Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Wellness > Mental Health

StoLife: How to Practice Self-Compassion

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St Olaf chapter.

At the beginning of a semester, it is easy for many college students (Oles especially) to focus on filling and perfecting their new schedules.  As we adjust to new classes and subject material, we also want to catch up with everyone, apply for internship and study abroad opportunities, create a social and mealtime schedule, start a brilliantly consistent workout plan and seem as in-control as possible.  We perfect, we plan ahead and we prepare for the person we want to someday become.  Sadly, in the midst of this seemingly endless cycle, many of us forget to care for our present selves.  While planning and organizing a successful future is important, you should be happy and healthy on the way to that success too.  Here are some ways to practice self-compassion in your daily life and check up on your present self while you’re frantically creating your desired future mold.  Living in the moment and valuing your present existence is vital to happiness, success and overall well-being in the past, present and future.  

1. Physically: Soften the body.

When does your body feel its best?  Care for one of the only things that is completely yours and treat your body with compassion.  Whether its stretching, exercise, yoga, dance, meditation, walking, fresh air, sleep, drinking something warm, taking a shower or bath, etc., the options are endless.  Try not to neglect your physical self when you’re incredibly busy.

2. Mentally and Emotionally: Reduce agitation: sooth and comfort.

What calms you down, slows your thoughts, helps you feel at peace or eliminates stress? Maybe taking your mind off of homework with Netflix, writing, drawing, reading, cleaning or talking would benefit your weekly dose of stress and agitation. Acknowledge your mental and emotional self as important, even if it is not always externally visible or measurable.

3. Relationally: Connect.

Social connection is vital for human survival and well-being.  Ask yourself which relationships or social interactions you benefit from most.  Whether it’s grabbing a meal with friends, listening to or giving advice, going to events or parties or keeping in touch with long-distance friends, make sure to acknowledge the importance of putting down the books or getting out of bed to see your friends.  Connection is much more valuable than grades and percentages.

4. Spiritually: Commit to values.

This category is especially varied for each person.  Spiritual or not, how do you connect to your personal deeper meaning or beliefs about life? It may be through worship, meditation, music, running, yoga, chapel and organized prayer, whatever.  Many people admit that acknowledging a spiritual part of themselves enhances their identity and well-being in a positive way.

Consider these methods and pathways to self-compassion, and shape them to meet your individual needs. XO.

MeditatePlaying pianoFriends