The slower pace of summer can be an ideal time for reflection and rejuvenation.  It can allow for a review of the past year to highlight what went well and to problem-solve ways to make 2013-2014 at Loyola even better—academically, emotionally, spiritually, behaviorally, and physically.

Given my role as a psychologist on campus who engages in therapy with hundreds of students a year, I am mindful of how this wholeness can get compromised at stressful times when deadlines, projects, and other concerns take precedence over self-care.  Consider taking time for yourself, or with a trusted loved one, over the next few months to review the past academic year and problem-solve ways to be proactive about your personal success for the fall 2013 semester (and beyond).  Here are a few questions to help guide your reflection to improve your self-confidence:

  • What are my values, where do I place importance?
  • How are these values in my life now prioritized?
  • Where am I in conflict with my values in my everyday living?
  • How can I begin to make corrective changes to bring me more in harmony with my values and my priorities?
  • Where do I have to put meaning into my life?
  • What are the “shoulds and oughts to do” that I find myself responding to… but they are not my “shoulds?”

In addition to this exercise, you can also make a self-confidence contract with yourself to establish a foundation for success for next academic year.  Think of it as a personal contract that is meant to improve your awareness and to serve as a guide when you it’s time for a personal review.  For example:

  • What six changes do I want to make in the way I am leading my life?
  • What do I want to add to my life and studies?
  • What do I want to remove from the way I am living now?
  • Where do I have to put more of me into my academics, mental or physical health, spirituality, or behaviors?
  • What do I want to do differently in the next 30 days?

Creating balance for yourself or in relation to others in a mindful way can have far reaching advantages both in the present and in the future.  Congratulations on making it through to the end of the academic year and wishing you a blissful summer of R&R (rest & reflection)!

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