Rebuild Your Self-Esteem
Most individuals feel bad about themselves from time to time. Feelings of low self-esteem might be triggered by being treated poorly by someone else recently or previously, or by a person’s judgments of him or herself. This is normal. However, very low self-esteem is a constant companion for too many individuals, particularly those who experience depression, anxiety, phobias, psychosis, delusional thinking, or who have an illness or a disability. If you’re one of these individuals, you might go through life feeling bad about yourself. Low self-esteem prevents you from enjoying life, doing the things that you need to do, and working toward personal goals. You have a right to feel good about yourself. But it can be quite tricky to feel good about yourself when you’re under the strain of having symptoms that are difficult to manage, once you’re working with a disability, once you are having a challenging time, or when others are treating you badly. At these times, it’s easy to be drawn into a downward spiral of lower and lower self-esteem. As an example, you might start feeling bad about yourself if somebody insults you, you’re under plenty of pressure on the job, or you’re having a tough time getting along with someone in your loved ones. Then you start to give yourself unwanted self-talk, like”I am no good.” This may make you feel so bad about yourself that you do something to hurt yourself or someone else, like getting drunk or yelling at your kids. By applying these ideas and activities in this booklet, you can avoid doing things that make you feel even worse and do those things which will make you feel better about yourself. This booklet will provide you with ideas on things you can do to feel better about yourself to increase your self-esteem. The ideas have come from individuals like yourself, people who recognize they have low self-esteem and are working to improve it.
Self-esteem, Depression, and Other Illnesses Before you start to think about strategies and actions to help raise your self-esteem, it’s important to not forget that low self-esteem might be a result of depression. Low self-esteem is a symptom of depression. To make things even more complex, the depression might be a symptom of another illness. Have you felt depressed consistently for many weeks but don’t understand why you’re feeling so sad, i.e. nothing bad has happened, or perhaps something bad has happened but you have not been able to eliminate the feelings of despair? Is this accompanied by other changes, like wanting to eat all of the time or having no desire, wanting to sleep all of the time, or waking up early and being unable to return to sleep? If you answered yes to either question, there are two things you need to do:
- Visit your doctor for a physical exam to ascertain the cause of your depression and to talk about treatment options
- Do some things that can enable you to feel better immediately like eating well, getting a lot of exercises and outdoor light, spending time with good friends, and doing fun things like going to a picture, painting a picture, playing a musical instrument, or reading a fantastic book.
Daily Activities-to Increase Self-esteem
Pay attention to your own needs and desires. Listen to what your body, your mind, and your heart are telling you. As an example, if your body is telling you that you’ve been sitting too long, stand up and stretch. If your heart is longing to spend more time using a particular friend, take action. If your head is telling you how to clean your basement up, listen to your favorite songs, or stop thinking bad thoughts about yourself, take those ideas seriously Take care of yourself. As you’re growing up you might not have learned how to take decent care of yourself. In actuality, much of your focus might have been on looking after others, on just getting by, or on”behaving well.” Begin today to take decent care of yourself. Treat yourself as a wonderful parent who would take care of a kid or as one very best friend could take care of another. If you work at taking good care of yourself, you’ll realize that you feel better about yourself. Here are some ways to take good care of your self
- Eat healthy foods and avoid junk foods (foods containing lots of sugar, salt, or fat). A healthy daily diet plan is generally: five or six servings of vegetables and fruit six servings of whole-grain foods such as bread, cereal, pasta, and rice two servings of protein foods such as beef, fish, poultry, cheese, cottage cheese, or yogurt
- Moving your body can help you to feel better and improves your self-esteem. Arrange a time daily or as often as possible when you can find some exercise, preferably outside. You can do lots of different things. Taking a walk is the most frequent. You could run, ride a bike, play a game, climb up and down stairs several times, put on a tape, or play the radio and dance to the music–anything that feels good to you. In case you’ve got a health issue that may restrict your ability to use, check with your physician before starting or changing your exercise habits. O Do personal hygiene tasks which make you feel better about yourself–things like taking a normal shower or bath, washing and washing your hair, trimming your nails, brushing and flossing your teeth.
- Have a physical exam annually to be certain you’re in good health.
- Plan fun activities on your own. Learn new things daily.
- Take the time to do things you like. You may be so busy or feel so badly about yourself, that you spend little if any time doing things you like –things such as playing a musical instrument, doing a craft project, flying a kite, or going fishing. Create a list of things you like doing. Then do something with that list daily. Increase the list of anything new that you find you like doing.
- Get something done that you’re putting off. Clean out this drawer. Wash that window. Write that letter. Pay that bill.
- Do things that make use of your special talents and skills. As an example, if you’re good with your hands, then make things for yourself, family, and friends. If you like animals, think about having a pet or playing with friends’ pets. Dress in clothes that make you feel great about yourself. In case you have little cash to spend on new clothes, check out thrift shops in your area.
- Give yourself rewards–you’re a terrific person. Listen to a CD or tape.
- Spend time with those who make you feel good about yourself–people who treat you nicely. Prevent people who treat you poorly.
- Make your living space a place that honors the individual you’re. Whether you reside in one room, a small flat, or a massive house, make that area comfortable and appealing for you. If you share your living space with other people, have some space that’s just for you–a place where you can keep your items and understand that they won’t be disturbed and you can decorate any way you choose.
- Display items that you find appealing or that remind you of your accomplishments or special occasions or people in your life. If the price is a factor, use your imagination to think of cheap or free ways in which you can increase the comfort and enjoyment of your area.
- Make your meals at a particular moment. Turn off the tv, radio, and stereo. Set the table, even if you’re eating alone. Light a candle or place some flowers or an attractive item in the middle of the table. Attractively organize your food on your plate. If you eat with other people, promote discussion of pleasant topics. Avoid discussing difficult issues at meals. Take advantage of opportunities to learn something new or improve your skills. Have a class or go to a convention. Many adult education programs are free or very cheap. For the more costly ones, ask about a possible scholarship or fee reduction.
- Begin doing these things you know will make you feel better about yourself– such as going on a diet, starting an exercise program, or maintaining your living area clean.
- Do something nice for someone else. Smile at someone who looks sad. Say a couple of kind words to the check-out cashier. Help your partner having an unpleasant chore. Have a meal for a friend who’s sick. Send a card to an acquaintance. Volunteer for a worthy organization.
- Make it a point to treat yourself well daily. Before going to bed every night, write about how you handled yourself well during the day. You might do some of these things today. There will be others you will need to work on. You will find you will continue to learn new and better ways to look after yourself. As you incorporate these changes into your life, your self-esteem will continue to improve.