One thing I know many people, especially myself, have a difficult time with is being gracious with themselves. People say we are our own worst critics and I really think that is true. We hold ourselves to such high standards and beat ourselves up when we don't meet those standards. I find myself doing it on a regular basis.

I took a short psychology survey test that said that I am too quick to pass judgment on myself and often overanalyze situations to make them seem bigger than they are. Well, I could have told you that even before I took this little quiz. One thing the survey suggested was to focus on making solutions than focusing on the problems (especially the ones that you make up in your head.)

Of course, you won't be able to fix every problem at hand, but if you are actively seeking out solutions instead of more problems you may find that as a better and more positive way to push yourself, rather than putting yourself down for what you have failed to do.

So give yourself a break. You deserve it.

Take a walk, get some ice cream. When you nail that chemistry test you've been studying for weeks for, it is OK to take a break and not do much homework that night. You aren't going to help yourself if you just continue to wear yourself out.

Make a plan and know your limitations. Realizing you only have 24 hours in a day is important. As much as we would all like to get everything done in one day, that isn't always possible. I'm all for being optimistic towards accomplishing a lot in one day, but there is a fine line between that optimism being unreasonable. When you start crossing that line, that is when unnecessary stress can begin to crawl in.

There is a quote from the Serenity Prayer that has become very common over the years, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

Knowing the difference in what you can and can't control is key for someone that is often too hard on themselves. My challenge for you (and myself) is to give yourself a break and work on building yourself up. You probably don't give yourself the credit you deserve. Look around at everything you have accomplished. You should be proud of yourself. Take it all in and use that as encouragement moving forward. Don't compare yourself to others, you are your own individual person with your own strengths and gifts. Use them.

Take a break, and then use that as a springboard going forward, forward into striving for the best while remembering to be compassionate to yourself.