Practicing Self-Love Even When Things Get Tough

This week, not going to lie, has been a rough one for me. I have two weeks of homework and other projects that I’m trying to cram into a few days. It seemed simple at the beginning of the week, but as I stare at all of the unchecked boxes on my to-do list, I can’t help but panic.

With getting behind on homework and some not-so-favorable events this week, it’s easy for me to feel discouraged. And when I’m down, it’s not pretty.

Sure, these things may seem frivolous and unimportant, but even the slightest misfortunes can (and do) have devastating effects. It’s as if I enjoy dwelling in self-pity when something goes wrong. These setbacks deplete me of all other motivation, and I just give up. I’m left with another unproductive day of laying around feeling horrible about everything that has happened.

And perhaps you may relate. Unfortunately, many of you probably experience bigger, more damaging challenges in life, but we can all agree: Life kicks our butt sometimes.

When we feel discouraged, it’s easy to blame ourselves. We point out what we should have done or what we could do better. We become upset with ourselves because things aren’t going well. We feel stressed, overwhelmed, and incapable of success. And as a result, we do everything but love ourselves.

But times like these, self-love is most important. We need to be patient with ourselves. Yeah, things may not be going perfectly as planned, but time is still carrying on, and you’re capable of adapting and thriving.

So what can you do when life gets tough? Practice self-love by inviting positivity into your life. It’s so easy for us to ignore the good things in life when something is wrong, but that’s not healthy. Pay attention to every good thing that happens, big and small, and celebrate it. Positivity always has room in your life, and personally, enjoying the good things sound much better than dwelling on the negativity of the moment.
For me, I like to keep a journal in times like these. I had an exam this week that didn’t go so well, and I was really discouraged as a result. I wrote about my negative feelings, followed by some words of encouragement to boost my mood. For each negative thing I write about, I write three positive things, and that really helps.

That leads me to my next point. When you practice self-love, address yourself. This can be, but doesn’t have to be, a journal entry. Whatever you do, communicate and heal with a  “dear self” approach. Talk yourself through the situation as if you’re talking to a loved one. Use gentle, uplifting words, rather than condemning, negative words. Be kind to yourself, and offer yourself guidance. You’ve lived your life and know it more than anyone else, so that puts you in the perfect position to give and receive self-advice.

And the last thing I will discuss about self-love in difficult times is taking care of your health, not just mentally, but physically. When things go wrong, our body is the last thing we think about taking care of. Get your mind off of things by doing something your body loves. Take a warm bath, do some yoga, treat yourself to a smoothie. Do something kind for your body.

And lastly, relax. Don’t less stress and anxieties consume you. Life may feel overwhelming, but I promise you are stronger than whatever challenge comes your way. You have control, and you will get through it. Be mindful of what’s healthy and not. It’s okay to be upset or worried, but it’s not healthy to let those emotions completely consume you. Keep them in check, and always leave room for the positive. Enjoy the good things that happen, and celebrate your progress. Practice self-love until it becomes all that you are.

I wish you all a happy rest of your semester.

Cheers,

Mara

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