Starting postgraduate study is an exciting time. It can also be a challenging time, and when you add in the fact that we are currently in the midst of a pandemic, it can seem like a daunting task.
You, and your fellow students, are now finishing your first month of study, and you hopefully feel a little more settled. You may also be experiencing feelings of homesickness, worry or even stress. You may be asking yourself if you are the only one experiencing this; ‘Am I the only one who is thinking and feeling this way?’
The answer of course is a big, fat no.
It’s highly likely that many of our thoughts have been had by others. Your worries and wonderments have very likely been thought by your peers. You can rest assured that you are not the only one who feels the way you feel or thinks the way you think.
Talk to your fellow students; talk to your family; talk to your friends. An important thing to remember is to:
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Below you will discover some ways to be kind to yourself, it may be that all of these resonate with you, or only one or two. Whatever the case, it is important to remember, do whatever makes you happy.
1) Carve out some time for yourself. Do something that brings you joy, perhaps that would be drawing, writing, playing a musical instrument or a video game, anything that you love to do. Be kind to yourself by giving yourself some ‘me time’ each day.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted” – The Lion and the Mouse by Aesop
2) Give yourself recognition. We are quick to acknowledge the achievements of others but often forget to acknowledge our own. Become aware of your own achievements and give yourself recognition, for starters, you are here in AgriFoRwArdS! When you do something you are proud of, take the time to dwell on that, praise yourself.
“The moment where you doubt you can fly, you cease forever being able to do it.” Peter Pan by JM Barrie
3) Cultivate your inner advocate. We all have that little voice inside our head which is quick to judge and it always ready with a put down. Cultivate the other voice in your head, the one which defends you and is always ready to present arguments on your behalf. Tell yourself ‘I am enough’.
“All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.” – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
4) Forgive yourself. We all mess up. If you are angry at yourself, you need to show yourself kindness, stop blaming yourself. Give yourself a moral boost by reminding yourself of your past successes. Resolve to do better next time, and forgive yourself.
“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we trule are, far more than our abilities” – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling
5) Take good care of yourself. Get enough sleep, eat fruits and vegetables and get some form of regular exercise. Be proud of who you are.
“If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely” – The Twits by Roald Dahl
6) Respect yourself. Self-respect is valuing who you are, and not allowing others to dictate your value. Trust yourself, think for yourself, form your own opinions and make your own decisions. Self-respect is about keeping your promises to yourself and following through on what you tell yourself you’re going to do.
“But then I realized, what do they really know? This is MY idea, I thought. No one knows it like I do. And it’s okay if it’s different, and weird, and maybe a little crazy” – What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada
7) Treat yourself. If you see something you really want, treat yourself. Its not about shopping therapy, or consumerism. It just about giving something to yourself.
“‘Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’ ‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.'” – Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
8) Soothe yourself. If you have had a tough day do whatever you need to do to soothe yourself (perhaps a hot chocolate with marshmallows, a good book, dancing). No ones knows how to soothe you better than you.
“There should be a place where only things you want to happen, happen” – Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
9) Remind yourself of your good qualities. Maybe you are not totally happy with yourself, who is?! But maybe you have a good sense of humour, are great at maths or can roll your tongue. Always remind yourself of your good qualities, no matter how small.
“Promise me you’ll remember, you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think – Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
10) Honour your dreams. Don’t downplay your dream by labelling them as ‘silly fantasies’. Take your dreams seriously by turning them into goals and creating a plan for achieving those goals.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose” – Oh, The Places You’ll go! by Dr. Seuss
11) Show yourself compassion. The best way to feel compassion for yourself is to imagine that someone you love is feeling hurt; what would you say to them? how would you treat them? how would you reassure them? how would you make them feel cared for and loved? Now, do that for yourself.
“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” – Happy Birthday to You! by Dr Seuss
12) Believe in yourself. Have faith in your own abilities and your own judgement. Think highly of yourself.
“Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child, Listen to the DON’TS Listen to the SHOULDN’TS The IMPOSSIBLES, the WONT’S Listen to the NEVER HAVES Then listen close to me – Anything can happen, child, ANYTHING can be.” – Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.
13) Accept yourself. You have strengths and you have weaknesses. Sometimes you will succeed and sometimes you may fail. Sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re wrong. Allow yourself to fully be who you are.
“I know you’ll be kind… and clever… and bold. And the bigger your heart, the more it will hold. When nights are black and when days are gray – you’ll be brave and be bright so no shadows can stay. And become anybody that you’d like to be. And then I’ll look at you and you’ll look at me and I’ll love you, whoever you’ve grown up to be.” – The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin
There is one person who will always be there, and that’s yourself, make sure you are a good companion for yourself. Live your best life by being kind to yourself.