Now these can take more time out of your day, but the trade-off is feeling better about yourself on a regular basis. Some may require you to ask friends and family for help, but again, as cheesy as it may sound at first, it will do wonders, and all of these will give you some perspective of how you really see yourself (on a good day of course) and how others wish you saw yourself.
Make affirming lists
Pick a few (or all if your feeling bored) of the lists below and write them down.
Five of your strengths (persistence, courage, creativity, etc.)
Five things you admire about yourself (your faith, your relationship with family members,
The five greatest achievements in your life so far (recovering from a serious illness, having kids,
finishing school, etc.)
At least 20 accomplishments, big or small, silly or serious (got dressed this morning, learning a
new favorite recipe, learning to dance, etc.)
10 ways you can treat yourself, do NOT include food and try to think of things that don't cost any
money (window-shopping, taking a bubble bath, chatting with a friend, etc.)
10 things to make yourself laugh (watching funny videos, funny movie, telling jokes, etc.)
10 things you can do to help someone else (volunteer at a homeless shelter, random act of
10 things that you do that make you feel good about yourself (sing, dance, getting a mani/pedi,
baking something for another person, etc.)
Reread these often! Everyday if you can. And you will want to go back and redo them every 3-6 months. The reason? As you keep practicing all these new tools, continue therapy and meds (if applicable), these lists will change. Keep them all, and see how your values, dreams, and self esteem has changed over time!
Create a personal "celebratory scrapbook" to honor yourself
This is for my crafty readers out there. This is also just a fun thing to do anyways. But buy a scrapbook just for you. On the pages put pictures of yourself (happy pictures of course). Write what made you happy during that picture or time-frame. Put in mementos of trips, writings or quotes you enjoy, cards you've received, etc. Look through it frequently! Add to it constantly. You'll start to see all the positive things and happiness in your life in no time.
On the top of a piece of paper write "I like (your name) because:" Have friends and family members write an appreciative statement about you on it. When you go back and read what others have written, you are NOT ALLOWED to deny it, contradict it, or try to give reasons that it's not true. just ACCEPT that these statements are true. Read it a lot to remind yourself how others see you.
Self Esteem Calendar
Get a calendar with large blank spaces for each day (not dry erase). In each of the spaces, write down one thing that would make you happy that you can do. For instance, call a friend, bake a cake, go for a hike, but a new CD, wear sexy heels, date night, bubble bath, and the list goes on. Now you have to promise yourself to do whatever is written on the calendar everyday. With that in mind, plan something according to the day (ex. don't plan a hike on a day you have to work).
Reinforcing a positive self image
Get a piece of paper, a pencil or pen, and something to keep track of the time. Set the timer (or do the math) for 10 minutes. Write your name across the top of the piece of paper. Start the timer. In those ten minutes, write everything positive and awesome about yourself. Don't worry about sentence structure. Don't worry about grammer. Don't worry about organization either. Write whatever you want because no one else will see this. Avoid any negative statements (don't use, "I should stop cussing," "I need to lose weight."). Use positive only ("I'm a creative person." "I'm very organized."). When the 10 minutes is up, read what you've written. The first few times you do this, the paper may be pretty empty, but that just goes to show what you need to work on (self esteem). Do this once a month and see how the paper fills up faster and faster over time.
If you want more ideas on helping your self esteem, check out your local library, talk with your therapist or doctor, even join a depression support group (check out NAMI). These ideas are a great place to start, but there are hundreds of way to get your self esteem to rise.
The biggest thing to remember through all of this is that it will pass. I've mentioned the light at the end of the tunnel before. It's hard to see in all that darkness, but if you work towards at the very least finding it, you'll start to notice that glow of daylight. It's hard to make that trek. It's exhausting making that trek. But you have to have more will power than the depression (or any mental illness) to truly beat it. You own your body and your mind, not your mental illness. We'll all get through this!
Don't forget to follow on Facebook! I'm always posting new pictures, things to make you laugh, and updates to the website and mental illness related news!
Start feeling better soon!