I'll admit it. Between a break up, cracked car wind shield, lost (and thankfully found!) wallet...I've recently had my share of stress. Considering the approaching avalanche of finals week, most college students can probably relate.
According to the common saying, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Only, in my case, the tough should get going on embracing self love...
...with some help from the five tips I've relied on during these last couple weeks.
1. First, talk it out. It's true that sometimes living with four girls can be tiring. (Can someone overdose on estrogen? Maybe we're the case study to find out). But if you ever need a place to vent, our apartment is it!
Talking out your frustrations or stresses validates that your worries are worth spending time discussing. Talking to people can prove that you aren't alone, but talking to yourself out loud, in a journal, or while meditating is just as effective. All that matters is taking time to reflect and express your feelings.
|No shoes, no worries...|
2. Next, say yes to new - even uncertain - opportunities. When you've experienced a loss or are under a lot of stress, saying "no" comes naturally. You don't have the time, energy, or even the optimism needed.
But in these last weeks, I've said "yes" to friend dates to the farmers market. To thrift shopping and eating raw, vegan and gluten free quesadillas. To long walks alongside the cliffs with old and new friends. And to girls' nights doing nothing but watching stupid movies and talking about everything we usually don't have the time - or space - to say. And you know what? I've loved every second of it.
|A few snaps from lately...|
(Even freezing while listening to the waves hit the cliffs at night. And especially when ironically watching the hilarious movie "Yes Man" with a friend).
3. At the same time, give yourself permission to be alone. As someone who has gone from being in a relationship (and therefore spending a lot of time with one person) to being single, I definitely need my time with friends a couple nights a week.
Other nights, though? I just want to rock some silly PJs, enjoy a night snack and do homework with Netflix playing in the background. And that's okay. It doesn't make you a boring hermit; it does give you time to reflect, relax and learn how to love being by yourself.
|Scarily accurate considering all my recent walks...|
Especially in college, the fear of "missing out" often taints the enjoyment of being alone. But you can't love yourself without spending a lot of quality time with "me, myself and I."
4. One of the hardest tips? View your diet and exercise through loving eyes. Stress often invades people's diet and exercise in a couple of ways: through comfort (over) eating and avoiding the gym, avoiding food and sweating out stress, or a mixture of the two.
While all of these behaviors can prove problematic, however, I think the worse reaction is actually over analyzing your habits.
Instead, recognize your typical responses. Personally, I know I lose my appetite and over-exercise. By keeping that in mind, I can spend less time worrying about whether I'm eating "right" or following the "perfect" routine and more on adding extra snacks or watching out for weight loss. I can recognize that larger-than-usual night snacks are more from needing more calories than emotional eating - though, if I need some edible comfort, I can accept that, at times, that's okay too!
|Something like this each night...|
Because the goal, especially during hard times, isn't to judge your diet and exercise routine. It's to observe, consider what could be improved, and accept today's "normal" anyway.
5. Finally, make small goals each day with one big goal to look forward to. My amazing roomie encouraged me to create a bucket list of activities for us to do together, and it now hangs in our bathroom wall. Not only does it remind me of the fun things we've done, but it keeps me excited about things to come.
My big goal right now? Survive the last two weeks of this college semester! Little goals? More cliff-side walks with friends. More edible adventures. And more silly memes to share with my silly sister. Little goals let you feel accomplished - and before you know it, you've slayed your big one!
|That sea and sky...|
These last couple weeks haven't been easy, but they did force me to move "self love" to the top of my to do list. And perhaps that is the most important tip for self love: recognizing that you need it. You deserve it.
And you'll love it.
*Also found at RunningwithSpoon's link party!*
How do you engage in self love during stressful times? What is your most important tip? Comment below!