It can be a busy schedule, a loved one that is ill, or perhaps you are used to holding yourself to standards that are exceptionally high. Regardless, it is important to remember to practice self-love, as constantly feeling inadequate or warped of energy is not the most fun way to be spending your life. Not to mention, how simple acts of self-love can influence your health, wellbeing and even your career and relationships with others.
A study executed by the Department of Health Education in the Netherlands suggests that self-esteem is to be considered “a protective factor” for our physical and mental health. Additionally, the abstract mentions that elevated self-esteem can lead to “better health and social behavior,” while poor self-esteem is more likely to be associated with eating disorders, anxiety and depression. Here are a few methods which can contribute to elevated self-love and healthy self-esteem.
- Reintroduce Recess to Your Life
Who didn’t love recess? And how did a small block of time prove to be so productive, whether that was a game of dodgeball, or mingling with our friends? Apparently, the Harvard Business Review agrees, noting that savoring that fifteen-minute break results in goal reactivation, meaning that you revitalize your process each time you return. With this in mind, please take even just fifteen minutes out of your day to do something for you! There can be so many times where there is “no time for that”, but you’d be surprised at how taking that time can impact your efficiency.
- Leave Social Media for a few hours
Given that I work with social media marketing each day, it might seem hypocritical of me to advise you to take a social media break from time to time. With that being said, there are several perks to gain from this sacrifice. For starters, the Pew Research Centre explains that the constant influx of information may be contributing to any stress that is currently on your plate, whether that be distracting you from what you were doing, or making you feel “overloaded”. Additionally, social media can often create a feeling of inadequacy, or even the fear that you are missing out, resulting in a need to compete with unrealistic expectations. Checking out for a few hours can keep you focused, in tune with yourself and mindful of the present and what is.
- Practice Mindfulness
Richard Branson is a prime example of someone who practices mindfulness, as he often emphasizes the need to focus on the present, while being consciously aware in order to regenerate the cognitive process. The American Psychological Association stands by this as well, stating that mindfulness has become increasingly relevant to us, evolving from “a largely obscure Buddhist concept to a mainstream psychotherapy construct” (David & Hayes, 2010). The APA also suggests that mindfulness is a significant component of stress reduction, as this form of “moment-to-moment awareness” (David & Hayes, 2010) allows for revitalization to take effect.
- Talk Yourself Out of It
Everyone has that feeling at some point, where you just don’t feel ideal. This can be directed at how you feel about your body or yourself as a person, or perhaps how you feel you rank within your career or your social circles. Sometimes, all it really takes is a few negative situations in order to feel as though something isn’t quite right. If you can sense a pattern with this, try to be prepared to talk yourself out of it. For example, Harvard Medical School proposes that a stronger sense of self acceptance contributes to a greater level of wellness. The school also states that “not accepting yourself can make you more anxious about [for example] your body. In this context, your automatic negative thoughts increase,” thus allowing for an unhealthy cycle of self-doubt and maybe even self-fulfilling prophecies. A few weeks ago, I was telling you how in my youth, I was self-conscious on occasion about wearing suits, in ‘If You’ve Ever Felt Swimsuit Anxiety, You’re Not Alone’. Do you remember when I told you there, that I actually felt happier and healthier upon embracing who I am, and deciding to participate rather than think about how others view me? I highly recommend the article above if you require a pep talk on feeling good! 🙂
- Relish in the Positive Energy of Others
There is a damn good reason why Psychology Today suggests you choose your company wisely. The article iterates the importance of being aware of how others impact our presence, given that our behavioral traits are often reflective of those around us. The author even suggests that many of us “actually feel the same feelings simply by exposure to emotions in social interactions” (Carter, 2012), allowing us to gain more from positive people, and less from those who remain consistently negative. Everyone has their bad days, but if you find yourself being pulled down often, it may be time to re-evaluate the situation. If you require assistance, read our article, ‘We Need to Talk About Negative People’.
- Establish a Strategy for the Long-Term
What better way to establish self-love than to prepare yourself for a future that is healthy and productive? Living week to week can feel satisfying, but allowing yourself an hour to create a long-term plan and to highlight your goals can allow for a stronger sense of self-worth. A Harvard document suggests that forming a strategy allows for a sense of “arousal, direction and persistence” (Mitchell) which results in success and a positive feeling of achievement.
- Get Some Sleep
Arianna Huffington once suggested that the key behind her success was sleep, and recognizing when a nap is needed. It is so unbelievably easy to identify that you simply don’t have time for that, but you may find that your efficiency gains a boost as a result of getting some additional shut-eye. The Sleep Research Society (yes, this exists) suggests a simple nap of a ten-minute duration can result in increased alertness and productivity. While all of that is fine and dandy, try not to oversleep from that point, as the research suggests that while longer naps may boost your mortality, they are not as useful in terms of efficiency.
- Fancy Alone Time?
With gadgets and responsibilities, it is very rare that any of us are truly alone anymore. Often when I pull the “I’m-an-independent-woman” card in going somewhere solo or being home alone, I realize that realistically and hilariously, I am not as alone as I think and feel to be. I am still communicating with my Instagram followings, or tweeting thoughts to others, or texting my partner. Psychology Today indicates that having this solitude of solo time can offer several advantages, including the replenishing of your mind, improved concentration, the opportunity to discover your voice, think more deeply and even work out your problems in an improved manner.
Exercise? Who knew, right? The US National Library of Medicine launched a study to assess how exercise impacts the self-esteem of youth, and found that “exercise has positive short-term effects on self-esteem in children and young people” (Ekeland et al, 2004), indicating that physical activity is helpful for establishing a base of self love. As well, exercise is linked to the release of endorphins, thus creating a happier, healthier you.
Do you agree with this list? Leave your thoughts in the comments below! If you enjoyed this article, you may like this one: ‘Hack Your Stress’.