College is many things. It is socializing with different people in every class. It is making plans in between your designated study times. It is stressing over the boy that you talked to on Tinder. It is going to the library only to end up waddling home without anything accomplished. It is getting involved in every club and philanthropy known to man to help build up that resume of yours but most relevantly, it is a hotspot for bad self-esteem and it is not hard to sense that energy around you whether you are eavesdropping on someone’s conversations or stalking their Instagram.
Frankly, we all struggle with self-esteem sometimes. The college lifestyle and the pandemic combined does not make it any easier to find time to be proud of ourselves. I myself used to constantly compare things like my skin color, my clothes, and my weight to my peers around me, even though those people came from completely different backgrounds and lifestyles than me. Even academically, I struggled with feeling like I was significantly more stupid and far behind in academics than everyone else just because I assumed that everyone but me knew what they were doing. I still compare myself sometimes. It is hard to feel like an individual when we are constantly tearing ourselves down. But we only know a small portion of what someone else is going through. Their appearance and success may be a direct result of their personal situations, or maybe not.
It is important to realize that the only person that has your back all the time is you. No one else cares that much about what you do and how you do it. That is why I decided to turn things around. Starting January 2020, I spent an hour or so everyday simply focused on myself and no one else, whether that was exercising, writing poetry at the park, doing my makeup, or going out to coffee all alone. I know it sounds cheesy, but spending time alone healed all the negative thoughts about myself because I became more comfortable with who I was. I started depending less on validation from others and started complimenting myself. However, building up self-esteem and appreciating yourself is no easy task. This is why I, with the help of some amazing college women, have made a list of things that you can actively do to build self-esteem and finally become the most confident version of yourself.
- Start using a planner: I have said it many times in my life and I will say it again: writing down your “to do” list each day can help ease the stress and help you feel in control of your schedule.
- Take one hour of the day to focus on yourself: This is a lifesaver. No matter how busy you are, take one hour, maybe even thirty minutes to do something you love to do. Ex. watching your favorite TV show, working out, eating your favorite ice-cream, etc.
- Writing positive Affirmations & journaling: Take time in the morning to write down what you appreciate about yourself and some other positive comments you want to make. Not only does this remind you of your worth, but it starts the day off with positive thoughts. At night, channel all your feelings and thoughts about the day into your journal and strive for improvement in the coming days.
- Getting ready for yourself: Getting ready in the mornings can be so therapeutic. Put on your favorite makeup essentials, wear that cute outfit and spray a little bit of your best perfume. This is your body, so accessorize with love!
- Deleting Social Media:We all know someone that goes without social media for a few days and starts up again. That someone is me and it can be you too. If you feel like you are starting to compare yourself to others on social media or if it is distracting you from being productive throughout the day, delete it. It isn’t going anywhere!
- Enjoy the weekends: You may have a lot of notes and study material to catch up on during the weekend but designating some time to take a breather can be helpful. Forget school for a couple hours, watch some TV, hang out with people whose company you thoroughly enjoy, and take a break from the pressure.
- Say thank you:Many people forget the importance of thanking our bodies. Nourish it with nutrients that it needs (this may be different for everyone) and treat yourself with kindness. You cannot be confident in yourself if you don’t appreciate yourself. Take a moment and say, “thank you”.
Having control over your life and how you choose to feel is the key to building self-esteem and confidence. Implementing these habits into my life has made me feel much more in control of my actions and feelings and we hope you try them out!