What can I do if I have low self-esteem?

If you have read ‘Identifying low self-esteem’ and concluded that you are indeed suffering from this, what can you do next, as in right now? There are many activities you can do, and I’ll make sure to write another article listing helpful websites and resources, but for now, these are my top tips to get you started.

July 6 boostTaking action is challenging. It can feel easier to remain in your ‘safe’ place – if you don’t try, you can’t fail right? Wrong! Living with low self-esteem is debilitating and stops you from living your life to the full. We only get one life, and it is short, so it is time to take control and improve how you feel about yourself.

The most effective way to deal with low self-esteem (in my opinion) is to talk about it. I found it hard to talk to people who knew me, as you really need to delve quite deep into your soul to figure out why you have these feelings. I would highly recommend speaking to a trained counsellor. They often will use CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) to help you understand yourself and challenge your negative beliefs. I found this very useful and still use the advice today. You might not be able to see anyone straight away (if you go through the NHS), but at least get the process started today.

overcoming

Another resource I would highly recommend is the book series Overcoming Low Self-Esteem. At £15.99, it is a steal for three books which might change your life! My counsellor used these books so they come highly commended by experts. They give you excellent step-by-step guidance on how to get to the bottom of the root of your self-esteem and then how to improve it. The book series is good if you can’t bring yourself to talk to anybody for now, so click that buy button now!

Within the book series, there is a practical exercise which I found so helpful. It is all about identifying your negative predictions and then challenging them and finding alternative perspectives. You can read my posts to get a head-start 🙂

Another big recommendation from me is to exercise. Even if you only manage a walk around the block at first (there are real benefits to power walking!), it is a step toward self-care, which you need right now. As Elle from Legally Blonde says, ‘exerciseI don't want another girl's body. I want my body, but leaner, stronger and healthier. gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy’! It is cliche but true…and if you sit on your bum all the time eating sugary food and putting on weight, your self-esteem will continue to suffer.

My final tip, which is something you can get started today, is to go through the 30 day self-esteem challenge. This is an activity I found on another blog, and it gave me something to do everyday to understand how I felt about myself and challenge some of my negative thoughts. Try and be honest but also positive throughout the challenge. It’s not a miracle worker, but it gets you on the right track to focus on giving yourself some attention and love, which I promise you fully deserve.

Please do explore the rest of the website for more tips on improving your self-esteem. My next article in this series will be focused on things to avoid when you have low self-esteem…

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Identifying low self-esteem

I remember when it hit me that I was suffering with low self-esteem. It was like someone switched the light on in my mind and everything finally made sense. I finally understood the main issue which was causing me to feel depressed and anxious. 

Once I knew I had low self-esteem, it became easier to take steps to address the issue and focus on improving how I felt about myself. Not easy…but easier! 

But it took ages for me to realise, which led to years going by feeling like I wasn’t pretty enough, like I wasn’t as interesting as my friends, believing that my skin was too ugly for anyone to admire me. 

That’s why I’m writing now. I want you to realise if you have low self-esteem, so you can begin a journey of improving your self-love (sorry, that’s cheesy I know!). 

I mainly realised that I had low self-esteem because someone (I think it was my mum) told me she thought I did. So, I went on trusty Google and looked at websites for symptoms. I was really shocked actually when I realised every single symptom was real for me. It was very emotional to finally accept that I had this problem. 

I would highly recommend using Mind’s website to understand more about self-esteem. They list the symptoms as feeling:

  • like you hate or dislike yourself
  • worthless or not good enough
  • unable to make decisions or assert yourself
  • like no one likes you
  • you blame yourself for things that aren’t your fault
  • guilt for spending time or money on yourself
  • unable to recognise your strengths
  • undeserving of happiness
  • low in confidence.

