While at Highlands Behavioral Health, I learned a lot about rebuilding self esteem while treating mental illness. And with so many women (and men too) that struggle with this, I felt compelled to write about what I've learned, tricks I know, and ways to start feeling better about yourself. I've made it a three part series.
Part 1 - What you can do right now to help raise your self esteem
Part 2 - Changing negative thoughts into positive ones
Part 3 - Activity planning (activities that will help you feel good about yourself)
So let's dive right into Part 1 - What Can You Do Right Now?
You need to start taking the time to listen to what your body, your mind, and your heart are telling you. You need to pay attention to what your whole being is trying to yell at you (cause, trust me, by now it's screaming at you). If your body says you've been standing too long, take a seat. If your mind is telling you to do a puzzle, play a game, listen to music, do it. Take 10 minutes to do what's it's thinking about. If your heart says, "Hey. We want to talk to that friend you said you'd call 7 months ago but haven't," pick up the phone and chat!
Take Good Care of yourself.
This includes eating better. Cut out the junk food (except for the occasional Oreo) and soda. Stay away from those food you may have turned to to suffocate your feelings. Keep more fruits and veggies in the house for snacking! Exercise is a must. Move your butt! Did you know just being outside for 10 - 15 minutes a day can actually help with depression symptoms all on it's own? Why not take a walk and work off that brownie we all know you just ate in secret (that's right, I know about the brownie).
Take time to do things you enjoy
You need to set aside you time. I mean actually marking it in your to-do list for the day, plot that time out. Play the guitar, paint, work on a puzzle, dance like a crazy person (pun intended), take pictures outdoors (hey! There's that outside thing again), go fishing, fly a kite, SOMETHING you love! Make a list and do something from that list everyday.
Get Something Done that you've been putting off.
Go clean out your closet like you've been saying you'll do for 4 months now. Go take those boxes to Goodwill like you planned 9 weeks ago. Pay that bill that's overdue.
Do Things that make use of your own special talents.
Are you crafty? Make things for friends and family. Love animals? Volunteer at a shelter. Enjoy kids? Volunteer to read to a daycare once a week. Enjoy music? Make a funny music video to share with YouTube (who knows? You could be famous!).
Put on something pretty! Wear that special necklace. Wear the slinky black dress for date night. Wear that sexy bra that makes you feel awesome. And wear it all just for you. Don't wear it for anyone else.
Spend Time with People
Surround yourself with people that love you and support you. You don't always have to talk about your illness all the time. Talk about that funny video you saw. Talk about a trip you want to take. Talk about why pinkie toes are so important. Just spend time with the people you love and that love you.
Do Something Nice for another person.
That's right. Pay it forward. Random act of kindness. Volunteer. Something. Not only will you make someone's else day amazing, but you'll feel pretty awesome yourself. You don't even have to spend money on it, unless you want to. Your time, though, can be the most valuable thing in the world though.
Do those things that you KNOW will make you feel better about yourself.
Start that diet (you can keep the hidden brownies if you want). Begin an exercise routine. Spring clean the house. Read the book you bought. Have a staycation one weekend. You already know the things that you love and want to do, so go do them!
Like I said before, these things won't cure you over night. You are going to have to work for it. You're going to have to sweat. I'm still working hard at implementing these into my daily routine. I'm slowly getting better, and I'm slowly feeling better. So you can start! I'll be your "Feel Better Buddy." We can do this. I can do this. YOU CAN DO THIS!
As always, feel better soon!