This month, I want to push you all to do something that’s really difficult. With midterms behind us and the end of the semester approaching, it’s easy to become so engrossed in school that we forget take care of ourselves. This is a time where it’s easy to start beating ourselves up and be overly critical about every action we have taken throughout the semester. I am three years into my college career and I am still making mistakes all the time. Sometimes I miss class. Sometimes I don’t do as well on a test as I would’ve hoped. Sometimes I neglect studying because I just want to have fun. Sometimes I nod off in class. It seems that I find myself remembering the things I have done wrong throughout the semester more often than the things I’ve done correctly. This is easy to do, as we are all our own worst critics, but today I want to challenge you to stop. Stop beating yourself up! We are all humans, we all make mistakes. Instead of tearing yourself down, ask yourself what you can do in that moment to bring your confidence back up. The world is mean enough, there’s no reason for you to be mean to yourself!
To help us all learn how to be nicer to ourselves (including me), here are 5 tips and explanations from Psychology Today that can help guide us with practicing self care and kindness:
1. Focus more on positive self-talk.
Make a conscious effort to stop putting yourself down. To do that, you need to be more aware of your negative self-talk, those jabbing comments that you make to yourself. Compliment yourself on the things you do well; acknowledge your achievements, no matter how small. Make a list at the end of each day of 5 things you did well, that made you happy, or that you are proud of doing. Write these down and then read them to yourself (out loud if possible) before you go to bed. This won’t eliminate all negative thinking, but if you can tip the scales toward the positive, it will help keep your energy up.
2. Practice kindness towards yourself.
Being kind to yourself is just as important as being kind to others. Here's a rule: Things that you would never say to your loved ones, either out of consideration or for the fear that you might offend them, should never be said to yourself, either. Imagine the amount of suffering it would cause others to hear these things from you, and realize that you are hurting yourself just as much.
3. Stop comparing yourself to others.
There is always going to be someone better than you at something. There will be those who are not as proficient as you, too. If you tend to compare yourself to someone who is the best at what they do, you may be playing a losing game. We play so many roles throughout our lives that it’s impossible to be better than the other 7 billion human beings at everything. Accept the fact that you are not perfect, and focus on being the best version of yourself.
4. Think of mistakes as learning opportunities.
Life is an unending process of self-improvement, and mistakes are unavoidable. It truly is a journey, and just like the longest road trip would involve some mistaken turns, so does your life. You have many great qualities and many areas for improvement. See those mistakes as opportunities: They show you what you need to work on to become the best you can be.
5. Be patient with yourself.
It takes time to correct the harmful habits that you have had for most of your life, especially deep-rooted ones like self-criticism. Considerable effort is required to change the way you think and to foster positive self-talk to get to the calmer, more reasonable you. Your life is a work in progress, so commit each day to doing something positive for you. Practice until being naturally good to yourself becomes more comfortable. Most important, don’t beat yourself up when you don’t do it as well as you ‘should.’” - Psychology Today
I hope these tips have helped you learn new ways to be kind to yourself. Please practice self kindness and remember- You got this! You are amazing, smart, and can accomplish anything you put your mind to. Have a great rest of your semester.
***(Remember to reach out to our committee directors if you ever need anything, and also to attend our committee meetings on Wednesdays at 3:30PM in the SAC room 305!)
Mental and Physical Health is dedicated to creating and implementing programming and service opportunities that help to improve, develop, and educate on the health of all students and community members.
Co-Director: Afi Tagnedji
Co-Director: Jenna Tinnell