What do you prioritize the most? Within the hustle of a struggling, young adult who is just trying to graduate, some may say their grades, jobs, deadlines, making time for friends and/or significant others is their main priorities – which can sometimes lead us to putting ourselves last. With everything piling up, where do we find the time to put ourselves first?
We try to make time for everything but ourselves, which can be daunting to our mental health. An article from The Wittenberg Torch states how an Ohio State student had committed suicide by throwing themselves off of a parking garage, only several weeks into this year’s school semester. This would then initiate a movement and outrage of prioritizing mental health on campuses.
As we focus on what we should prioritize and focus on, that brings up the topic “self-love.” Why is it so important? As you may know self-love goes hand-in-hand with our self-esteem. The National Alliance on Mental Illnesses explains why self-esteem is so important for mental health. Low self-esteem can be linked to mental health issues and affect us in ways that we may not even recognize such as poor relationships, addiction, and depression and anxiety.
I (as well as I’m sure of many others) can testify that when I’m not feeling my best self or 100% confident, my whole world seems to slowly catch onto the negative energy, which then seems to bring everything else down around me. Like how J.Cole says, “love yours,” it is important to do just that in reference to appreciating what you have, even when times are rough and you’re feeling down. Know that you are enough and worth it.
- Remind yourself that you are enough: When you wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and tell yourself what you love most about you. It may seem silly or weird to some, but it doesn’t hurt to try it. As much as we may focus on the negative and get wrapped around those thoughts, it’s also very important to focus on what you love – what makes you special. This exercise helped me build my confidence in high school. I would look at myself in the mirror everyday and give myself a pep talk around the lines of “you are beautiful, you got this, you can accomplish anything you want.” Saying these positive lines and putting it out into the universe actually can make a huge difference in your day, with improving your mood and creating a healthy mindset.
- Take a break from social media: This is an important one for my generation. In this era, we are constantly comparing ourselves to the next person, especially from what we see on each others social media apps. We have the outlet to showcase our lives in a light that may seem perfect than what it really is. Seeing this constantly on a daily basis can sometimes put a dent on our self-esteem, whether we realize it or not. If you have to, take some time away from social media. Put the phone down for a couple hours and find a hobby that will benefit you. Sometimes even deleting certain apps that consume a large amount of our time (such as Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.) can be beneficial and clear your mind out. This is what some may call taking a “social media cleanse”. In my own experience of deactivating Instagram for pretty much the whole year, I felt a significant relief within my life. I didn’t feel drained anymore and felt free from toxic influences.
- Tell yourself what you’re thankful for: Everyday, name five things that you’re thankful or blessed for. It doesn’t matter how small it may seem. Appreciating and understanding the value of gratitude, can put a lighter touch on your heart. There are many things that we may overlook and take for granted.
- Don’t compare yourself to others: This ties in with taking a break from social media. It’s hard for us to not compare ourselves to the next person, but it’s also important to remember that there is no one else like us and we should use that to our power. Learn to appreciate all of your attributes and characteristics that you offer. One’s life may seem great compared to yours, but we do not know what they may truly be going through behind closed doors. We only see so much and they only choose to expose happy and positive moments, but leave out everything else. Focus on you and do not let the lives or thoughts of others get in your way.
Here below is a video presented by Leo from Actualized.org on the concept of self-esteem and working on ourselves. I highly recommend to check it out.
*If you are having thoughts of suicide please contact 1-800-273-8255 or visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.