“Failure is not an option.”
“I must succeed by any means necessary.”
Do either of these sentences sound familiar to you? As a student, this used to be the mantra that motivated me to keep moving forward, despite the struggle and the juggle of life.
As humans, we all want to succeed, whether you are a struggling student or an accomplished CEO.
Despite our determination and desire to succeed, it’s important to realise that self-care is essential for self-preservation. If you don’t take some time to rest, relax and recharge, eventually it will adversely affect your mental and physical health. It’s important to never get so busy hustling and making a living that you forget to have a life. Therefore, here are some super successful self-care strategies for improving mental health, while decreasing burnout and self-doubt.
One of the reasons that self-care is so important is that it enables you to be the best version of yourself. After taking care of yourself and your own wants and needs, you are better prepared to take care of others.
If you’re burnt out, you’re no use to anyone. So, if you’re so determined to help others, then you must first help yourself by applying self-care strategies regularly. It helps if you pretend you’re on the aeroplane of life. Put your own oxygen mask on first before trying to help those around you put theirs on.
Just in case you’re not sure what self-care is, here’s a little help.
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What is self-care?
Self-care may vary in definition from person to person based on individual preferences. For instance, my husband thinks watching football is a form of self-care because it helps him unwind, excites him and makes him feel happy.
By contrast, I can think of a million other things I’d prefer doing as opposed to watching football. This emphasises the fact that self-care may look different to different people.
Apart from individual/personal definitions, self-care may be defined as,
“Anything you regularly and intentionally do to maintain, protect, and improve your emotional, mental, and physical health and wellbeing.”
Taking care of one’s self is an excellent way to enhance mental health, especially during those super stressful times when you struggle as a learner.
It also helps brighten moods, decreases anxiety and overwhelm, and reduces low motivation and burnout which adversely affect your grades and mental wellbeing.
Types of self-care
Self-care may be physical care of yourself or replenishing yourself.
Physical care usually rejuvenates your body and involves acts like exercising often, sleeping regularly, and eating /drinking healthily.
These are all things we were taught long ago, but somewhere along the way we lost sight of their significance because life happened, and we either became too busy, or not too bothered.
Making an effort to intentionally take care of yourself will benefit you by increasing your physical energy, concentration, and motivation levels so you can be a more successful student.
Self-replenishment caters more to improving your mental state and includes activities that improve your happiness, energy levels, and tranquillity. This is usually referred to as “Me time”.
Examples of what Me time may look like include:
- A bit of retail therapy
- Enjoying a new/favourite hobby
- Watching your favourite TV show/movie/sports
- Eating your favourite meal/desert
- Having a glass (or two) of wine/cocktail
- Drinking your favourite beer/beverage
- Catching up with friends/family on the phone or via social media
- Reading a chapter or two of your favourite book/magazine/journal
As a busy learner, if you can’t afford to enjoy hours of Me time, do not get frustrated or angry. Simply take what you can get and spend even 10-15 minutes a day enjoying something you love doing, just because you’re worth it.
Do whatever works for you, without any regret, guilt, or apologies to anyone.
As an added incentive, use your self-replenishment as a motivating factor to help you stay focused while learning. When you’re done treat yourself and indulge like crazy!
Intentionally taking time to self-replenish will enhance your energy and reduce the risk of burnout. Burn out should be avoided because it may cause depression and crush your confidence. There’s no point pushing yourself beyond your physical and mental limits only for you to have a breakdown and then have to take time off to heal.
It’s best to be kind to yourself and do at least one self-care activity per day, despite how short it may be.
Benefits of self-care when learning
- Improved grades and confidence
- Greater calm and better moods
- Increased positivity and happiness
- More motivation and enhanced mindset
- Applying effective study strategies
An important aspect of self-care involves not only concentrating on your physical care, but also on your mental care. Effective mental care depends on having a healthy, positive mindset.
Your mental health relates to your ability to exert your fullest potential, nurture healthy relationships, and effectively cope with change.
