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It’s International Boost Self-Esteem Month: Tips on Thriving through this February

happiness mental health self care self esteem self love Feb 09, 2021

It’s dark and cold outside.  You’re in lockdown. Maybe you’re feeling pretty isolated.  Working from home might be starting (or continuing!) to grate, especially alongside other stressors such as homeschooling.

Perhaps you’re not exercising as much as you used to.  Maybe you even feel like you’re unable to be the kind of employee, mum, sister, daughter, wife, friend or boss you planned to be.

The winter months can be hard on our mental health and self-esteem – but with COVID wreaking havoc on our daily lives, February 2021 is a particularly difficult time.

“In lockdown 1 we were mainly blessed with lots of sunshine and lots of daylight,” notes The Rising Festival speaker Tara Fennessy, Managing Director of Leadership Skills Training Ltd. “This time, January and February are much shorter days and it’s harder to get enough daylight to keep stress levels in check.”

To ring in Self-Esteem Month, we’ve pulled together some tips to help you boost your self-esteem and mental wellness this February.

Be kind to yourself

The pandemic has placed us all under serious amounts of pressure, and those stresses will look different from person to person.  Avoid comparing yourself to others and try to focus on YOUR journey.  If you can take a single step forward to feeling more positive about yourself, that is YOUR awesome achievement.

It helps to remember that what people choose to share on social media is never representative of the ups and downs of their day-to-day.  That photo of your friend frolicking happily in the snow with her neat and tidy children is simply a single snapshot in time – it can’t tell the story of how much effort it took to leave the house, the battles that happened over wellies or coats, or how that was the first time they’d all smiled in days.

Get to know yourself

Do you know what makes you tick?  What boosts and drains your energy levels?  What your greatest passions are in life?

Finding out what really makes you happy and what you value in life can be very freeing, allowing you to live life on your own terms.  If the rest of the world is baking rustic sourdough loaves but you know you can’t stand baking, that’s great!  Congratulations for knowing yourself.  Celebrate your neighbours’ new-found skills whilst getting on with the things that make YOU happy.

Try not to give away all your energy to other people.  Practicing saying no and building up boundaries can help revitalise your energy levels.  You are an awesome human and deserve to keep some of that energy for your self-esteem.

Knowing and owning your own feelings is just as important as understanding what brings you joy in life.  2020 and the start of 2021 has been a tough ride – acknowledging this and accepting the feelings that come up for you as a result are both healthy choices.  Grief, loneliness, depression, overwhelm and low feelings of worth will be there whether you acknowledge them or not, but putting them out in the open can help you process them into your strengths as you move forward.

Take care of YOU

Sleep – it’s something we all hear about, but few of us have a sufficiently regular sleep routine.  A set bedtime and waking time each day, with time for a full 8 hours of sleep, can have a huge impact on your mental wellness.

The fuel we give our bodies can also impact on our mental wellbeing and self-esteem.  Cutting down on alcohol and giving yourself a balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables impacts more than just your physical health.  A good diet can improve mood and stabilise blood sugar, giving you more energy.

To boost your energy in the most natural way, one of the speakers at The Rising Festival suggests getting “outside in daylight hours.”  Tara Fennessy, Managing Director of Leadership Skills Training Ltd says you can “even just put your coat on and take your cup of coffee outside during the day.”  Natural sunlight does wonders for your mood and energy.  Once a week “try and catch a sunrise or sunset to support your wellbeing and give you energy.”

Tara also suggests combining exercise and getting outside in the daylight. “Going for a long walk at the weekend makes a huge difference to moods.”  If that’s not possible, getting some movement in, however small that might be, will bring huge benefits to your mental and physical wellbeing.

Notice the good

Human beings are very good at focusing on the negatives in a situation – it’s a scientifically-recognised method of self-preservation left over from our cave-dwelling days (no, really! Look at this scientific study).

The good news is that you have the power to re-wire your brain to seek out the positives instead, through incremental tiny actions.

Take a moment (literally, ONE minute) to think about some successes or positive things that happened in that day.  If it’s been a tough one, even thinking that you are grateful to have a hot cup of tea is a good place to start.  On other days, you might be able to feel proud of a work project or smile about a moment of connection between your children.

Remember that what other people think about you is only THEIR business; it doesn’t have to become yours.  Only YOU get to decide what you think about the way you go about your life.  Getting clear on your values can be really helpful here, as these can provide you with a strong compass by which to internally filter choices and decisions.

Build your support network

One of the hardest parts of lockdown has been the isolation whilst we’re unable to see friends and family.  Making the most of video catch-ups can help us stay in touch.  Check out our favorite ways of making video catch-ups fun.

If you have friends who live nearby, why not take some exercise with one person, as the UK rules allow?  Exercise, outdoor time and support from a friend in one fell swoop!  A good chat or swapping stories of the challenges of the past week can be very cathartic.

If you don’t have anyone within your existing network to talk to, consider joining an online community of like-minded individuals.  There are plenty of local groups, hobby-based groups or business communities online.  You could join The Rising Network on social media and make the most of our supportive virtual community.  Facebook LinkedIn Instagram Twitter

If you need someone to talk to anonymously, you can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 116 123 or [email protected] to talk about anything that is upsetting you.

We know this year has been hard on so many people.  That’s why we’ve focused the programme for The Rising Festival 2021 on today’s most pressing issues:

  • Managing stress and anxiety through self-care
  • The work-life juggle
  • Support systems
  • Resilience
  • Mentoring support

Tickets are available HERE. Join us to celebrate International Women’s Day and invest in YOU.

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