February is International Boost Self-Esteem Month. Winter doldrums can get the best of anyone, and this annual observation is a timely opportunity to focus on cultivating feelings of self-respect. TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, offers these ideas to improve self-esteem when on a journey to better wellness.
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.
TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) is the original weight-loss support and wellness education organization. Founded more than 65 years ago, TOPS is the only nonprofit, noncommercial weight-loss organization of its kind. TOPS promotes successful weight management with a “Real People. Real Weight Loss.®” philosophy that combines support from others at weekly chapter meetings, healthy eating, regular exercise, and wellness information. TOPS has about 170,000 members – male and female, age seven and older – in nearly 10,000 chapters throughout the United States and Canada.
Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. To find a local chapter, view www.tops.org or call (800) 932-8677.