I have done a lot to create the life I want + start living it, my 2 biggest pieces of advice are to take control of your mindset + truly learn to love yourself indefinitely. My college years have been the hardest years of my life, but these 2 mottos have been my saving grace.
You really have no say over what happens to you, but you can always control how you react & how you let it affect you. You can either be a victim of what happens to you, and further feed into the negativity OR you can use it as motivation to overcome it and become a stronger better you. My 2nd and 3rd year of college were a dark time and my life and I was going through PTSD, depression, and anxiety as a result of sexual assault. At one point, I decided “I am going to be happy again” and do everything in my power to change the way I was thinking & to stop the unhappiness cycle. I shifted my mindset. I started going to therapy and a gratitude journal. Writing 3 small things (or more) I am grateful for every single night and suddenly I became so much happier. I naturally started to appreciate all the good things in my life again instead of seeing the bad. It may seem quirky, but I promise you it works.
Another aspect of my mindset change was learning that I do have the power to control my anxiety because I am the one in charge. I think we all know what it is like to have a panic attack that suddenly spirals out of control a little bit, right? I learned to separate myself from those thoughts, because they are not me and recognize that it is only temporary, so it will pass if I remain calm. Things can only get to you if you let them.
Self-love is a much more complex concept than people make it out to be & I strongly believe stretches out to all aspects of your life. It’s about caring for your mind, body, + soul to the deepest level. The more you love yourself, the more positive energy you radiate, and the more beneficial people you will attract to you. Of course the same holds true for the opposite. 2 years ago, I went on a self-proclaimed “self-love journey” and I really learned a lot about myself + creating my own happiness. The first step to learning to truly love myself was when I started a little ritual in the morning where I would look in the mirror everyday and flood myself with compliments. The more I said good things, the more I believed it. I re-gained a lot of confidence. I learned to kick a habit that was triggering because of the trauma I went through-- drinking alcohol. I haven’t drank in a year and a half and never will. Because of what happened to me I feel safer when I have full control. This was one of the most empowering things I have done for myself and really elevated my mental health. It also taught me to be more confident with myself because when I go out, I don’t have any “artificial confidence”, I have to be 100% myself. During this time I learnt that no matter what, you need to make time for things you enjoy period. I discovered that I had a love for yoga & distance running. Not just for the way they make my body feel, but my mind too. I feel like my mind shuts off when I am doing both. These have been HUGE in dealing with my anxiety & stress levels. Working out is great (duh), but you need to find what it is that you actually look forward to doing and view it as a privilege, not an obligation. Exercise is an amazing way to invest in yourself, deal with stress & release happy endorphins.
The last major change I made to take control of my life was through food! I have been passionate about eating healthy for over 4 years now and I believe one of the best things you can do for yourself is to fuel it with whole & nutrient dense foods. Kick the diet mentality to the curb!! Focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods not cutting calories and you will be so much happier I promise. Prioritize foods to nourish your body instead of depriving it. Eat balanced— fats, carbohydrates, and protein. I may be picky about what I eat, but that’s only because I know a whole food diet is what makes ME feel the best. Fuel your body because you love it & it is so amazing for all of the things it does for you!
Now is the time to make the changes and take control of your own life.