Mental health may be affected by worrying, anxiety, stress, or overwhelm, because these emotions affect your feelings, thoughts, and behaviour.
Your mindset relates to your confidence and belief in your ability to cope responsibly, despite setbacks/adversities.
In other words, improving your mindset and thinking positive can contribute to you improving your academic results and achieving your goals, despite experiencing difficulties.
Improving your mindset also improves your mental health, your confidence, your self-development, and is vital to the success of your self-care.
Applying strategies to secure your mental health and improve your mindset will boost your happiness and terminate self-doubt. If you’re a student who suffers from self-doubt, here are some quick and effective strategies that you can implement immediately.
Successful strategies to overcome self-doubt
Celebrate your successes
You didn’t get this far by being a careless bum. You’ve got a lot going for you. So when you’re having a bad day, focus on the great things you’ve already achieved.
I’m not encouraging you to be arrogant, but sometimes you need to “Big up yo’self!”
If you can’t remember how great you are, ask a friend or family member to remind you of your awesomeness.
Reminders of your successes could come in many shapes and forms such as your:
- Toddler who tells you they love you just because you give them hugs and kisses when they feel sad, and this makes them happy.
- Mother who reminds you that you’ll be the first one in the family to get a degree and everyone’s proud of you.
- Friend who recalls that you were there for them when they had that accident and felt depressed.
- Boss who still appreciates that you found that small, significant, mistake that would have cost the company millions.
Whatever makes you the awesome icon that you are, go ahead and, “Big up yo’self”. It’ll work wonders for improving your mindset and mental health.
Don’t suffer in silence
I urge you to speak to someone when you’re feeling down. Speaking to someone helps:
- You feel less isolated and alone.
- Lift your mood and makes you feel better about yourself.
- Reveal solutions and strategies you may not have noticed/considered otherwise.
If you’re reluctant to speak to someone when you’re doubting yourself and feeling down, then think of how much worst your life may be if you suffered in silence. You don’t want to suffer in silence and have whatever’s bothering you adversely affected your studies and your sanity.
So, don’t be afraid to speak to a friend, a tutor, a relative, your peers online in discussion groups, your school’s student services. Who knows, you may find that there’s truth to the old saying, “A problem shared is a problem halved.”
If you need help that only a professional can give, consider calling someone like the Samaritans if you’re in the UK, or Lifeline in the US because you don’t have to suffer in silence.
Avoid Imposter Syndrome
Everyone suffers from self-doubt sometimes. However, having a positive mindset can kill those negative thoughts that constantly try to sabotage your success by making you believe that you’re not as competent or capable as others perceive you to be. This is also known as Imposter Syndrome.
When negative thoughts try to dominate your mindset and tell you you’re not good enough, or that you’ll always be a failure so you should give up now, drown out that negative noise by concentrating on significant achievements that make you happy and reveal your potential. Visualise yourself as the success that you want to be and keep moving forward.
BONUS READ: How to Conquer Your Fear of Failure So You Can Slay Your Studies
Educate and elevate your mindset
A fixed mindset convinces you that you’re already as good as it gets. Therefore, you’re unlikely to think that you’re physically and mentally incapable of anything greater. Sounds sad, doesn’t it?
By contrast, a growth mindset allows you to strive for greater possibilities by enhancing your knowledge and your abilities. You’re not restricted to your present circumstances, but with time effort and applying effective strategies, you can and will improve.
Are you afraid that you’ll fail if you develop a growth mindset and go for what you want? Consider how ecstatic and enviable you’ll be when you succeed because of a growth mindset.
Stop doubting yourself, think positive and remember:
- FAIL means First Attempt In Learning.
- END means Effort Never Dies.
- No means Next Opportunity.
Educating yourself and elevating a growth mindset is likely to improve your studying skills, your grades, and your self-care. It worked for me, and it’ll work for you.
BONUS READ: How To Manage Your Mindset To Increase Your Motivation & Concentration When Learning Online
Shake things up
Sometimes our mindset just needs a shakeup to get going in the right direction again. If you’re swimming in a sea of self-doubt and find yourself lacking motivation, confidence, or productivity, try shaking things up a bit.