Get Self Help also is helpful in clarifying how low self-esteem might affect you:

Emotions

  • depressed
  • hurt
  • angry
  • frustrated
  • anxious
  • ashamed
  • guilty
  • stressed

Thoughts

  • Negative, self-critical: I’m so stupid, I’m worthless, It’s my fault, I’m a failure, I’m not good enough, I’m incompetent. 
  • Unhelpful thinking habits might include Mental Filter, Mind Reading, Self Blame, Internal Critic, Compare & Despair, Shoulds and Musts, Black and White Thinking

Behaviours

  • try to please others
  • get defensive when we believe we’re being criticised
  • under-achieve or work harder to compensate and cover up our incompetence
  • shy and passive around others
  • avoid situations and people
  • neglect or abuse ourselves

I would be surprised if everybody doesn’t identify with at least a few of these, and I imagine everybody has moments of low self-esteem. However, if you identify with lots of these and feel them regularly, and they frequently affect your daily life, I would say you are suffering from low self-esteem and you should start to take actions to improve this. 

But what should you do if you have just realised you have low self-esteem?

In the next post, I’ll write about what you can do next. In the meantime, why not start this 30 day self-esteem challenge.

 

31 Days of Wellbeing: Day 31

The final day of 31 Days of Wellbeing!

Well, this is the end of this wellbeing journey, although I hope some of the activities have been so useful that you will continue doing them in the future. In fact, this is exactly what the final activity is all about…

“Live with intention.Walk to the edge.Listen Hard.Practice wellness.Play with abandon.Laugh.Choose with no regret.Appreciate your friends.Continue to learn.Do what you love.Live as if

Your final action is to set intentions for the rest of the year. Forget about New Year being the only time to set resolutions. Now is as good a time as any to take control over your wellbeing, happiness and life. It doesn’t matter if it is a small intention (to be honest, you’re more likely to succeed that way), just choose at least three which will make a difference. You could look back at the past 30 days for some inspiration.

My three key intentions for the year ahead are:

  • Put time aside to do what I want to do
  • Practise yoga regularly
  • Accept that I can only do what time allows me to do at work

It’s been really fun thinking of 31 activities which will improve wellbeing, and I hope you’ve found at least one of them useful 🙂

My next focus will be specifically on understanding and coping with low self-esteem, so watch this space!

31 Days of Wellbeing: Day 30

Day 30 of 31 Days of Wellbeing

Almost there – penultimate activity to improve your wellbeing! This is something you do from the moment you are born, but as we become older it seems to become less significant and we begin to lose sight of its value…

Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow. Anthony J. D'Angelo

Invest in some time to learn. Perhaps at school you couldn’t be bothered to put in much effort, or if you did perhaps you’re missing that daily chance to learn something. Investing time to learn will send a message to yourself that you are taking time for yourself, and showing yourself self-love.

The great thing is that now, unlike at school ,you can choose something which truly interests you!

A few of my ideas:

  • Download the Duolingo app to start learning a language
  • Use YouTube for dozens of learning videos – if you’re up for anything, type ‘learn how to’ and see what comes up!
  • Ask a friend or family member to teach you something they are an expert in for an evening

31 Days of Wellbeing: Day 29

Day 29 of 31 Days of Wellbeing

Only three days left of wellbeing tasks to help you feel (I hope) happier and give yourself some love and attention. Today, it’s a simple one and you only need your mind and to commit to doing it!

You get whatever accomplishment you are willing to declare. Georgia O'Keeffe

What did you accomplish today? Focusing on your accomplishments is important to our wellbeing and mental health. It’s easy to focus on all the tasks you didn’t manage to do. At work, you berate yourself for not finishing the to-do list, or at home for not finding time to call that friend or sort out the garden.

When I was having a very busy, stressful period at work, a work colleague told me to focus on all of the good things I have managed to do, rather than worry about all the tasks I didn’t have time for. This really stuck with me, and I try to remember this when I feel stressed and anxious about my ever-growing to-do lists.

Remember, accomplishments do not need to be earth-shattering feats! Think about what you have achieved today (at least 3 things!). For me (and it’s only 3pm), they are:

  • Cleaned the house (not all of it obviously, I’m not crazy…but enough of it to make a difference)
  • Took Gracie for a lovely walk in the sun, and managed to distract her from 3 dogs successfully
  • Wrote a new blog post for the first time in a few days

You can only do so much in one day, so go easy on yourself and focus on those accomplishments 🙂

31 Days of Wellbeing: Day 27

Day 27 of 31 Days of Wellbeing...

