A graphic of a woman painting.

Habits That Helped My Personal Growth

As I reach the halfway point of my journey as a college student, I can’t help but reflect on how far I’ve come. I also can’t help but wonder -- how did I do it? Through navigating the bumpy road that is college, I have curated my top ten habits I have developed that have done wonders for my mental health and personal growth. While these habits may seem miniscule and blasé, over the course of my teens and into my twenties I have begun to lay the foundation into a more peaceful end to my college years.

  1. 1. Give Yourself Credit

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    Being a college student is hard. Being a woman is hard. Don’t be afraid to step back for a second and remind yourself that it is absolutely okay to feel like you can’t do it all. Instead of thinking about what you can’t do, remind yourself how much you have done for both yourself and others. Often times we fail to realize all the good in ourselves and spend more time focusing on what we need to improve on or ‘fix’. Give yourself credit for even getting up today and trying your hardest to accomplish your daily goals.

  2. 2. Cut Down on Social Media

    phone with social media displayed on screen

    We all know that half of what we see on social media is heavily edited, but we don’t realize how easy it is to become consumed by it all and to compare yourself to others. Not only does it alter our mentality, but it also seems to make time disappear! One minute you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed, and the next it’s 11 pm and you have an incomplete essay due tomorrow. Try to limit your time on apps such as Instagram and talk to some real people. In a world dominated by technology, have some quality time with good friends and family who lift your spirits and make you smile. Cutting down on social media also helps you to manage your academic workload and keep up with your daily schedule.

  3. 3. Give Yourself Space

    I don’t know about you, but my social battery runs out pretty fast. From going back and forth to my classes to hanging out with friends throughout the week, life gets hectic! Take some time out of your day for yourself to just be alone with your thoughts. I love to take a hot bath with lots of bubbles, do a face mask and watch films that make me laugh. Doing this has made me enjoy my own company, and helps me get less overwhelmed with my day-to-day life and responsibilities.

  4. 4. Do Something You Love

    Cameron Smith-Girl Smile Happy Colorado Travel Mountains Hiking Trees

    Along with enjoying your own company, you should always take the time to do something you really love. You don’t realize how much this can make your day until you’re doing it! Love the outdoors? Take a walk around the neighbourhood. Big foodie? Discover new spots to dine in your area. With all our responsibilities, it can be very difficult to focus on ourselves. Designate a time of day once or twice during the week to focus on a passion of yours that makes your day better.

  5. 5. Don’t Be Afraid To Be Authentic

    What are the odds of you being you? About 1 in 400 trillion. Why not celebrate it? Being your true, authentic self without caring what others think makes a huge impact on your self-esteem and growth. I like to take a moment to think about what I love about myself and what makes me so unique to the world; everything from my heritage to the fact that I can make a clover with my tongue. The journey of personal growth begins with loving who you are. Give it a try.

  6. 6. Talk About It

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    Sometimes it feels like no one really gets it, and it seems like you’re the only one going through your situation. However, this often fails to be true. Something that has helped me in working through my problems is reaching out to a person I can trust and depend on. Once I did this and discovered that they completely understood how I feel, the world didn’t feel so lonely. Reaching out to a good friend to talk about your problems can make a big difference on your mood, mindset, and mentality. Ask a friend out for coffee and catch up on everything from the new episode of Love Island, to the class you’re taking that’s stressing you out. The world won’t feel so heavy on your shoulders.

  7. 7. Write it Out

    It’s not always easy to reach out to someone, especially when it comes to talking about something personal. Often times I find it easier to write down how I feel, whether it be as a journal entry or an honest reflection of my emotions. Either way, writing down everything that you feel can open a new perspective on whatever journey you are on. Whether you’re working on your body image or trying to establish a new routine for yourself, writing down how you feel on a daily basis not only helps you pinpoint what you’re feeling, but gives you the opportunity to look back at your writing as you progress in your journey.

  8. 8. Take an Artistic Approach

    Brush Painting Color Paint

    Not only is writing a great creative output for your feelings, but so is drawing and all things musical! Creating something utilizing your own talent helps you not only reflect on your emotions, but enjoy some quality time with yourself. Why not draw something you’re inspired by or create music you love? Using yourself as an inspiration, you can create something beautiful and grow in the process.

  9. 9. Try Something New

    Kayla Bacon-Surfing Summer In Water

    I’ve always been afraid to pick up a new hobby simply because I tend to be shy around new people, and I have a big fear of embarrassing myself in front of people. Because of this, I was very nervous to join Her Campus as it was the middle of the academic year and I knew no one in the club. Fast-forward to the present time: I’m a month into joining the Her Campus Rutgers group and already loving feeling a part of a team and writing what I want to write about. Although trying something new can be daunting, you may find that you meet some amazing people and gain some tremendous skills along the way.

  10. 10. Seek Further Resources

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    We’re all human. We all hurt. And sometimes, we need some extra help. If you’re struggling with your mental health and it is particularly affecting your day-to-day life, there is absolutely no shame in seeking professional help. Contact your school’s counselling center, or give any of these hotlines below a call.

    National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255 National Eating Disorders Centre Helpline: (800) 931-9595 Substance and Mental Health Services Administration Helpline: (800) 662-4357

    Need help but not in a crisis? Search for ‘Warmline’ in your browser, select your state, and call the toll free number to talk to a counsellor.

Personal growth is not an overnight process; it’s a journey that varies from one individual to the next. All in all, the most important thing that you can do for yourself is to love yourself. This takes a lot of practice and mistakes, which leads to growth. Now go out there and be unapologetically and unforgettably you!