The importance of taking care of yourself everyday can't be understated, but if you're going through something like bullying, it's especially important. This is because bullying can have a variety of short-term and long-term negative impacts on our wellbeing.
It can affect your self-esteem, relationships, feelings of anxiety or depression, performance at school or work, and physical wellbeing.
So, it helps to know that there are some things you can do to feel less overwhelmed and isolated when you’re being targeted by someone. Following these steps can help you shake off these negative feelings and feel better.
Here are our top five tips on how to look after yourself if you're experiencing bullying.
1. Treat yourself
As well as being all-round unpleasant, bullying is something you can’t control. But one thing that you can control is how you look after yourself.
Doing something for yourself every day (big or small) can really help you feel better.
This could be taking a bath, making your favourite meal or spending extra time on a hobby.
My self-care at the time was to take a bit of a break from social networking… For me, it was about taking a step back from all of that and ensuring I was spending a lot of time with family and friends… - Ashleigh, 23
2. Get moving
There are so many benefits to keeping active. Taking part in any sort of physical activity releases endorphins, which give you a rush of good feelings, and it can help you let go of pent up frustrations.
Who’d say ‘no’ to that?
It can be hard to know where to start, though. You could join a dance class or a sporting team, or even take your dog (or cat!) for a walk.
3. Do the stuff you love
When you’re not feeling your best, it can be hard to find the motivation or energy to do what you enjoy. It’s at those times that it’s super-important to connect with what you love.
Remember to follow these steps:
Step 1: Have a think about the things that make you feel happy and relaxed.
Step 2: Keep doing those things. This could be as simple as watching an episode of your favourite TV show or listening to your favourite songs. It doesn’t matter if the stuff you love is different from what your friends or anyone else enjoys, so long as it works at boosting your mood.
4. Build on your strengths
If you’re feeling low, focusing on the things you do well can help you improve your self-esteem. Maybe you’ve got some awesome sporting or creative skills, or you’ve got personality traits that make you a great person to be around.
If you’re going through a tough time, it may not be easy to identify your strengths. If you’re struggling to come up with any, try asking a family member or a friend what they think your strengths are, and focus on doing more of that.
5. Give mindfulness a go
Studies show that mindfulness can reduce stress levels and help people feel more creative, resilient and focused.
Mindfulness is all about being in the moment. It involves paying attention to what you are doing, with an accepting and non-judgemental attitude. You can do anything mindfully — eating, walking, drawing, even washing the dishes.
Being bullied at school, at work or online is draining and it isn’t fair. And as much as it’s important to report your bully, it’s equally essential to look after yourself.
Focus on what you can control by prioritising your wellbeing and practising self-care, which can help you feel more positive about yourself and less affected by the bully’s actions.
What can I do now?
- Take a look through these tips in the ReachOut Online Community for suggestions on how to take care of yourself when things are tough.
- Make a list of things you’ve done or achieved, and learn some more tips to improve your self-esteem here.
- Take our quiz to figure out how you can deal with bullying.