As we’ve reached halfway through the semester, it’s time to check in on yourself and your stress levels. It’s common for students under stress to have negative thoughts. It’s college, of course you’re going to be stressed. But here’s a little secret; you are doing a lot better than you think you are. So why is this, and how can we improve our self-esteem? Follow these 10 tips and you’ll be on your way to better days!
Give Yourself A Break
Making mistakes is inevitable. No one is perfect. Ask yourself what you can learn from difficult experiences and how you can use that experience to fuel your successes. And at the end of the day, pat yourself on the back, because you are doing the best you can.
Carve Out Some “ME” Time
Nurturing yourself is one of the surefire ways to decrease stress and anxiety. For some this is easier than others. But it matters. You matter! Whether it’s watching a movie, putting on a facemask, lighting a candle, going to the gym, listening to music etc. Do what is relaxing to you. Eating and sleeping well also helps with this. And bring those cortisol levels down!
Write Out Positive Self-Affirmation Notes
Jot down some uplifting statements about yourself, even if you don’t believe them. I am beautiful. I am handsome. I am intelligent. Write down on sticky notes and place in areas you see daily. Maybe it’s the bathroom mirror or the door you exit every morning. Find a place you see every day and then flood it with self-affirmation. The key to succeeding starts with believing in yourself. And that belief is built through repetition and time.
Spend Time With People You Enjoy
It goes without saying, you become who you hang out with. Life is too short to let toxic people run your life. You don’t have control of everything, but you do have control of who you let into your life. You are the captain of your boat, don’t let other people steer. People who treat you poorly are not worth your time. And if you have doubts, don’t worry! You will get there in time. Trust the process and the journey that is this life. Bad experiences and relationships give way for better ones in the future.
Celebrate the Small Stuff
You don’t have to climb a mountain or win an award to be successful. Life is hard and everyone is on a different journey. Find small goals to accomplish and then celebrate them. Even if it’s getting out of bed for the day, that’s an accomplishment. Or completing an assignment- also an accomplishment Be gentle on yourself, and suddenly the world looks like a brighter place.
Help Others When Possible
When we reach outside of ourselves, it feels good. We feel good. Now with Covid, this can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Literally anything can help. Saying hello to someone, donating to a local charity or cause you believe in, or just listening when someone is struggling. You don’t have to plan it out. Trust your gut that you are in the right place at the right time. You could be the reason someone’s day gets better. And that feeling is priceless.
Learn To Say No
You don’t have to say yes to everything- you can say no. Establishing boundaries with the people around us is healthy. When you say yes to everything, you wear yourself thin and become overburdened, which leads to increased stress and anxiety. You don’t need that. You have enough going on as it is. So protect your sanity. If it feels like too much, just say no. Stand up for yourself, because you are worth it!
Talk To Yourself Like You Talk To Your Best Friend
When it comes to positive self-talk, our worst enemy is ourselves. While you think you’re fat the person next to you thinks you’re skinny. We hold a microscope up to ourselves. Try talking to yourself the way you talk to your best friend. Would you tell your best friend that they’re ugly, or not working hard enough, they’re dumb or never going anywhere in life? Of course not, because those are all hurtful comments and would damage the relationship. Melanie Matthews, Student Support Manager at SCTCC shares “Be nice to yourself because you are your own best friend. Remember that you are the most loyal and trustworthy person of your own self, and that is forever.”
Stop Negative Thoughts
It can be hard to fight to fight negative thoughts. The Mayo Clinic offers 4 simple steps to put those thoughts to a halt.
First Identify the Problem: Ask yourself what am I feeling and why am I feeling it?
Recognize it: Accept what you are feeling and why you are feeling it.
Examine your thought pattern: Look at what caused you to feel what you are feeling, and the thoughts that came as a result of it.
Rework your beliefs about yourself: Not all thoughts are true. But if we think the same thing enough times, we begin to believe it. So quit being negative with yourself! No one said it’s going to be easy, but you deserve to be happy in life.
When In Doubt, Pose it Out
So you are feeling lousy about yourself. Try holding one of these power poses for 30 seconds: hands on your hips, arms raised in a V above your head. The main thing is to make your body as big and open as possible. Avoid closed or crouched body language. Studies shown when you adopt an expansive posture, it makes you feel more powerful.
Sometimes struggles with self-esteem have to do with a chemical imbalance in the brain. It’s okay to talk to someone. There are trained therapists for this exact reason. Going to see someone doesn’t make you less of a person, it just makes you human.
Remember there is no one like you. So embrace that and just BE YOU. The right people will accept you for who you are. Don’t try to be someone you are not. Keep studying and working toward that degree. You are going places!