February is International Boost Self-Esteem Month, and I think it comes at a perfect time. We could all benefit from a little (or big) boost of self-lovin’ when the holidays are long gone, the weather is cold, and school is starting to get stressful again.
Self-esteem is a major issue in our perfection-driven and celeb-obsessed society, and college-aged women are especially vulnerable. There’s so much pressure to get straight A’s, pad your resume with extracurriculars, be a social butterfly and a dating expert, and look like a model while doing it all. It’s so easy for our self-esteem to plummet when expectations for us are sky-high, but letting this happen can actually be dangerous!
Low self-worth puts you at a high risk for eating disorders (experts say that at least 1/5 of college girls suffer from one), and drug use, and can eventually lead to unhealthy relationships and problems in the workplace. So this month, let’s stop with the self-deprecating and learn to love ourselves!
Need a little help? No problem. We turned to some experts to give us tried-and-true tips to boost our self-esteem. No cheesy mantras here – just real things you can do to make yourself feel better about…yourself.
Kim Brittingham, author of “Read My Hips,” says: Stop comparing yourself to other women. “Focus on being the best YOU can be. Trying to live up to or exceed someone else’s personal best is a losing game to begin with. We’re too unique; our paths to happiness, health and success will vary as much as our DNA. Besides, that kind of competitive comparison is a wasteful distraction. Keep your eye on the prize — your own, not someone else’s.”
Mary Jones, host of The Mary Jones Show, says: Act confidently. “Research has proven that if you act confidently – even if you’re not feeling it – you will soon feel more confident. Your mind will begin to feel the way your body is acting.”
Shari Berkowitz, Pilates instructor, says: Do Pilates. “Running on a treadmill for 45-60 minutes inside a gym and lifting weights are completely mindless exercises, simply so you can try to achieve those unreasonable images that society puts out. Pilates, however, is a type of exercise regime with a purpose of creating a balanced body and mind. It just so happens that this method of exercise develops a long, lean body with great strength and flexibility. The visual that people (especially women) are looking for is developed, but there is far more to it. The sort of physical and mental strength that one develops in Pilates is empowering. This is ‘mindful exercise.'”
Debbie Mandel, author of “Addicted to Stress,” says: Find your passion. “Women follow an endless to-do list, depleting themselves to prove their self-worth. When a woman discovers her passion, what makes her heart sing, she delights in her uniqueness and knows how she differs from others. She values herself, her time and energy. Stress erodes identity, however, tapping into creativity revives the hidden girl within who had dreams and was spontaneous and natural.”
DeAnna Radaj, Feng Shui specialist, says: Do a Vision Board. “A Vision Board helps the person actually DEFINE what self-esteem means to them, allows them to visualize what THEY would look/feel like with confidence & self-esteem. ” Once you know what it is that gives you self esteem, you are more capable to go out there and get it.
Jeremy Hamburgh, dating expert, says: Bulletproof yourself. “When women dress stylishly for a situation, they feel bulletproof. The definition of self-esteem is a favorable impression of oneself. Bulletproofing is one way that women can build that favorable self impression. What makes it so powerful is that it is self-fulfilling. When a woman bulletproofs herself, she feels comfortable in her surroundings, which increases her confidence, which causes others to perceive her positively, which makes her feel even more comfortable in her surroundings.”
Selena Rezvani, author of “The Next Generation of Women Leaders,” says: Keep a triumph log. “In life, we tend not to really savor and relish our successes. The critical, dissatisfied part of us often booms with complaints while the positive, encouraging side of us feebly tries to get a word in. By keeping a log of your proudest moments, including those times that you saw yourself as most courageous or brave, you have a ready inventory of accomplishments that can crowd out doubts. Just flipping through your victory log will renew your confidence time and again.”