I’ve decided that resuscitating my sense of fashion is on the menu this fall. As is learning to say “no”.
So is claiming my space. And putting flowers by my bed. And restating my personal values.
“What the heck is she talking about?” You may be asking yourself. What do all of these things have in common?
One word: Confidence.
I’ve been vehemently shouting the practice of self-care from the rafters. If you find yourself in the role of caring for an aging parent, you know why. When we care for ourselves, we can be much better caretakers for those who need us.
But it goes beyond that. One would think with everything a person can accomplish by the time we turn 40, we’ve got it down. We walk around in the world totally centered and confident.
Truth is, according to a meta-analysis by the APA, we don’t really get it together and become comfortable in our own skins completely until our 60s and 70s. Of course, that’s not the case for everyone, some people are totally on top of their game by 40 and they stay that way. Some people, not so much.
I, for one, have my ups and downs. Lately, the motivation to redirect my attention to my self-esteem is not for selfish purposes, which gives me even more incentive to go on a little quest.
I’ve been looking for some of the best practices that other people over 40 swear by to keep movin’ and shakin’ on their own terms. Here’s what I’ve found:
Rediscover Your Gratitude
This is perhaps one of the best ways to jump-start your self-esteem. When things around you seem dark, look for the light and be grateful for what you find. The tiniest things are the most impactful too.
The pleasant experience of hearing a child laugh, or a bird sing (no cliche’s I swear) means a lot more if you give thanks for it. A gorgeous dinner or an exceptional glass of wine, someone paying you a compliment. You get the idea. If it’s positive, grab onto it and give thanks.
Keep a Success Journal
I swear, no one thinks to do this, but it’s such a powerful way to prove to yourself that you rock. Again, small change here. You don’t have to win a Nobel prize, just pat yourself on the back for refraining from losing your temper at someone today.
Give yourself credit for folding the laundry. Truthfully, it was the very last thing you wanted to do today, but you knew it had to be done so you took one for the team. No accomplishment is too small.
Adopt a New Habit
Like keeping a success journal, for instance. Pick one small thing. Drink more water every day, make it a point to say something nice, or pay someone a compliment every day. Develop a self-pampering nighttime routine.
It’s amazing for your self-esteem when you can pick up a new, healthy habit and stick with it for a bit.
Cultivate Healthy Speech
Not just for you, but for your friends and family, too. Nothing good comes from complaining about the extra pounds you’ve put on because you can’t seem to social distance from the fridge. (You’re not alone).
Not only is it bad for your self-image, but it’s also bad for the people around you listening to your negative self-talk.
Now, we’re not trying to shame anyone here. I think it’s a habit for almost all of us, but consider this:
We would never say to our friends the terrible things we sometimes say to ourselves. We probably wouldn’t even think them. Remember that the next time you put on those jeans that have gotten too tight and you’re tempted to say something bad about yourself.
Take Care of Your Business
We’re not talking literally about a business, we’re talking about your personal stuff. Finances, paperwork, subscriptions to things you’ve been meaning to cancel but have gone on the backburner.
Make a little list of things you’ve been meaning to do and pick one or two a day to do them. An email you’ve been meaning to send, or answer. A call you’d meant to make to your bank a long time ago to ask about streamlining your portfolio. You get the picture.
Reinvent Your Look
I know it sounds a little shallow, but seriously, looking in the mirror and loving what we see is very much in line with that idea of self-care. You don’t have to spend a bunch of money.
Remember when we were teenagers and we used to cut out pictures of stuff we liked from magazines and paste them on a collage so we could get our fashion on? Acid-washed jean jackets and those Madonna lace gloves? No? Just me?
Anyway, we’ve got Pinterest for that now. Get on there and find some clothes you love but may not ordinarily have worn and go try on similar things you find at the mall. Just like when you were 15, only all grown up. And no jelly sandals.
Learn Something New
We posted a blog not too long ago about taking up a new hobby during this whole COVID mess to make the most of your time, and this is in that same vein.
Learning something new can also mean sharpening your skills at work. Expand your skillset, you never know, you may just get a raise out of it!
Do yourself (and everyone else) a favor. Find ways to remind yourself of how awesome you are. Self-esteem really is contagious. Seriously, science says so.
So while people are spreading viruses (we’re not suggesting purposefully, of course, it just is what it is…) resolve to spread positive thought. Make someone else feel good about themselves by showing them you feel good, too.