Wellbeing and self-care are hot right now, and for good reason. We’ve seen wellbeing rise in popularity, particularly amongst women, for years, from luxurious wellness retreats to indulgent beauty treatments. Focusing on our wellbeing is arguably more important than ever right now. The COVID-19 pandemic is having a measurable impact on our physical and mental health. Research shows it’s having a disproportionate effect on women’s wellbeing due to existing gender imbalances. As if being a modern woman wasn’t hard enough, right?
One of the best ways we can boost our mental wellbeing is by working on our confidence. UK women’s confidence is at an all-time low. Almost three-quarters of UK women report regularly lacking confidence at work.
Equally, UK women have ranked lowest in body confidence for years compared to our global counterparts, and this has continued into lockdown. A government study conducted in July 2020 found that six out of 10 women feel negatively about their bodies and 53% felt worse or much worse about it during lockdown.
It’s clear that we’re experiencing a confidence crisis. But we really shouldn’t be. Everyone is fabulous in their own way, and we want every woman to know that. That’s why we’ve rounded up our best tips for adding confidence-building activities into your wellbeing routine.
Take inspiration from wellbeing influencers
There’s no getting away from it: influencers impact almost every area of our lives. Whether it’s cleanfluencers like Mrs Hinch giving you interior design inspo, or powerhouses like Chiara Ferragni shaping your fashion choices, they’re our new idols. Seeking out relatable influencers can help you learn to love yourself and inject positivity into your social media feeds.
Queer illustrator Florence Given, who shot to fame on Instagram, is known for her powerful, feminist slogans. Her debut novel, Women Don’t Owe You Pretty, supplements her empowering designs to instil confidence in women. Its release has seen her surge in popularity, as women seek a much-needed confidence boost. Because we know we practice self-care and beauty for ourselves and nobody else.
Elsewhere, influencers including creator Patricia Bright, author Niomi Smart, podcaster Giovanna Fletcher and business owner Cecilia Harvey use their social media platforms to spread a range of positive messages. From wellness tips and positive affirmations to empowering career advice, these women are spreading the message that self-care is important and success is an achievable goal for UK women.
We know, telling yourself you’re amazing might sound a bit fluffy. But there’s a science behind it and it’s proven to increase your confidence. The key is to be specific with your affirmations. Struggling with your body confidence? Tell yourself earnestly that your body is beautiful and remind yourself of everything it helps you do. Lacking confidence in your career? Highlight your own achievements and remind yourself you’re good at what you do.
Try following these easy steps to build affirmations into your daily routines:
- List your qualities you feel uncertain of on a piece of paper or on your tablet.
- Write positive affirmations about these elements. If, for example, you’re worried about your post-baby tummy, appreciate the miracle of birth and the demands of motherhood.
- Stand in front of a mirror – this is really important. Then read your affirmations out loud to yourself for five minutes a day, three times a day.
- Be sure to read your affirmations slowly, with confidence and emphasis. Say them firmly and you’ll begin to change your negative thought patterns.
You can combine your affirmations with your other self-care activities, like your skincare routine or a luxurious facial massage. Scientific research shows that daily affirmations reduce stress and rumination. They are also linked to improved academic achievements, making healthy lifestyle changes, and reduce negative thought patterns. Not bad for 15 minutes of work a day, hey?
Ask your loved ones what they love about you
One of the best ways to remind yourself how fabulous you are is to ask the most important people in your life what they love about you. You might be self-conscious about your thighs, but your best friend might envy them when you wear your designer swimwear on holiday together. Similarly, maybe you’re nervous when speaking in public, but your audience may think your presentation style is flawless. You value your loved ones’ opinions, so listening to what they admire you for is sure to boost your confidence.
The added bonus of this step is that taking the time to speak to your loved ones – whether in-person or virtually – has a positive effect on your mental wellbeing. Multiple reputable health organisations, including the NHS, Mental Health Foundation, Mind, and Rethink Mental Illness, recommend speaking to someone you love to support your mental health generally, but especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. So, pour some vino and catch up on that hot goss at the same time!
This next tip follows closely from the previous one. Think about how you speak to your closest friends when they’re lacking confidence. Do you agree with their anxieties, or do you tell them everything you love about them to boost their confidence? We’re sure it’s the latter. And that’s how you should talk to yourself.
The next time you have a negative thought, respond as if it’s your best friend who said it. How would you reassure them that this negative thought about their body or skills is untrue? Would you agree with their assessment about their supposedly wobbly thighs, or would you reassure them that they’re gorgeous?
Self-doubt and negative thought patterns are proven to have a negative impact on your career. As a driven career woman, that’s the last thing you need. That’s why self-compassion is so important to the modern woman. Even Forbes recommends being kind to yourself by practising a number of positives habits, one of which is talking to yourself the way you talk to loved ones.
A lack of confidence is a long-standing issue for women in the UK, but it’s about time that changed. Practise our tips to boost your confidence and help you recognise yourself as the strong, powerful, fabulous woman you are. After all, who runs the world? Girls.