4 Ways to Preserve Self Esteem If You Have a Chronic Illness

I’ve been battling some major January Blues recently. Between the post-Christmas come down, the longer nights and frigid days, and the high expectations of creating kick ass resolutions, I’ve just been completely drained. And with this, I’ve also been feeling pretty down about myself as well.

Obviously, I always try my best to stay secure with myself. I’m of the mind that you should never compare yourself to others because everyone is unique, and if you put your best foot forward there really isn’t anything for you to feel bad about or apologize for (Side note: I am making a huge effort to apologize less! As a woman, the expectation to always be demure, nice, and gentle gets in the way of both professional and personal growth. I’ve been making strides with just saying things straight without apologies, and I’m so proud of myself for making this change!). But, I’ve been feeling unmotivated in work and lazy when it comes to taking care of myself and putting myself together, so I definitely have not been putting my best foot forward and that’s made me feel awful about myself! I’ve been feeling insecure about breakouts I’ve been having on my skin, my hair has not been behaving recently, and on some days loneliness just overcomes me and I just feel so sad!

As I’ve mentioned before though, I hold a strong opinion that you should let yourself feel shitty sometimes as long as you start making changes and solutions after you’ve given yourself space to wallow. That’s where I’m at now - I’ve been feeling pretty bleh for the last couple of weeks and I KNOW it’s time to get my shit together. So, here I am holding myself accountable and writing down some actionable steps I’ll take to make myself feel better for the last couple of weeks of January:

  • Self Care Saturday: Saturday is my “me day”. Carlos works on Saturday so I have the apartment to myself to get shit done! Last Saturday I wallowed when Carlos went to work and stayed in bed reading for most of the day. It felt great at the time to just do nothing, but this Saturday I know I have to do something to pull myself out of my funk. So, I’ll be doing a day full of self care. In the line up is: finishing up the book I’ve been reading, meeting my bestie to try an Ethiopian restaurant, pedicures, and a slow yoga class. It’s a bit of a full day for me, but being active releases chemicals like dopamine in your brain that are necessary for feelings of pleasure and happiness!

  • Spend Time With My Tribe: I would definitely consider myself an extroverted introvert. I NEED time alone to re-energize myself, but spending time with my best friends, sister, and hubby always makes me feel so good! This week, I’m making sure that I spend time with my loved ones after work and over the weekend. Sometimes just having a good laugh with your friends is exactly what you need to boost your confidence because the best accessory is a big smile!

  • MOVE: Getting up and exercising is one of the hardest things for me when I’m feeling insecure or a little blue, but it’s also the thing that will almost certainly make the biggest difference in my mood. As I mentioned, this is partially due to the dopamine that your brain produces when you move. Other great ways exercise helps boost your mood is that it helps you better manage stress, release anxiety, and reduces insomnia. Doing yoga also boosts my confidence because it makes me feel so STRONG! I love knowing that even though my body is in a constant battle, it can still do incredible things! I’ve been trying to schedule myself yoga classes or make exercise dates with friends to keep myself accountable!

  • Tidy Up: One thing that causes me a ton of anxiety and eventually depression is a messy space. But, When I don’t feel good, I let things pile up, I don’t put things away, and I don’t deep clean my space. If you haven’t sensed the trend, these things tend to be a cycle for me. So, one thing that almost always makes me feel lighter, helps me sleep, and makes me feel stronger / more put together is doing a big apartment clean. This week, I’ll be focusing on my middle-of-the-road cleaning, which basically consists of re-organizing and tidying spaces that have gotten out of hand (i.e., kitchen cupboards, closet + wardrobe), cleaning the floors, and finally giving the bathroom and kitchen a deep scrub. I always feel so accomplished when I’ve finished and I end up loving my home even more.