At today’s lightning pace it’s hard enough finding time to wash our hair let alone nurture ourselves. On top of that advertising, TV shows and movies showcasing the so-called ‘perfect woman’ plague our self perception. Being the perfect mother, wife, employee and friend – while looking fresh and rested no less – just isn’t reality. Self esteem and sense of worth suffer, leaving some women feeling like they’ll never measure up. Here, five quick things you can do to regain your confidence and start loving the skin you’re in.
Walk it out
“Exercising adds to our energy levels,” says Jennifer Schramm, a Toronto-based life coach and self-esteem expert, “it helps connect us to our bodies, minds and spirit.” Remember how great you feel after a crisp fall walk or running around with your kids and compare that to how you feel after staying up too late watching TV or eating poorly.
Peter Fink, a registered hypnotherapist specializing in personal empowerment, says that positive reinforcements (ie, walking) strengthen our everyday habits as opposed to negative options (watching TV instead of sleeping) which are often counterproductive for the mind and body.
It’s always easier to remember the negative things people say about you than the positives, explains Schramm. She recommends clients keep a compliment journal and write down all the positive things people say, “Most are surprised at what they find and a shift in perception occurs,” she says. Positive messages and thoughts initiate lasting change, Fink explains. We are constantly programming our minds using suggestion even though we’re often not aware of it. Reiterating the positive feedback from a work meeting or review for example will encourage more confidence versus only focusing on the negatives that may have been raised.
Comparing your life to someone else’s is a dead end. “Start focusing on what is right about you and all the amazing things about yourself,” says Schramm, comparing our unique life to a coworker’s or friend’s keeps us stuck in an impossible place. Instead, she suggests engaging that energy in your own life ensuring the ideals you’re measuring your life against are your own, and no one else’s. Find out what your perfect life is and strive for that.
It’s increasingly difficult to find time for you, but the importance is paramount. Whether it’s trying hot yoga for the first time, or finally joining that running clinic, spending just a few hours a week on yourself will help, as Schramm puts it, “Look at your body as a sacred vehicle.” Taking risks and stepping outside your comfort zone will help you reconnect.
Fink tells clients looking for a positive change to use internal and external encouragements as a way to motivate themselves. Working to get a bonus at work, he explains, is a goal you can set as a positive motivator. Promise yourself you’ll increase sales, run a 5km or swim 20 laps and do it for you.
See something different
If you shudder at photos, pick out flaws or worry about your weight you’re not alone, but that doesn’t make it healthy. “Instead of looking at your body as parts to be perfected start looking at all the amazing things your body allows you to do,” says Schramm, like hugging, walking and laughing. Something as little as focusing on one thing you like, like your ears, plants a seed that will slowly help your esteem grow. She encourages patients to consider saying to a small child what they say to themselves. If you wouldn’t say it to a child why say it to yourself? There’s always a choice in how you think about yourself she explains, “You choose – which feels better?”