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 28

Day 28 of 31 Days of Wellbeing

I hope you ended up trying something new over the past few days. If not, plenty of time this week to catch up! In fact, you could actually combine the previous activity with today’s challenge…

Creativity is putting your imagination to work, and it's produced the most extraordinary results in human culture. Ken RobinsonRead more at_ https_www.brainyquote.comquoteske

I actually find this one quite challenging, as I am not naturally the type of person who gets creative in their spare time. I don’t draw, make music, write novels or make clothes! However I do believe that creativity can have a positive impact on your wellbeing. Creating this website made me feel good about myself again. It increased my self-esteem and gave me something to focus on, which I could feel proud of. It also distracted me from negative thoughts and bad habits.

If you don’t fancy any of the traditional creative outlets (writing, drawing etc.), another good one is to create a scrapbook of photos and memories e.g. from a holiday, or nowadays it’s not too far-fetched to make a movie using your phone and basic editing software. How about creating a quote picture to live by as well? Of course, you could also focus your creative skills on a gift for somebody else, e.g. a handmade card or photo collage.

Whatever you end up doing, don’t be critical about the end result and just applaud yourself for letting go of Netflix for an hour or two 🙂

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 20

Day 20 of 31 Days of Wellbeing

So many of us fall into the trap of people pleasing. We are so keen to please, that we become afraid to disagree with someone…afraid of admitting the films we truly enjoy because we know the others think differently….scared of showing our real opinions at work…or maybe it’s just me!

We shouldn’t be afraid. Everyone’s opinion is worth something, and it wreaks havoc with your self-esteem if you let the fear of being yourself take over to the point where you are acting like somebody else.

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay

Today, please, be unashamedly you. Say what you are thinking, rather than stopping yourself for fear of saying something ‘wrong’. Listen to the music which makes your heart sing, rather than pretending to like something else. Admit that your favourite film is Lord of the Rings when your colleague talks about his hatred of fantasy films. Be quiet when you want to be, be crazy when that feeling hits…and don’t fear the reactions. There is only one of you, the world does not need clones and you need to stop denying everyone your uniqueness.

 

31 Days of Wellbeing: Day 17

Day 17 of 31 Days of Wellbeing

We are going for a simple one here, simple but very powerful and important to increase your self-esteem and wellbeing.

Proud

Be proud of at least one thing you have done today. It doesn’t matter how small or big, but be proud of something, even if it’s just surviving a hard day or making it out the front door. I am proud today of not letting stress take hold of me as much as I have done in the past.

Try to do this every day if you can – focusing on the things you are proud of rather than being anxious about the future will help you remain present and improve your sense of self-worth.

So what have you done today to make you feel proud? (Great song!)

31 Days of Wellbeing: Day 16

Day 16 of 31 Days of Wellbeing

I’ve had a couple of days off writing posts because I have had a very busy few days, and I was at risk of burning out if I kept pushing myself to do too many things at once.

Remember, there is only so much you can do and if you stress yourself out frequently trying to keep on top of everything, you will end up resentful, anxious and feeling down. I have been learning this the hard way recently, particularly at work. I am starting to realise the importance of not pushing myself into the stress zone by taking on too much, and by and putting pressure on myself to do everything to a perfect standard.

You can't pour from an empty glass.Take care of yourself.

So I’ve created this quote picture to remind me of this. I will download this image onto my phone so I can keep reminding myself all year about the importance of not taking on too much, of not stressing myself out with impossible high standards. Most importantly, this will remind me that I am better able to help others and share positive energy if I firstly take care of myself.

Where am I going with all this anyway? Your wellbeing activity today is to make your own quote picture to live by. Choose a quote which will remind you of something you should do this year to be happy and have a healthy mind/body. These quote pictures are very easy to make – I use Canva.

Happy creating and please share any that you make in the comments 🙂