Get up and get active. Move away from your study space, take some time to enjoy some self-care and you’ll experience a boost in motivation, productivity, confidence and study success.
Consider doing one or more of the following to shake things up for no longer than 30-45 minutes. Any longer and you risk procrastinating.
- Go for a walk/run/ride.
- Have a quick snack.
- Watch a short TV show.
- Listen to your favourite music.
- Call a friend for a catch-up.
Spend some quality time with your family.
When you return to your studies, your mindset will be recharged, and you’ll be revitalised and well prepared to plough on and be productive.
How self-care can eliminate burnout and self-doubt
Burnout can be a sign that you need to up your self-care game and sort some stuff out in your life that’s stressing you out.
Students experience burnout when they become extremely exhausted and unmotivated because of physical and, or mental overactivity. This results in reduced productivity, declining academic performance, and weakening of your wellbeing.
Burnout doesn’t have one single cause. It’s a culmination of several issues/events over a period.
You’re likely to be suffering from burnout if you’re:
- Unable to pay attention/concentrate despite your best efforts.
- Suddenly lacking motivation, exhausted, and frustrated without specific reasons.
- Getting worst grades than you’re accustomed to getting.
- Unexpectedly anti-social and indifferent to things that you used to enjoy.
As a busy student, you may become burnt out because of:
- Abundant assignments.
- Test/Exam anxiety.
- An inflexible tutor/professor.
- Friends and family drama.
- Financial headaches.
- Stress from time management troubles, especially if you have a job and/or a family while studying.
It’s vital that you determine the source of your burnout so you can eliminate it and avoid it escalating.
If you find yourself unable to pay attention/contrate despite your best efforts to ignore your phone, then this FREE ebook will help.
How to Stop Wasting Time Scrolling on Your Phone & Surfing the Internet
Strategies that terminate burnout
Find a balance
One of the best ways to terminate burnout is to remember that “Everything should be done in moderation.” Work hard and play hard in equal measures.
Learn to say “NO!”
Many people think that somehow saying “No!” is taboo. You take on whatever’s thrust upon you, knowing you’re already stretched and stressed to the point of burnout. When you try to juggle too much, you’ll struggle and burn out faster.
Stop sacrificing sleep
One sure way of suffering from burnout and testing your sanity is to constantly avoid getting enough hours of sleep. From experience, I know that being well-rested before an exam makes me much more productive than being sleep deprived and zombie-like.
Act NOW, not later
Chances are, if you think you’re burnt out, then you probably are, or you’re not far from it. If so, it’s best to address it before you’re too frustrated, stressed, exhausted, or just don’t have the bandwidth to deal with it. So, act NOW, not later!
Ask for Help
Speaking out and asking for help may lighten your load in ways you couldn’t have imagined. Speak to someone familiar, or a trusted professional about being burnt out. Doing so may give you great strategies, advice, and guidance about changes you can make to avoid burnout in the future.
This small act of asking for help may be a huge life-changing factor that determines your future success and makes your online learning experience a pleasant and rewarding journey.
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In short, poor self-care, or a complete lack thereof, may lead to burnout and self-doubt. These negative experiences increase the risk of academic failure. Failure doesn’t have to be an option. The sooner a lack of self-care and the signs of burnout and self-doubt are detected and eradicated, the greater your likelihood of being a successful student.
If the negativity goes unchecked, burnout and self-doubt may cause irreparable damage, mentally, physically, and academically. A perfect solution to overcome these damaging effects is to apply self-care strategies as stated above.
We all want to succeed when learning, but despite applying all the effective study methods in the world, it’s pointless if we don’t take care of ourselves in the process.
Self-care is priceless. It’s the best gift you can give to your body and brain. Therefore, it’s important that you never neglect taking care of yourself. Your future self will thank you.
Now, Go Be Great!
What self-care strategies do you enjoy and how do you handle burnout & or self-doubt?
Let me know in the comments below or connect on social media.