Will I ever feel comfortable in my own body?
This is something I often wonder to myself on days when I feel particularly low. Will I ever be able to take my clothes off in front of another person? Will I ever be able to love my body again? As someone who is still trying to figure this out, an honest answer to all these questions is: I don’t know. Self-esteem and body image issues are something we women struggle with most of our lives. Going through the menopause certainly doesn’t help this. Sometimes, if I’ve been up all night and am feeling exhausted and I see myself in the mirror, I just don’t feel happy with what’s looking back at me. But I do find that there are ways to help get me through these feelings and thoughts. The first and most important step is to remember that this will pass. I try to remind myself that my low moods and negative thoughts are just temporary. At some point, all these feelings of anxiety and worry will clear up and I’ll wonder why I even felt that way in the first place. While we’re all getting there though, here are some tips to help you build your self-esteem back up.
Take Care of Your Body
I find the days I’m most confident in myself is when I’ve been taking care of myself. It’s easier to feel good about your body, when your body already feels good. This means not running yourself ragged. Take breaks and don’t overexert yourself. Your mental health is just as important as your physical. Allow your mind time to relax and recuperate. This can be done by establishing a good sleeping schedule and sticking to it. Nobody is going to feel confident when all they see are massive eye bags from a bad night’s sleep!
On the physical side, it’s also important to remember to stay hydrated. You’ll be surprised how drinking water regularly can improve your mood. Keeping a healthy and balanced diet is also important. Focus on foods that are high in antioxidants or ‘good fats’ like omege-3. Of course, regular exercise also helps. This can help you feel more body-confident and get you into better shape but it also has the added effect of releasing endorphins into your body, which can make you feel happier and lighter!
Do Little Things That Make You Happy
Let’s face it, not all of us have the time to plan out a full at-home spa day. It’s in the little things though that you’ll find yourself enjoying life more. Wear that red lipstick you love. Take a walk through the park on your way to work. Listen to a motivational podcast on the tube. Indulge yourself in a tasty treat at your lunch break (and don’t feel guilty, we’re allowed to have a little bite every now and again!) Whatever it is that helps you find happiness, do it. These small moments of self-care can have a big impact on how you feel and how you see yourself.
Make a List of Things You Love About Yourself
Sometimes it can also help to put things down on paper. One way you could try to improve your self-esteem is to take a notebook and write down a list of things you are proud of. This can be achievements or things you love about yourself. This might help you develop a more positive perspective. It can sometimes be hard to see the good in ourselves, especially when we feel flat and down. Taking time to reflect on all the things in your life that you love and make you happy can sometimes make all the difference.
Take a Break From Social Media
On the days when you feel particularly down, consider staying off social media for a while. There’s nothing worse when you’re feeling insecure and anxious than seeing a gorgeous model lounging poolside in her swimsuit somewhere exotic. The last thing I want right now is to be in a bikini. Not only that, but seeing your friends and family living their ‘best lives’ online can be disheartening, especially if you’re having a really rough time of it. All we see on social media is the highlight reel people post of their own lives. Their lives probably aren’t as glamorous as they appear on Instagram. What we never see are all the other hundreds of failed selfies they take (me included) before posting that one perfect image. All social media does is put pressure on us to be the best possible version of ourselves. Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re already pretty great on your own! You don’t need validation from social media to know that.
Talk to Your Friends and Reach Out to the MegsMenopause Community
Talking to a friend about what you’re going through always helps. But also remember that there’s a whole community here at MegsMenopause for you to reach out to and share your experience with. While it’s great to start open communication with your friends and your family members, sometimes it’s nice to chat to people who you know are going through the same experience as you. Here at MegsMenopause, I want to create a safe space for women to talk about their issues with one another. So, if you ever feel like you need to talk to someone, don’t be afraid to reach out in the comments on this article or on any of the social media platforms. Even just reading stories about other women going through the menopause and succeeding has helped me carry on. We sometimes think we’re alone, but we’re not!
Meg Mathews Interviewed by Erica Fraser