Low Self-Esteem During the Pandemic

Confidence vs. Corona: 1 in 5 Americans suffered from low self-esteem during the pandemic, reveals poll.

• 16% admit they have drunk alcohol to try and ease negative feelings about their self-confidence.
• 42% of those who experience low self-esteem say this has been worse than previous years since the start of the pandemic.
• More than 1 in 5 (22%) respondents who feel down during the winter months say they drink alcohol in an attempt to lift their mood.
• Infographic included.

It’s no secret that spending months on end slumped around the home in a pair of sweatpants, with limited social contact can make your self-esteem take a sharp nosedive. Moreover, a combination of health complications, financial difficulties and a harsh winter whereby many of us will have been affected by seasonal affective disorder, means it may be difficult to look in the mirror every day and feel good about ourselves.

American Addiction Centers, a leading provider of treatment and resources relating to addiction recovery, conducted a survey of 3,000 respondents, and found that a significant 1 in 5 Americans (20%) say they have suffered from low self-esteem during the pandemic. Broken down by gender, this figure was found to be 22% of women, as compared to 16% of men.

When the results were mapped out, this figure was highest in the Cornhusker State, with 42% of Nebraskans saying they have struggled with low self-esteem during the pandemic. By comparison, it was lowest in New Jersey, with just 8% of people here experiencing feelings of low self-esteem over the last few months.

Infographic showing low self-esteem results across the United States:

The research found that nearly 1 in 5 (16%) people say they have attempted to ease negative feelings about their self-confidence and self-esteem by drinking alcohol. For some people who struggle with low self-esteem, substance use – such as drinking alcohol – may be a coping mechanism for this feeling. Concerningly, 10% of people believe alcohol helps alleviate feelings of low self-esteem.

It was also discovered that more than 2 in 5 (42%) of those who experience low self-esteem say these negative feelings have been worse than previous years in the months during the pandemic and lockdown.

If you find your mood dampening with the change of sun-infused seasons to Fall or Winter, you might be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is actually a form of depression some people experience, and is associated with the biochemical changes that occur in the brain when an individual is exposed to less sunlight and an altered internal clock, or circadian rhythm. Over 1 in 5 (22%) respondents who feel down during the winter months say they drink alcohol in an attempt to make themselves feel better.

A study indicates that approximately 50% of all people who struggle with a mental health disorder will also experience a substance use disorder at some point. For this reason, it’s important to stay in touch with your mental state, especially during the winter months during which you may be feeling even lower due to the weather.

Here are 3 tips to help boost your low self-esteem during the pandemic:

1. Check in with your mind
Especially if you’re isolating on your own, it can be easy to forget to check in with yourself and your mental state on a regular basis as there is no one around to remind you to do so. If you struggle with focusing on mindfulness, try out different activities which could help calibrate you, such as: journaling, yoga, meditation or breathing techniques. ‘Headspace Guide to Meditation’ is even available to stream on Netflix if you prefer something more visual.

2. Identify and replace negative self-talk
Lack of communication with other humans leaves more time for us to talk to ourselves, however when we lack self-confidence, these words can be negative and harmful to our bodies and minds. Identify situations in which you doubt yourself the most; perhaps it’s during Zoom meetings at work, or maybe it’s first thing in the morning when you wake up to a messy house. Instead of being critical towards your actions, try replacing these words with positive, self-affirming ones. You could even write affirmative quotes on post-it notes to stick to your mirror!

3. Hype yourself up
We all have people who are act as our personal cheerleaders throughout daily life. Perhaps it’s a work colleague who you’ve grown close to over the years or maybe it’s your best friend who’s helped you on your path to self-love. Either way, not having these loyal people around to hype you up due to social distancing may have an impact on your self-esteem. It’s not as easy to feel confident if no one is encouraging you to do so. It may sound strange at first but try talking yourself up before a task or responsibility you feel nervous about. Repeat things like “I have the power to…” and “I can do this…” in a way which allows you to be your very own cheerleader.

‘If you think you are the only one struggling with negative self-esteem during the pandemic, it’s important to know that you are not alone. The pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns have had a drastic impact on many lives, from personal to economic, therefore, it’s no wonder some are finding it difficult to stay positive and motivated,’ Says a spokesperson for American Addiction Centers. ‘Thankfully, due to advancements like video calling technology, we still have access to vital lifesaving healthcare, such as therapy services, which could help an individual in need who is struggling with their self-confidence and/or related substance addiction during this time. Contact your local care provider to find out more about what treatment options are available.’

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