When was the last time you tried something for the first time?

Just try new things. Don't be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar, all right_ - Michelle Obama

Some of you may be turning off immediately and thinking this activity is too challenging. It is so much easier to stay in your comfort zone where you feel safe and cosy. Nothing wrong with that, I won’t make a prat of myself or fail if I stay at home and do things that I know well.

Do you want to feel good about yourself? Do you want to improve your self-esteem and boost your wellbeing? If the answer is yes, then you need to take on this challenge. All you need to do is try something new (lovely rhyming there). The great thing is, it doesn’t have to be anything HUGE! It could be…but if you’re nervous let’s start small. Here are some suggestions:

  • Different route to work
  • Talk to a colleague you’ve never spoken to before
  • Cook a new recipe
  • Try a new exercise class, machine at the gym or YouTube exercise video
  • Do something new in the evening e.g. crossword with your partner instead of watching TV

Trying new things regularly will refresh your mind, body and life so let’s get started this week!

31 Days of Wellbeing: Day 25

Day 25 of 31 Days of Wellbeing

I am going to completely contradict my previous post about donating now, and tell you to do the opposite! I think both have their place in supporting your wellbeing.

You have to treat yourself every once in a while, get to the fun stuff!Heidi Klum

Don’t rely on others to buy you flowers, chocolates or other treats. Take control and show yourself some love independently today. I’m not advising anyone to spend hundreds of pounds on the latest gadget (unless you have the spare money rocking around!), but treat yourself to something which brings you happiness.

Personally I am probably going to buy either a plant or some flowers, as I always rely on others to buy these for me. Why wait?! 🙂

 

31 Days of Wellbeing: Day 24

Day 24 of 31 Days of Wellbeing

I don’t know about anyone else, but if your Easter is anything like mine, I have over-indulged and spent many a penny on too many Easter treats. Like Christmas, it is a pretty overindulgent time of year. This is absolutely fine, but we must remember there are people out there who are struggling…perhaps with health, loneliness or homelessness.

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.Charles Dickens

Do you remember that episode of FRIENDS, when Phoebe said that you couldn’t donate 100% selflessly? I think she was right, and this is a positive thing because it means it is a win-win situation to give to others. They benefit from your generosity, and you benefit from feeling good about giving.

So today, make a donation! It’s so easy nowadays to do this – online or in person if you see a collections box. Give at least £5 and feel good about it – even if your self-esteem and/or wellbeing is at rock bottom, you have done something amazing today.

31 Days of Wellbeing: Day 23

Day 23 of 31 Days of Wellbeing

Even us introverts need to socialise for healthy wellbeing. It is so easy for some of us to fall into the trap of avoiding people contact when we are feeling down. This is the worst thing we can possibly do!

Choose to focus your time

We need people in our lives to make us laugh, listen to our stories and to support us through hard times. Shutting yourself away for days rather than hours does you more harm than good.

Therefore, your activity today is to arrange a catch up with somebody who makes you feel good. Someone who supports you or inspires you. It doesn’t matter if it’s scheduled next week or even next month, but arrange to spend your energy with those people who improve your wellbeing. Oh, and it can’t be anyone who lives in your house – this is about making contact with someone you don’t see everyday 🙂

31 Days of Wellbeing: Day 22

Day 22 of 31 Days of Wellbeing

Time to dig a little deeper into ourselves today – not as scary as it sounds!

I'm reflective only in the sense that I learn to move forward. I reflect with a purpose. Kobe Bryant

Today, it is time to reflect. Reflect on the day that has passed, or even the week/month/year so far. Take stock of the challenges and successes. What has made you feel good in body and mind? What has made you feel anxious, tired and down?

After you have reflected, make a pact with yourself that you will make a specific change. What change would make you feel better, healthier and happier? For me, I have learned that office politics get me down and affect my life negatively both in and out of work. The change I am committing to myself is that I will do my best to stay out of these politics, and keep my frustrations to myself and people outside of work!

In summary, you can take control of certain things which negatively affect your physical and mental wellbeing. Today, reflect on what is harming your wellbeing and make a change…