What does it mean to love yourself? Sometimes we're harder on ourselves than we are on our friends. We may be so caught up in our self-judgment that we can't focus on and appreciate what's in front of us.
Self-love means treating ourselves with kindness and non-judgment. It means telling others what we need. Sometimes this takes the form of setting healthy boundaries with others and telling a friend that we need time by ourselves.
what you're feeling is something that makes us human.
When we tell ourselves that others would feel the same way in this situation, we remind ourselves that our experience matters. This type of self-talk counters feelings of isolation. Acknowledging that others would encounter similar feelings is a way of relating to and finding commonalities with others.
Focus on yourself.
By focusing on what we need, we're able to take care of ourselves. When comparing ourselves, we only witness a snapshot of what others’ lives look on the outside. Unless we know that person well, we don't know what's going on for them personally. When we come across someone with the "perfect " career, we are assuming that everything else in that person's life is "perfect ".
Imagine yourself speaking to your critical voice.
No we're not saying that you're hearing voices! Empathize with yourself. Talk to yourself as though you were giving advice to your friend, "Anyone in your situation would feel that way." By practicing this technique, it will become more natural to use this alternative, more caring tone with yourself.
Observe & Record your thoughts.
It's a lot easier to spiral into more extreme thoughts when we encounter negative thoughts about ourselves. Start by recording these thoughts daily. Then every time we notice that we are having a judgmental thought about ourselves, we are more aware. The next time you encounter a negative thought, see if you can observe your thought without judging it. Notice, "Oh I guess I'm not saying very nice things to myself." Having this perspective creates more distance so that we're less likely to be consumed by our thoughts.
Identify one thing that you're proud of yourself for accomplishing.
When we accomplish something, we might move on and forget to celebrate. Sometimes, we feel no recognition because we do not embrace our past successes.
As an exercise, write down your accomplishments. Be sure to highlight what specific actions that you took and why they are important and meaningful to you.
I’ve always had trouble maintaining a regular sleep schedule. I’m not sure if you feel that your sleep cycle gets off kilter when you go out for a night and then you’re tired for the next few days. After a few more days, you feel sleep-deprived. You can’t seem to wake up at five thirty because you went to bed at two a.m. the previous night. You’re not alone.
1. Meet up For Coffee
Have someone hold you accountable to meet you for coffee or for a walk. You'll have a reason to wake up early and you won't want to miss meeting that person in the morning. Having a friend call you is a bigger motivation. Make it into a fun game where you can try to wake up before the person calls.
2. Remind yourself that you'll be happier
We’re all in a better mood and think more clearly when we get more sleep. Even studies show that college students experience more positive moods and are more extraverted when they get better sleep. Focus on the benefits of getting to bed an hour earlier. If the motivation is coming from within, we are more likely to follow through with the desired behavior.
3. Find a nightly routine
An hour before bed, create a bedtime ritual. Whether that means turning off the lights and getting out your favorite book (on Kindle or in tangible form), do something relaxing on a nightly basis. When you start to do this activity, your body will associate bedtime with this activity.
4. Watch your caffeine intake
I’m definitely guilty of this. We all need our caffeine. If you need your daily cup of coffee, see if you can stop drinking coffee by 3pm. This way, your body has time to rid of the effects of coffee before you go to sleep. Studies show that coffee intake six hours prior to sleep can disrupt sleep quality.
5. Invest in a bedtime tea
Sometimes I think that it’s the act of drinking tea that is calming. In the case that we're trying to get better sleep, avoid caffeine-based teas before bed. Herbal teas including valerian root, chamomile, lavender, and lemon balm can reduce stress and anxiety.
Amsterdam, J.D., Li, Y., Soeller, I., Rockwell, K., Mao, J.J., & Shults, J. (2009). A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral Matricaria recutita (chamomile) extract therapy for generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 29(4): 378-82.
Drake, C., Roehrs, T. Shambroom, J., & Roth, T. (2013). Caffeine effects on sleep taken 0, 3, or 6 hours before going to bed. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 9(11): 1195-1200.
Gray, E.K. & Watson, D. (2002). General and specific traits of personality and their relation to sleep and academic performance. Journal of Personality, 70(2): 177-206.
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