This week marks the last in this self-esteem series. I’ve been enjoying putting metaphoric pen to paper, and all of the feedback you’ve been giving me. More so, I’ve loved that I got to give away two power-houses of self-esteem, the 2011 Blogger Body Calendar and a copy of Karen Walrond’s The Beauty of Different.
If you’ve missed the other parts in the series, you can catch up by reading part one, part two, part three and part four.
Today, we say out with the old and in with the new – maybe. This is where I give you a not-so-laundry list of things you need to keep your home (and life!) well-stocked for self-esteem and health.
Fresh fruit and vegetables, ethically-bough and traded staples and free-range meats
When you eat clean, well, often and ethically, a range of hormonal and emotional activities take place. Without getting in too deeply, let’s just say that eating regular, small meals that combine lean protein, produce and complex carbs can help to stave off stress, blood-sugar highs and lows, excess cortisol production (which can actually make you gain weight), and can even regulate your sleep, sex and menstrual cycles. What’s more, eating small amounts frequently is shown to decrease our overall binge compulsions, so we end up actually eating more food, but of healthier types and higher quality.
A travel mug and water bottle
Whether you’re a coffee queen, a Starbucks junkie, or you want to cut back on your soda habit, embrace the reusable. Having a coffee cup saves you money (and the environment) at many coffee houses, and having a water bottle nearby all day actually subliminally encourages you to get more of the pore-clearing, appetite-regulating, energy-giving hydration you need.
Dishes that make you want to serve yourself and others
When you have a beautiful piece of serving ware, you find yourself wanting to throw dinner parties. With beautiful china cups and saucers, you’re proud to have someone over for tea. Embrace the aesthetic that encourages you to socialize – even from within your own home. There’s a sense of loveliness that comes with owning a piece of beauty, even that seen only twice a year.
A dish you can cook or bake blindfolded, that always gets rave reviews
Even if you’re no chef or pâtissière, owning even one magical dish is enough to put a smile upon your face. Especially when company comes and they specifically request you cook your delicious fill-in-the-blank!
shoes that make you feel sexy, shoes that get you moving, boots that serve no function but to look good
Women are rumoured to be shoe-fanatics. But this isn’t universal! But even for those of us that usually pick function over form, or price tag over chic, we need a little shoe fabulousness. Good runners will make a huge difference in getting you out the door for a run, sexy heels will encourage you to put on the black number and a little red lipstick, and boots that exist purely to make you look good? Well, they make you look good. These all do. And better, they make you feel good, which gets projected into the world as confidence.
Clothes: one outfit that makes you feel like ten million bucks for any day, one outfit that makes you feel like ten million bucks for special occasions, a closet of clothes that fit you well, a matching set of lingerie
If something fits you well, draws attention to what you want shown, conceals what you don’t, and even hides a sexy secret? You’re empowered. Well-tailored clothes and a bra that fits can be the difference between being a satisfied size 16, or feeling as if you look ugly, even at a size 6.
The skin you’re in: a really effective skin-care routine, luscious bath, body or hair products, makeup that makes you feel like yourself
Secret – when your skin is well-nourished via diet, hydration and really fabulous skin-care products, you feel different. You might not feel like you need makeup at all, or as much as you’d usually wear. Silky skin is seductive, a good hair day is revitalizing and lounging in a 20-minute bath with moisturising, clarifying products can bring bliss. Makeup shouldn’t be about looking like someone else, and it shouldn’t feel like you’re wearing the weight of someone else on your face, either!
Regular check-ups with your doctors and dentist
Yes, these people can help maintain high self-esteem for you by keeping your smile and body healthy, free of damage and disease, and by treating, if necessary, any ailments that come up. Another point: women who tend to let their check-ups slide tend to feel pretty bad about it, so why both guilt-tripping yourself?
Money in the bank
The biggest source of stress for most married couples and singles is money. Whether you’re dealing with debt, under- or un-employment, or you’re living cheque to cheque, know this: changing your spending habits for those that encourage you to minimize consumer debt, forecast spending and save for emergencies will slough off pounds of tension. And negative feelings that you might have about how you’ve gotten into this stressed out state.
A really fabulous photo of yourself
I brought this point up earlier in the series. Having a great photo hung somewhere that captures you, at home in your own skin, can be the daily reminder you need to seek out inner beauty and that self-esteem is all perspective.
An awe-inspiring family photo
There’s nothing that brings pride to a mother more than that one single photo take that took, or the capture of everyone being silly and in love with each other. This needs a place prominent, too.
A shoulder to lean on, a partner (whether in life, in love, or in business)
Support is something that everyone needs. Even you, Supermom. A good friend that you can cry to, someone who listens to your days’ tantrum-recounts and a business environment that encourages you to succeed are integral to our well-being. And our abilities to shake off the sad or stressful moments and see them for what they may be: speed bumps. These people can also serve as personal p.o.v. providers, so if you’re wondering whether your relationship or job is toxic, or if your child is showing concerning symptoms, they might be the ultimate go-tos.
Proof of your accomplishments
Yes, celebrate yourself. You keep the macaroni necklace that your daughter made for you a decade ago, so why shouldn’t your diploma have critical belonging, too? If you’re the best costume-maker in the world, keep evidence around – for those moments when it feels like you can’t (and maybe won’t) do anything well enough.
Creativity: a pen and paper (or screen and keyboard), a creative outlet, something you’ve made
Being surrounded by vessels, and results, of your creative endeavours are powerful proofs that you? Are amazing. Whether it’s the cosy socks you knitted after teaching yourself last winter, the notebook full of poems you’ve composed or something otherwise you, keep them close to your heart.
Tangibles: books that nourish, music that feeds, a source of amusement
Michelle brought up an author that I can’t wait to dive into in her last MomEsteem post, and one of my favourite books is only a dollar at Chapters/Indigo! It’s Anna Quindlen’s A Short Guide to a Happy Life. I believe in surrounding myself with literature that sings to me, including philosophical writings. While I’m not religious, I do find a lot of peace comes from reading spiritual writings, so I’ve got a few Buddhist and Tao books on my shelves. Music is another big source of esteem and happiness, whether we’re singing along to a song that makes us happy, dancing like it’s 1999 in our living rooms, or watching raindrops fall with something easier and softer, music has a way of aligning our soul with something we’re often accidentally missing: authentic, unmeasured, raw emotions. Lastly, we all need something (or one) that makes us laugh. Several, actually. Truth: no one feels ugly or fat when they’ve got happy tears running down their face and their belly is sore from joy.
Daily: a bedtime, a plan, optimism
The notion that every day is a new one, and that you can feel as amazing as you want to upon waking bolsters us. Knowing what you have control over, such as your master (and micro) plans – where you need and want to be, your goals and your to-do list – and what you don’t can create a kind of serenity and calming of the madness we seem to get wrapped up in everyday. And the first step to this is a good night’s sleep, every night. Eight hours of cat-like bliss, maybe with an early-afternoon nap, too, grounds up, refreshes our moods, strengthens us against negative sources of stress and helps our bodies operate at optimal capacity. While we sleep, we dream, clean out the noise from the day, repair cellular damage and create fortification for the next day ahead: another new one.
What else do you surround yourself with, that sings to you? What helps you to move from ‘not good enough’ through to ‘exactly as I should be’, or even the acceptable alternative ‘good enough, for now’?