Loving Yourself while Depressed: 7 Steps to a Happier You
Do you really love yourself?
I mean, really really love yourself.
Do you wake up every morning content with who you are?
This should be the case for everyone, all nearly 8 billion of us. But sadly, so many people live with shame and self-doubt. They spend their life hating the person they should love the most.
It sounds counterintuitive to think about. After all, we (especially women) are conditioned to act and feel selflessly. We need to bend over backwards for the people we love, often at the expense of ourselves.
This is true, we should treat the people in our lives with love and empathy. But at the end of the day, we have to put on our own oxygen masks first.
Why loving yourself first is so important
To be completely honest, I hate with a passion the quote (and its variations): “If you don’t love yourself, nobody else will.”
So, if I struggle with self love and accepting myself, nobody else will love me? Sounds like champion advice.
All sarcasm aside, even though I hate that quote and it’s simply not true, I do want to point out how it might be true if reworded.
“If you don’t love yourself, nobody else will,”
“If you don’t love yourself, it is difficult to teach others how to love you.”
Dealing with low self esteem, by no means makes you unlovable. So, forget that immediately if you’ve read that somewhere. What is true is that you need to love yourself, because if you do, you can better show others how you deserve to be loved. That does start with you.
Here is an example:
If you are really insecure about your body, and want to find someone who loves the way you look, you have to find that confidence! If you are more confident about how you look, it will be easier to find someone who loves your body as much as you do.
5 tips for better self love
It is important to spend a little time each day doing things that promote self love, especially in these trying times. Check out these simple tips that you can use on a daily basis to make that a little easier.
Tip 1: Start a journal
This is where I recommend everyone starts. Starting a journal is inexpensive, and easy to do. Not sure where to start? Try the following suggestions:
- Write a list of things you’re grateful for
- Write down some things you like about yourself
- Describe your perfect day
- Write about the person who inspires you the most, and why
(link for people to download this free PDF: https://sowl.co/RfR5y)
All it takes is a notebook and writing tool of your choosing. You can try choosing a notebook in a soothing color, or color that makes you happy. Same with the ink color! Maybe a fun ink color will help get you inspired.
Tip 2: Make a self care checklist
Taking care of yourself is a great stepping stone to better self love. All it takes is a minimum of 15 minutes a day, if that’s all you can manage. An hour or more is ideal, but I get that people are busy. It can take time to make this a habit. So start wherever you are at, and go from there.
If you don’t practice self care regularly, you might be overwhelmed at the concept. Don’t worry! I’ve got your back.
- Take a longer shower, and moisturize thoroughly afterwards.
- Walk around the block for 15 minutes.
- Go to bed a little bit earlier.
- Make a healthy dinner.
- Drink at least 64 oz of water.
Tip 3: Practice daily affirmations
I know that to a lot of people, positive affirmations can seem really corny. I thought that for a long time, to be completely honest. But science is more and more showing us that they are effective. So give them a try! It certainly can’t hurt.
Set a reminder on your phone for right after you normally wake up. Open your eyes, stretch, and tell yourself the following.
I am loved and worthy of love. I love myself.
Simple, right? Do that on a daily basis, and you will see improvement. Keep in mind, it does take time. After a while, you can add more personalized affirmations after that. Say what speaks to your heart.
Tip 4: Also, ditch the negative self talk.
While we’re on the topic of positivity, it is vital that you quit talking trash about yourself. It might not always seem that way, but our brains are smart. They learn whatever they are fed. Did you notice that, as an adult, you’ve adopted things you learned as a kid? That is an example of the elasticity of our brain.
So, make a commitment to stop negative thoughts in their tracks. You will still have them. You’re only human. The important thing is that when they come up, you challenge them immediately.
Here’s an example. Let’s use body image again.
I hate the way I look.
My body has done amazing things, and I honor its journey.
See how easy that is? Like with positive affirmations, the fruits of this take a while to take hold. But with time, you will notice that this process is easier.
Tip 5: Set some goals for yourself.
Having a goal in mind is always important for any kind of self-improvement journey. What sorts of goals might you set?
- I will spend 1 hour a day engaging in a self care practice by the end of the month.
- I will challenge 3 negative thoughts by the end of the day.
- I will exercise for 30 minutes 3 times this week.
Make sure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Reasonable, and Time-Sensitive. (SMART goals are proven to be more effective.)
Give yourself a little extra love.
If you don’t know this by now, you deserve it. It might not seem like it, and it might feel very unnatural to lavish yourself with praise. But it is crucial for your mental health, and general wellbeing.
Try one of these tips above, and let us know your favorite self love routine in the comments!
Make sure you spend some time loving yourself first today. You will be surprised at how much better you feel!
About the Author
Jen (the writer behind the blog, Diffusing the Tension) lives in Northwest Indiana with her husband and two children (ages 4.5 and 3). She has bipolar disorder and frequently writes about her experiences with that. In her spare time, she is OBSESSED with true crime. She is also a bookworm, TV junkie, and fitness nut.
You can follow her on:
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