How to boost PCOS self-esteem

Whether you have or know someone with PCOS, you will most likely be well aware of the impact some PCOS side effects can have on women. Unexplainable weight gain, patchy skin, irregular/painful periods, dry brittle hair that falls like it’s bloody autumn are just a handful of the PCOS symptoms that can damage your self-esteem. Trust me, I’m an expert in this department!

But I’m here to tell you that whilst this may be a rough ride, there are ways you can reclaim your confidence and get back that ‘get-up-and-go’ feeling. In today’s blog, we explore a few ways to boost your self-esteem and be that confident woman you always wanted to be.

What is self-esteem?

Before we begin, we need to first know what self-esteem is. I majored in Psychology back in university and this topic was one of my personal favourites because it was #sorelatable at that time. Anyway, self-esteem underpins your overall sense of self-worth and personal value. In simpler terms, it’s a measure of how much you like and respect yourself. Say for instance, if you have healthy self-esteem, you’re likely to think of yourself in a more positive light and value your achievements to a higher standard than someone with lower self-esteem. Having low self-esteem often means you are overly critical and negative towards yourself, focussing largely on your shortcomings and mistakes. That was basically Me, Negative-Nancy-Narin. I’m glad I have come a longgg way from those dark days, phew!

The correlation between
PCOS and low self-esteem

Let’s get a little technical.

Now, with all the physical and emotional implications that often come along with PCOS, it is easy to understand the link between PCOS and low self-esteem. One major symptom that a lot of women with PCOS struggle with is infertility. It’s a pretty touchy subject for some women who have probably spent countless hours at the doctors just trying to fall pregnant, but never had any successful outcome. Some women in Asia particularly get emotionally scarred from all the unnecessary comments from their families, which often lead them to blame themselves for not being able to bear children. So what follows? Feelings of emptiness, disappointment, depression, isolation and of course, low self-esteem.

Another common physical side effect that affects women with PCOS is weight gain. I can’t tell you how many DMs I have gotten from young girls and ladies who share their weight gain stories with me. What baffles me is the torment and ridicule they face from people around them for gaining weight! I empathise with these women not only because I go through it myself, also because some of them come from really bad situations and probably don’t even know something is not going right in their bodies. I mean, going through all that for years with absolutely no support system? Let that thought sink in.

Ok enough with all the technical jibber-jabber! Again, I want to remind you that PCOS does NOT and should NOT define you. You may have bad days but always remember that there are ways to boost your confidence and empower you to walk through life taller than ever. So, here are some ways you can boost your self-esteem:

a. Positive affirmations work!

When you’re dealing with PCOS, being told to be positive might come across as a little annoying. Like you just want to slap that person (who probably isn’t going through what you are) for just saying things without even thinking, right? However, there is an effective way to challenge and overcome pessimistic thought patterns and this is by doing it yourself FOR yourself. It’s just simple positive affirmations that you think of yourself, which can reinforce feelings of self-love and belief. Here are some examples of affirmations you could say to yourself on a daily basis:

  1. I believe in myself.
  2. I acknowledge the great qualities and talents I possess ( such as I’m a great public speaker, I am an honest person, I make people laugh etc)
  3. I surround myself with positive people who bring the best out in me. (which also means you HAVE to eliminate ALL the toxic people from your life because they are no good for your self growth)
  4. I let go of the negative feelings and opinions I have about myself. (No more ‘I am a worthless piece of shit’ and ‘I don’t deserve to have a man/woman in my life’ kinda nonsense!
  5. I love and cherish who I’ve become. For all my achievements, my struggles, my past and my mistakes for making me this person I am today.

b. Acknowledge and embrace yourself

This is in no way correlating to PCOS, but more focusing on your inner self. Ok, in order to embrace yourself, you have to take the initiative to acknowledge yourself first. I learnt this through a few amazing people I know (God bless them!) when I was down and out. And I’m going to share them with you ladies!

Key words: Dig deep. Set aside some time for yourself. Make some tea, sit down with a piece of paper or open Microsoft Word if you’re the tech-y type. List down the traits you possess and the roles you play in life. Ask yourself, are you creative? Smart? Funny? Are you a sister? A daughter? A friend? In order to get in touch with your inner-self, you have to make an identity list by beginning your sentences with “I am” followed by your traits.

