We’ve all been there – the look you give yourself in the mirror when you’re not having such a great day, the things you tell yourself when another pimple shows up or your jeans fit a little too tight (thanks, quarantine). Self-confidence is a journey that feels like it’s never fully, totally complete. One day could be good, one day could be bad and one day could just be in between.
Of course, the cliché thing to write is “don’t compare yourself,” but it’s easier said than done. However, comparison is the thief of joy, if we’re being totally honest. As I said before, the beauty of the journey is that each day is different. So your bad day could be someone else’s good day, and vice versa. How can you compare your low to someone else’s high? You can’t.
Most recently and impactful, I remember going to a Pure Barre class one Saturday morning. I jogged over, took the class and jogged home, expecting to just shower and eat and move on with my day. However, I got to the class and felt like the ugliest, fattest person in the room. I was having a few breakouts on my face that day, it had been a few days since I washed my hair so it was frizzy, the leggings and tank top combo I had on wasn’t my favorite and to boot I swear the class was a Victoria’s Secret special because every other woman in there was so toned and so strong and got through all the moves that day with ease. I, however, was struggling from the beginning and felt way off my game. Looking around, I was embarrassed of myself. I kept losing my balance, I couldn’t get through a whole set of some of the moves, my posture was really bad and I just didn’t look as good doing this class as some others did, and this was a class I took frequently, so it’s not like any of it was brand new.
I went home and had to get myself out of the funk, clearly. So I showered, shaved, washed my hair, put on self tanner, put on my favorite comfy outfit and made a veggie omelette after walking to go pick up an iced coffee. I enjoyed that while watching The Office, and then had a productive afternoon of getting homework done. It was a culmination of little things that ultimately made me feel better about myself.
As it is inevitable that bad days will come, and days where I’ll want to curl up in a ball and let no one see me will come, I started finding ways that I can feel a bit more confident about myself. These tips help me hold my head a little bit higher on the harder days, and I hope they help you too! Finding confidence in yourself is such an important skill, because who else is going to be there for you when you’re down? It’s you and yourself against the world, so you might as well have a good relationship, right? Ha.
All jokes aside, I hope you all gain at least one new way of finding self-confidence. None of these are groundbreaking cures, but little things that help get you in the right direction again. Let me know in the comments below how you like to make yourself feel a little bit better on the down days!
Six Tips To Boost Your Confidence (in no particular order)
- Educate yourself
Sometimes, reading a book or watching a documentary makes me feel better about myself. Learning about the world and all that is out there can be inspiring and put things in perspective for me. As I’m sure you can tell, I love reading anything from self-help books to non-fiction to fiction stories. And another fun fact, I’m a HUGE documentary girl – I get sucked down the rabbit hole of watching conspiracy documentaries and stories of lost scandals and interesting journey’s people have gone on. On Netflix, I love On the Way to School, Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things and Conspiracy. Next on my list is 13th.
- Repeat Mantras in the Mirror
I thought this was totally hokey, my dad used to tell me to do this when I was in middle and high school. But when I started listening, after a few weeks I noticed I was approaching the day with a bit more of a smile, and a bit more sureness in my steps. I had index cards taped to my mirror that said things like, “I will get accepted to XYZ University” and “I am confident in my body” and “I am smart and nobody can tell my otherwise.” When I got to college, I had similar things taped to my mirror, along with my goals for that semester in school, track and my personal life. Looking at myself and repeating those positive things helped change my psyche from one that was always down on myself to one that repeated positivity without even realizing it. I’m a strong believer in speaking things into existence – sometimes you really have to force it but making the conscious effort to say something nice to yourself pays off. It’s all about winning the mental battle.
- Move your Body
Even if its just for five minutes – go for a walk around the block, do 10 push-ups, do jumping jacks for a minute, literally anything! I heard once that you always feel better after exercising than you did before and I have always found that to be true. The endorphins released are beyond your control, you can’t help but to release them after getting your heart rate up! When I’m feeling especially self-conscious about a certain part of my body, I’ll do a few quick exercises for that (crunches if I feel bloated, squats if I get upset about my legs, push-ups for the arms, etc.). Of course, I know that 10 squats won’t change my legs immediately, but the little mental trick works. I typically workout in the morning before I go to work (or in today’s case, step over to my desk and log on), but if I have a stressful or bad day, I go for a run or a bike ride or lift to clear my head, and it seriously works. Getting to the point of exercising is the hardest part, but one you start it’s almost like you can’t stop…almost. My most stressful, upsetting scenarios have been relieved by turning to sweat.
- Eat a Fruit or Vegetable
A lot of my self-confidence issues come from body image issues, so most of these tips help from a health perspective. But nonetheless, healthy food is good for anyone’s mental health! If you’re feeling sluggish or down and you eat a bag of chips, you’ll only feel more sluggish and down. I truly eat as clean as possible not for a diet or certain figure, but because it makes me feel the best! When I start gorging on pasta and sweets and fried foods, I feel awful about myself, I feel less on my game, I struggle staying awake and focusing and I’m much more irritable. What you put into your body is what you put out, so take care of yourself on the inside too! And give yourself the little mental win of eating a fruit or vegetable and feeling healthy – treat your mind right and it will treat you right.
- Treat Yourself
Put a face mask on, light a candle, buy a cute outfit, have a glass of wine, go do a great workout, just do something little for yourself. If you’re feeling down, chances are you’ve put yourself, your needs and your own mental health on the sidelines. You need to put your own air mask on before you can put anyone else’s on, so make sure you’re kind to yourself as well. Whatever little things you look forward to that you consider a treat, do! Pause and treat yourself when you’re down, you definitely deserve it, and you’ll come out feeling a bit more refreshed and renewed.
- Straighten your Back and Smile
Simple as that – sit up straighter, roll your shoulders back and smile. Force it – it’ll do wonders to you. I like to think of it as that scene from The Incredibles when Edna slaps the mom and says, “Pull yourself together.” Pull yourself together, smiling won’t fix everything but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
Have a great week everyone!