing better than others. It’s surprising to see the outcome sometimes. I also like to chill with my family. I have a lot of fun with them.”

What’s your strategy for getting your school work done while having practice every night?

“Honestly, I try to do it during school when I have time, but if I can’t do it after school,  I normally just stay up later after practice and finish it.” Natalie said.

How long do you stay up those nights?

“Probably around 2-4 hours depending on the classes I have homework in.” she said.

How many classes worth of homework do you usually have?

“Probably around 4, sometimes less like 2 or 3.” Natalie said.

You mentioned you’re watching your sibling this morning. Many kids have to do that for their parents. Is this a regular thing?

“Yeah. Whenever I have my free set first I normally watch my brother, but I don’t mind it because I don’t get to see him that much since I work at least 4 days a week and he has baseball lessons.” she said.

Does that make balancing everything else harder?

“I would say a little bit,” Natalie said, “But not enough where I say like I can’t do it anymore because I know watching him helps my parents out, so whatever helps them I’m willing to do.”

Do you have any tips to help people handle their time management with work and sport?

“I would say remember to prioritize what matters to you. Mostly focus on your priorities first then the not so important things.” she said.

How important would you say relaxing is?

“Relaxing is nice, don’t get me wrong, but in my mind, relaxing is not the most important thing. It’s probably fourth on my priorities list, school work and sports come before relaxing.” Natalie said.

What if I told you not giving your brain time to rest causes mental health issues like anxiety and can even lead to physical pain.

“It doesn’t really bother me to be honest.” She said, “I will deal with that whenever it happens.”

What advice do you have for people who are dealing with the side effects of stress?

“Stress is a normal thing people deal with I think, so my advice to them is to probably just take that time to relax, because if you are stressed you need to chill out. Just take that day or a few days to gather yourself back together. It’s not wrong to relax.”

How do you relax/ relieve stress?

“Music and sleep!” Natalie said, “Music is good for relieving stress because it’s nice to listen to people sing about the same things I go through. It feels like I’m not alone. And sleep is just to restart myself! It’s a nice recharge! I highly recommend it!”

So there you have it. The words of a fellow student and athlete. Hopefully, her advice and personal experience will help people understand that others could be going through the same thing as them, and still stay on top of their work. I hope people use Natalie’s tips and words of encouragement in their lives and keep going. The year is almost half over, let’s try to stay positive in these times and also take time to give yourself a break, everyone needs one.