Talking to yourself as kindly as a friend

Dear friend,

So, you failed, but you are not a failure. So, you fell short, but your whole life isn’t a disappointment. This is a tiny moment in time among the many years of a long life. It might sound cliché to hear, but this might actually be one of the best things to happen to you – if you take this moment to learn from it. It could propel you to make the changes you’ve always wanted to do to enhance your life. This could be the moment you realise how brave you are for sitting with the tough feelings, letting is pass, and remembering that you can do hard things. Keep the focus on what you can control.

What can you do? You’re staring right into the thick of writer’s block – what can you do? You can take 10 minutes to go for a walk along your street (without your phone) and just focus on your breath and what’s around you. Come back to your writing and remember, just write – and then edit later.

You are looking at the list of deadlines to meet and you are snowballing into a panic. What can you do? Breathe first. Here are some simple, but highly effective breathing techniques from the Wellbeing Hub. After you ground yourself, reframe some of your thinking by using “I get to”, instead of “I have to”. I get to work on my own research, a topic that interests me. I get to go to uni. I get to live out a personal goal. Be kind to yourself and remember that higher degrees are challenging but achievable.

You have received negative but constructive feedback on your paper or your assignment or your presentation. Check-in with yourself – “How am I feeling?”. Horrible probably, but you also know that you had procrastinated and could have done much better. Take on the feedback, don’t take it personally, and try and recall all the other work in the past you’ve done that received really positive feedback. A bad day doesn’t mean a bad life. Use what you have now to your advantage. This will make your final work better.

This all sounds easier said than done, but we believe in you. We’re here for you.

With love, all your friends.

Tagged in What messes with your head, phd, mental health, crisis, anxiety, depression, stress