Being a student can be a lot of work. Between balancing academics, a job, social life, and family obligations, it leaves little time to take care of your mental health.
We’ve put together some tips that can help you transform the way you think about academics and yourself to help boost your confidence.
1. Remove the word ‘should’ from your vocabulary.
We often beat ourselves up by saying things like:
‘I should be studying more.’
‘I should be getting better grades.’
‘I should be balancing my life better.’
Here’s the thing: no one has it all figured out. Just because someone is doing it one way doesn’t mean it will work for you too. So saying that you "should" be doing something a certain way could be setting yourself up for failure.
Instead, try being kinder to yourself and give yourself more grace. Rather than saying ‘should,’ try saying, ‘It’s okay that I’m struggling academically. I will work hard to pull my grades up.’ Doesn’t that sound so much better than ‘I should have better grades.’?
2. Treat yourself like a good friend.
If you were talking with a friend, you’d be very encouraging to them when they are going through a rough time. You would be there to support them and lift them up, not tear them down. So why is it okay for you to tear yourself down?
Education Weekly suggests practicing distance talk. Distance talk consists of using your name when thinking about things rather than the words 'I,' 'me,' or 'my'. Instead, take a step back, see yourself as a good friend, and decide how you would talk to that person.
When you find yourself being a bully to yourself, stop and take a moment to be kind instead. Be encouraging and uplifting, and you’ll be amazed how it changes the way you feel about yourself. When you change your mindset to treating yourself as a good friend, you begin to support yourself more and likely find yourself succeeding more. Be your own cheerleader!
3. Validation is key
This is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.
Saying things like:
‘I am feeling stressed about an exam coming up. That’s okay and normal to feel before a big test. I think it would be wise for me to take a 5-minute break, take some deep breaths to calm down, and return to studying.’
“I’m feeling overwhelmed when trying to balance work and school. It makes sense that I feel overloaded. Maybe I need to prioritize my schedule so that it works better for me.”
Validation will help you be kinder to yourself and understand the feelings you are having.
4. Feel your emotions
It’s okay to be stressed, sad, or mad. These aren’t negative emotions. They are simply emotions that need to be felt. If we don’t allow ourselves to feel them, they will manifest in other ways that could kick you in the butt later.
Pushing down certain emotions will likely cause them to arise later, in a much bigger way. So allowing yourself to feel them and move through them will help you move on and concentrate on what’s ahead.
Most schools offer free mental health tools and therapy with professionals. Take advantage of these resources so that you can better understand yourself and how to manage your emotions. There is no shame in getting therapeutic help. Think of it like going to the doctor for a regular check up, you should be doing the same for your mental health.
5. Find tools to make your life easier, not harder.
When you’re juggling so many different things as a student, it’s essential to prioritize your work and to work smarter, not harder.
Finding academic tools to help ease the stress of homework is a great way to minimize your work. PhotoStudy is a great tool that offers 24/7 online tutoring in a variety of STEM subjects. When you’re doing homework late at night and stuck on a problem, your teacher isn’t available to answer any questions, but PhotoStudy Tutors are there, ready to help.
All you have to do is snap a photo of the homework problem you’re working on, and you’ll be connected to a tutor in 5-30 seconds. The PhotoStudy app uses a simple texting platform that allows you to communicate with the tutor. If you’re feeling stuck on a similar problem later, you can look back at the text conversation between you and the tutor to review the concept.
Using academic tools like PhotoStudy can help minimize the stress of schoolwork and help give you more time to focus on your mental health.