Helping you get through tough times

Working on your self-esteem this winter

The words 'Have a nice day' painted on a pillar.At this time of year it’s often hard to motivate ourselves. The weeks are long, dark and well, if not always so cold, they are gloomy. A duvet and watching re-runs of How I Met Your Mother is way more appealing than doing basically anything else.

It affects the best of us

If we’re not careful these grey months of winter can have a negative affect on our self-esteem. Thinking we should be doing something, the guilt of not doing it and comparing ourselves to others are thoughts we all have from time-to-time. But, if we have them too often, it can make us feel crap.

Good days and bad

While some people suffer poor self-esteem all the time, most of us fluctuate with how we feel about ourselves. If we’re aware of this and know the kinds of things that affect us, it can be easier to stop our self-esteem dropping.

There are things we can work on to improve our self-worth and help to mind our mental health though. So we put together a few points in case January is taking its toll on you.

Cut yourself some slack

Think about some of the things you say to yourself, would you ever talk that way to a friend? Instead of beating yourself up over things that don’t seem to have gone right, maybe bring a bit of perspective to the situation. That’s not to say you should start assigning blame to others.

Don’t focus on fault or what’s gone wrong. Instead try a bit of positive self-talk.

Appreciate what you’ve got

Everyone has things they don’t like about themselves, but the flip-side is that everyone has positive qualities. The key is to acknowledge these and try to focus on them. It’s often harder to keep in mind what’s good about ourselves, but the more we do it the easier it is.

Be friendly

We all like it when we meet that warm, friendly person who’s loose with the compliments. Well here’s the thing, the nicer you are to other people, the more other people will be nice to you. It sounds too simple to be true, but it works. Try it out, you could be pleasantly surprised.

Fake it ’til you make it

Sometimes acting confidently will actually help you feel more confident. The same goes for being motivated or up-beat about things. No-one else knows you’re acting. It’s not about suppressing emotions, but more to do with giving yourself the chance to be confident.

In fact, there’s a recent TED Talk on just that. Researchers looked at how posing in more powerful positions – shoulders and chest open, head upright – for just a few minutes made an impact on people’s confidence.

Work at it

Remember, self-esteem is something that most of us need to work at. It doesn’t mean you won’t have moments of feeling low again, but it can make a difference overall. Even if practise doesn’t make perfect, surely it’s still worth a shot?

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