Posted on March 22, 2021 / Matters
Self-love and compassion and their positive effect on mental health and wellbeing
School can at times be extremely challenging for students. Students may feel pressure from workload such as assignments and exams, maintaining a healthy social life and making decisions about the future. It is normal to have difficult periods at school and testing times throughout life, in general.
There are a few things that can be done to ensure that our sense of self, mental health and wellbeing are looked after during these times, such as: self-love and compassion.
Self-love and compassion can be beneficial for many reasons, inclusive of; a rise in self-esteem levels, resilience, increase of connections and strengthening of relationships, improvement in mood and lessened feelings of ‘failure’.
The following will represent four ways to exhibit self-love and compassion towards ourselves. Note; “you are the one person you’ll be with for every moment of your life … [so] self-love and compassion make a HUGE impact on your wellbeing” (Headspace).
Caring for yourself.
Two top ways to look after yourself are:
Participating in physical activity: exercising has numerous mental health benefits, it can be used as a mighty tool to alleviate tensions, worries and anxiety. According to the department of health, young people (aged 13-17 years) should have 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. This could include walking, running and bike riding. Find what works for you and feel the dopamine and serotonin promote positive physical and mental health benefits.
Ensuring you get adequate sleep: multiple studies on sleep have represented that sleep is important for brain function, such as; intellect, attentiveness, general efficiency and functioning. The national sleep foundation has assessed teenagers need 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night. This can also aid in maintaining emotional well-being.
Reassure and comfort yourself.
When going through tough times, remind yourself that it is okay to feel certain ways and emotions. Additionally, that others have experienced similar situations and have progressed through it. Find contentment by being tolerant, supportive and protective with yourself. Imagine how you would treat your closest friend when they’re going through a tough time and do the same with yourself!
Use kind words towards yourself.
Kind words are more effective than harsh. Try to write down positive affirmations about yourself, then progress to reading them out loud and lastly reading them in front of a mirror. I’ll start with one: ‘I’m grateful for my body today as it carried me through a large run I first thought I couldn’t get through’.
Accept it’s okay to not always be perfect at self-love and compassion.
Ensuring and maintaining self-love and compassion is not always getting it right. As humans we make mistakes and an get caught up in things such as; comparisons. When this happens, it is okay to realise we tried our very best and then start again. It may be helpful to acknowledge the comparison out loud or exchange dialogue with your internal critic and challenge the undesirable messages.
To get some other support on self-love and compassion, feel free to access:
- Beyond Blue
- Student Welfare Services: Catie McNamara
Jess Soccio and Andrew Dellafiore.
Student Welfare Services