Leicester, UK

Let's Talk About The C-Word (That's CONFIDENCE, not COVID!) #AD

Having been isolated from friends and family for many months, finding the confidence to get back out into the world can be tricky. I never used to think twice about popping to the shops to pick up my groceries or heading to a cafe for my caffeine fix, but since these little things have become such major events in recent months, plucking up the courage to leave the house can be really challenging. The pandemic has had a real impact on confidence and mental health, with charities such as Mind reminding us that coming out of lockdown can be just as tough as going into it in the first place. But thankfully, there are some simple yet effective things that you can do to lift yourself up and boost your self esteem. Today, I've teamed up with www.nostringsdating.net to share four top tips for building confidence in spite of COVID!

Selfies for Self-Love

Since we all began working from home in March, I'm sure I'm not the only person who has been slobbing around in loungewear every day. After all, who needs to dressed properly unless you're expected on a video call?! But seeing the same stained pair of trackies and messy bun in the mirror each day can impact on our confidence. Getting dolled up for a night out or putting on a professional outfit for the office can be a real self-esteem booster and opportunities to do these things have been few and far between lately. So if you're in need of a confidence injection, why not dress up in something that makes you feel amazing just for the sake of it, take some pics and remind yourself of just how fabulous you are! Investing in a selfie ring light like mine and putting on your best smile will get you feeling gorgeous in every single snap without the need for a filter. Those stunning selfies will be perfect if you're looking for love on an adult dating site too!

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Start Loving That Bod'

Clicking onto Instagram can leave your self-confidence at an all time low. Everything is airbrushed, from the carefully staged "candid" photos to the glamorous lifestyles of the app's top creators. Fitness-focused accounts are those that impact me the most. One of the best habits that I developed in lockdown was getting into regular exercise and alongside working out more, I also gravitated towards fitness content on IG. However, seeing everyone else's flawless bodies often left me feeling less than comfortable in my own skin. But no matter what size or shape you are, getting sweaty is transformative for your mental state! 

I loved the Couch to 5k programme - it gave me a much needed break away from my desk and distracted my mind from my stresses. When I sat back down to resume my work afterwards, I found myself so much more able to cope. I could think clearly and, having smashed my run, I had the confidence to tackle the problem that was causing me to freak out just hours previously! Actively reminding myself that fitness is about more than just achieving the same "perfect" figure as an Instagram influencer was so important. I now see working out as a celebration of everything that my body can achieve. When I'm running, I feel like I can take on the world!

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Rethink the To-Do List

There's nothing like the sense of self-assurance that comes with completing your to-do list. But sometimes what you need to achieve can seem so massive that you start feeling demotivated. This soon leads to flagging confidence as you feel like you'll NEVER get the job done! This is all too familiar to me - I'm a PhD student and at the moment, I am tasked with writing up my 80,000 word thesis. The final product still seems so far away, but to prevent it from getting on top of me, I'm making the process more manageable by breaking things down into smaller tasks. Simply having "write the thesis" on my to-do list isn't practical, so recently I've started choosing a small section to focus on each day. Setting reasonably achievable goals like this helps me to feel in-control and confident about my ability to finish the overall project.

However, even with the best will in the world, sometimes things just don't go to plan. An emergency can crop up, a computer malfunction can cause you to lose your work, or you just get a cracking headache and need to lie down for a few hours. On days like this, it's so easy to start beating yourself up for not checking off everything on your to-do list. But these are precisely the times when we need to accept and love ourselves unconditionally. Even if we don't manage to achieve everything that we intended, we are still worthy. Our ability to love ourselves should not be dictated by our productivity.

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Challenge Negative Self-Talk

Picture this: A friend comes to you feeling really down in the dumps. They tell you that they've been struggling lately and that they feel really rubbish about themselves. What do you say to them? "Oh, you're just being lazy!" "Get on with it, you're such a loser!" "Everyone around you hates you!" You'd never respond in that way in a million years, right?! So why do you say those things to yourself? If I ever catch myself engaging in negative self-talk, I always try to talk to myself as if I were speaking to a friend in my position. It's a really helpful exercise - it forces me to be a little less self-critical and a lot kinder. When building confidence, your brain can either be your cheerleader boosting you up or an anchor dragging you down. Try to get into cheerleader mode a bit more often!

What makes YOU feel more confident? Let me know in the comments below.