It’s been almost two months since I posted on here, but I’ve finished my second year at University (exciting – bring on final year, however nerve-wracking it be!), so you should see me blogging more often over the next few months.
I know that schools, sixth forms, colleges, and even universities will still be making their way through the academic year though, so as well as picking up this blog again, I thought I would write a post containing tips for students and teachers to help manage stress and self-esteem. This post will be a pick-me-up for them (hence, the title of this post – I love ambiguity).
The five tips I’m about to list are some I use/ have used myself, as we all get stressed, and I used to struggle with self-esteem, a lot, when I was much younger. This list is by no means exhaustive or definitive though, as you, or somebody you know, might have different methods. These are here to increase awareness, because I think it can be all-too-easy to hide stress or self-esteem issues.
1). I cannot overstate the importance of keeping in contact with people. A family member, a friend, a teacher, a personal tutor, a colleague, your doctor, a support service offered by your school/college/sixth form/ university (for students, this includes anyone from the school nurse to the person in charge of student welfare, and for teachers this includes human resources), a phone service… anybody you can trust. Talking about problems really can help, and though it might feel awkward at first, it’s worth it. There is no shame in asking for help – any good person will help you, even if it’s just to direct you onto somebody who they think can give you better advice. If the person/ people you talk to can advise you and support you, that is fantastic. If they know you personally, then they will also know your interests, and things to talk about with you that will make you happy. Acknowledging and addressing issues, but also focussing on positive things, makes for a good mind-set.
2). Surround yourself with positivity – whether it’s one of the people mentioned above, or something with a positive quote, small things that make you smile can really help. For example, one of my friends recently gifted me with a tiny book full of positive quotes – it’s so wonderful that I intend to keep it forever, and put it in my bag so that I get a little inspirational quote every day. It makes me smile, and it helps with determination. Something as simple as a few positive words, whether that’s reading them, saying them out loud, or writing them down, can buoy you up.
3). When you’re stressed, take breaks from the source of your stress. Trust me when I say that over-working really doesn’t help. Neither does under-working- you need to strike the balance right. Breaks help refresh your mind. Also, a problem I have with work is that I aim to make it ‘right’. I aim for perfection. But perfection is a construct, it’s not observable. I think we need to remind ourselves sometimes that we are human.
4). Maintain a good diet to keep your brain and body in good condition, and make sure you get enough sleep to keep your energy levels up. Nothing is worth neglecting your health.
5). Be deliberately positive. Right now, you might be thinking, ‘Jessica, how is that possible when I’m stressed or feeling low in confidence? I want to be positive, but I’m not right now.’ It does sound rather strange, but if you pretend that you’re confident, you might actually start to feel that way. Worrying that you’re not doing good enough, or working quick enough, etc.? Tell yourself you are, tell yourself ‘I am doing this, I can do this, I am good, and I can achieve!’ Repeat as often as you like/ need. For example, I used to hate giving presentations – I was terrified that I would look strange, sound strange, and bore my audience. Then, when I had to give a presentation a couple of years ago, I told myself, ‘You know this. Go pretend you’re that singer you listen to, the one who exudes confidence when they walk around on the stage.’ I did, and it helped greatly. You might not reckon I had such confidence problems when I was younger, because I even did a video-blog last year and I’m a Student Ambassador for my University: it’s my job to represent my University alongside other Student Ambassadors, and talk to prospective students and encourage them to aspire. It’s not to say that I’m confident all of the time – I have my down days. What’s important is that you find a way to pick yourself up, and head in a positive direction. When you’re positive, and you express that, you can make other people feel positive too. How fantastic is that?
Thank you for reading my post today! As always, please feel free to let me know what you think, I appreciate every comment.