Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 13th to 19th May, and this year the theme is Body Image… Change Your Mind we are focusing on bring the stigma around self-esteem.
Self-esteem is how we value and perceive ourselves. It is based on our opinions and beliefs, which can sometimes feel really difficult to change.
Self-esteem starts in the mind, not in the mirror. Building a positive opinion of yourself both inside and out can be good for your mental health. Self-esteem plays a big part in your wellbeing and directly influence your thoughts and feelings.
We want you to value yourself and appreciate all the great things about YOU! Whatever has affected your self-esteem, it is important to remember that you have the right to feel good about who you are.
Here are some tips to help you build your self-esteem:
Be kind to yourself
Try to challenge unkind thoughts about yourself. We all automatically put ourselves down, so if you find yourself doing this ask yourself: “Would I talk to, or think about, a friend in this way?” Feeling good about yourself, recognising and accepting who you are and what you are great at, all helps boost your confidence. Self-worth and self-esteem helps you cope when life takes a difficult turn. Be proud of who you are!
Unplug and switch off
You are who you are, don’t compare yourself to others and try to remember that what other people choose to share about their lives isn’t the full picture. Remember what you see on social media is edited and filtered. Try not to compare yourself to others, in real life and online. Be mindful of the messages you see and hear in the media and how they stereotype. No one is perfect, but be kinder to yourself and take the time to appreciate what makes you… you.
Learn to accept compliments
It is in our nature to shy away from compliments but learning to accept them will help build your self-esteem. Take note of the compliments you receive and look over them when you are feeling low or doubting yourself. We all see ourselves differently than those around us do but focus on your successes. If you are feeling this way, be sure many feel just like you – share the positive and give a compliment to someone you know.
Talk to someone
Supportive family and friends can have a large boost to your confidence and help you deal with the stresses of life. Surround yourself with people who love and value you - this creates a positive atmosphere and will boost your confidence. Give a friend a call, or pop round to see your family for some fun and laughter. You can also talk to your GP or find a local support group to help you express how you are feeling. Change Your Mind have a downloadable resource - Mental Health: Ask. Listen. Talk which you can find here
Don’t take too much on
Set yourself some boundaries around how much you do. We all over stretch ourselves to please others but it can be draining. Pause, take a deep breath and consider how you feel before agreeing to do something. Try to unwind and switch off – this can be reading a book, listening to music or learning a new skill – these little actions make all the difference to ensure you take the time to relax.
The Minding Your Head, Public Health Agency and Royal College of Psychiatrists websites have lots of information on mental health and services available across Northern Ireland and the yourmentalhealth and Health Promotion websites provide similar information for those in the Republic of Ireland.
If you wish to be involved in the campaign visit our campaigns page here.