We're already into the second month of the year, and there are more than a few of us who'd just love to skip this one out because of two little words: Valentine's Day.
It doesn't help that people tend to withdraw socially, and are often depressed during these cold and dreary winter months anyway. According to Dr John Powell, an associate clinical professor in public health, this winter depression is unfortunately more common in women.
But if you're feeling lonely this Valentine's Day, remember your worth comes from what you are, not who you're with. It's possible that people in relationships are also feeling the blues. Dr. Gail Saltz, a New York-based psychiatrist who specializes in relationships, notes you can feel alone, even in a crowd.
In addition, researchers at the University of Chicago, suggest that some people have a genetic predisposition to be lonely. Not very comforting, we know, but whatever the reason, this lethal combination of winter and Valentine's Day can spell disaster for our self-worth.
But we say it's time to cheer up. February is also International Boost Self-Esteem Month (which is likely not a coincidence), so lifting our spirits can therefore be the gift we give ourselves this Valentine’s season.
Remember, positive self-esteem builds confidence, so here are 10 more tips from TOPS Club, Inc., a non-profit weight-loss support organization, to get you started.
1. Stop comparing yourself to others. Trying to live up to or exceed someone else’s personal best is a losing game. As the saying goes, “How boring would it be if we were all the same?” Focus on being the best you that you can be.
2. Compliment yourself regularly, either by looking in the mirror and saying something you like about yourself or writing it in a journal. Many times, we’re quick to compliment others on their success but hesitate to do the same for ourselves.
3. Exercise consistently, at least 30 minutes of exercise several times a week, to strengthen muscles and to burn calories. Improve your physical strength, and you may feel a sense of empowerment that can dramatically enhance your self-esteem.
4. Simply smile. The mere act of smiling changes blood flow to the brain and can actually makes you feel happier and relieve tension. A smile sets off chemical and physical reactions within your mind and body, releasing endorphins that boost your mood.
5. Focus on your accomplishments. Forgive yourself for mistakes and focus on the positive by celebrating your victories. Consider writing them down so you can review and reflect when you’re feeling down and need to renew your confidence.
6. Get the support you need to succeed. Join a weight-loss support group, like TOPS, which can help you to stay on track to accomplish your wellness goals. Fellow members will help keep you motivated.
7. Make a list of your positive qualities. Are you generous? Kind? Write down at least ten positive qualities about yourself and return to this list as often as needed to boost your morale.
8. Find something special in each day. Even if it’s in a small way, do something pleasant and rewarding, like catching up on your favorite television show, taking a walk to the park, or indulging in a bubble bath. Or treat yourself to something small that isn’t a food or beverage, like a manicure or a new piece of costume jewelry.
9. Eat better. Pay attention to your food choices and nourish your body. Buy healthier foods and prepare well-balanced meals that will help give you energy and feel like your best self – not sluggish and overstuffed.
10. Explore a passion. Whether it’s a side job, hobby, or as a volunteer, pursuing your passion in even a small way can lead to a sense of purpose and significantly improve your overall happiness and quality of life.