High school and college are two of the most difficult steps young people experience on the way to actual adulthood. Both are filled with so many great memories, but they can also carry a lot of self-doubt, external drama, and sometimes, negative thoughts. It’s important to combat this negativity with kindness. Here are 10 ways to be kind to yourself this school year:
1. Go Outside
Going outside is so beneficial in the sense that it gives you time to collect your thoughts and enjoy the scenery around you. It helps relieve stress and makes you feel more in touch with yourself. Personally, I like going on late night walks to help keep some of my emotions in check. They help me calm down if I’m mad. Just make sure that if you are going out at night, you go with a group of friends. Not only does it give you a chance to vent, but it’s also much safer, especially on college campuses.
2. Start A Skincare Routine
This one may seem a little odd, but skincare is a simple something everyone can do to relieve stress. On a college budget, it may seem difficult to get a routine started, but all you really need is a cleanser, a good moisturizer, and maybe some facemasks. You can go to any convenience store and find products that are cheap and efficient, or check out how to make these homemade facemasks. My favorite thing to do is use face masks because they really hydrate your face, and it’s a refreshing feeling. It’s also really nice after a long day to use one and get to relax for 15-30 minutes.
3. Pay Attention To Personal Hygiene
One of the best ways to be kind to yourself is by taking care of yourself. This includes anything from taking showers regularly to doing laundry and cleaning your room. These may seem like very obvious and odious tasks, but when you have classes, a job, and social life, it can be extremely hard to juggle some of them. Showers are good for relaxing, thinking, and planning (oddly enough), and you almost always feel better afterward. As far as laundry and cleaning goes, there’s something therapeutic about the process of folding and sanitizing a room. Having a clean room is also good for your mental health. When there’s less chaos around you, you feel more at ease.
4. Make A Positivity Mirror
This is actually something I learned last year. Many people struggle with negative thoughts about themselves and a mentor of mine taught me a good way to counteract those thoughts. Whenever you have a negative thought about yourself, get a sticky note and write the opposite of what you were thinking, and place it on a mirror. For example, if you are thinking “I don’t feel attractive today,” you would write “I am beautiful” on the sticky note. After a while, you will end up with a mirror full of compliments to yourself, and the more you see them, the more you start to believe them.
By being kind to others, you’re also being kind to yourself. If you have the time or ability to, volunteering can be a non-stressful way to help others as well as yourself. Personally, I love going to the animal shelter and walking the dogs as well as feeding the cats. You have the opportunity to give love to the animals and have it reciprocated because their love is unconditional. If animal shelters aren’t your thing, you can also volunteer at a homeless shelter, a women’s shelter, or even volunteer by tutoring other students who may be struggling in a class. Be sure to check out volunteer opportunities on campus or near you via Idealist.org! Each have their own benefits, and I highly recommend it because it feels good to do good.
6. Take A Personal Day
Sometimes it can be overwhelming to constantly have plans and keep busy all while trying to keep your grades up. This goes for both high schoolers and college students. Taking a personal day can be beneficial because it gives you a chance to decompress. It especially helps for those who are a bit more introverted because it can be exhausting to constantly have to socialize. You can take a bath and get some bath bombs going, watch your favorite show, or even get some homework done. Do whatever helps you take a step back from a busy schedule.
7. Exercise And Eat Healthy
Most people dread the thought of these, but both help the way your body and mind feels. Exercising can be anything from taking a walk to light yoga and meditation to the hardcore gym routines. Whatever works for you, and it can be anything that gets you up and moving. As far as eating healthy goes, this can be extremely hard to do on a college campus or in a school cafeteria. Try adding a fruit or vegetable to your meals just to add some extra nutrients to your diet, drinking a protein shake, or invest in healthy snacks, such as nutrition bars.
8. Spend Time With Family And Friends
Spending time with family and friends can be a good source of socialization and can cheer you up if you’re not in the best mood. A lot of people in college get incredibly homesick and going home is just what they need to feel better, and they even do better in school once they come back from a visit. It can be a nice refresher. If you can’t go home, spending quality time with friends is great for generating a ton of laughter and is even good for when you need to vent about something. Remember, there is always someone to turn to. If you need someone to talk to, try reaching out to a counseling service on campus or contact a trained crisis counselor at Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
9. Attend A School Club Meeting
If your schedule isn’t too full, going to clubs can be a great way of getting out of your room and finding people with similar interests as you. Both college and high school have a wide variety of clubs for a wide variety of interests. Some even involve doing service acts while others are just for fun. And if you can’t find a club you’re interested in, try starting your own!
10. Don’t Stress The Little Things
This is so much easier said than done, but it is vital in keeping your stress and anxiety levels low. Things will go wrong, but stressing over it might make the situation worse. Have a backup plan just in case. If you said something and it came out wrong, chances are, if you apologize, everything will work out. Overthinking will cause unnecessary stress. I struggle with this as well, but keeping a positive mindset about things is your best bet in keeping your mind healthy.