Then comes the slightly harder part. You have to ask yourself what you value, what you stand for, and what brings you joy (sorta like you Marie Kondo-ing yourself). After you are done with the list, reread it and take a look at yourself and the qualities you bring to the table. Don’t hold back.  Taking one step away and seeing ourselves through these unconditionally loving eyes, without the self-talk that brings us down can be a revelation.

c. Challenge yourself

If there’s an activity you’ve always wanted to do, now is the time to take that leap of faith! Yes – this can seem scary if you’re struggling with confidence, and yes – it’s easier to find a million and one excuses not to do it, but the simple act of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can work wonders for your self-esteem. It will demonstrate that you can achieve extraordinary things once you put your mind to it. Say if you always wanted to go to the beach wearing a nice fitted swimwear, do it. Find yourself a swimsuit that enhances your curves, put it on and go swimming! It is confronting at first, but once you’ve done it once, the second time is always easier. Don’t hold back on adventure and doing what you want to do because you worry about someone else’s opinion about you. It is NOT worth it!

d. Stay productive

Sometimes, a person may go through a stagnant phase in their lives, whereby that person feels hopeless and demotivated to do anything. Pair those feelings with PCOS and you’ve got yourself a great way to spiral downwards. In order to avoid being in this SHITuation as I call it, it is best to always keep yourself busy. Stay productive by working, studying, volunteering or do anything that keeps your mind working, because this can directly bolster your self-esteem and belief. Productivity can bring positive value to your life by instilling purpose, routine, structure and an opportunity to socialise with other people – key components that will help strengthen your confidence. 

e. Keep the radiator & lose the drain!

As Oprah’s saying goes: people fall into two categories – radiators and drains. Radiators ooze warmth, kindness, love, happiness and enthusiasm. They smile when you walk into a room, are genuinely interested in others and make you feel good about yourself. Basically, radiators bring out the very best in people. God knows how much I love people who radiate love and positivity!

Drains, on the other hand, drain your energy and leave you feeling diminished. Drains are toxic, often self-absorbed, demanding and will take without ever giving anything back. I do have people like this in my life who I can’t really avoid but I do whatever it takes to stay far from them because I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life, I already have enough going on!

So, try to nurture relationships with positive people who support you and understand your condition, as they will help carve out your confidence.

f. Self-care & balance is fundamental

It’s the kind of advice we hear time and again, but it’s especially important for women with PCOS to always look after yourself. The basics : nutrition, sleep and exercise form the pillars of self-care, and all three will somehow help regulate your PCOS symptoms and boost your confidence. Eat wholesome foods and have that occasional chocolate, drink lots of water and healthy teas, work out at least 3 times a week or if you’re a busy bee, just go for a 30 minutes walk every day to keep that body active. Treat yourself to a relaxing holiday to unwind and recharge because it is absolutely important to have a balance in life, PCOS or not.

g. Get support!

We understand that PCOS can be tough, so don’t forget to reach out for support if you need it. Here are some avenues you might consider exploring:

  • Mindfulness & meditation/relaxation: this practice can help you focus on the present, and become more in tune with your thoughts and feelings. I personally swear by this app called Headspace which helps me relax and put all my day’s troubles away for 5-10 minutes and just have me-time. It’s also a great tool for people with anxiety and overworked individuals. There are of course other apps that you can try. The key is to find the best one that suits your needs.
  • Peer support: talking to others with PCOS can provide some reassuring guidance and advice. Some social media platforms like Instagram has many PCOS bloggers who share their lives and PCOS life hacks, even go as far as to help with PCOS diets and share healthy recipes! I have made some really great PCOS “cyster” friends and we help each other cope with the daily grind. There are also online communities and forums can also be an excellent place to gather support if you prefer keep your identity private.
  • Speak to a professional: If things get too much and you find yourself feeling depressed, you can discuss any concerns you have with a health or medical profession such as counsellor or psychologist. Don’t be discouraged by people around you telling you that you don’t need help. Nobody knows how you feel except yourself, girl!

PCOS can affect all aspects of life including your self-esteem, but trying at least one of these tips can help you feel more positively about yourself. The good news is that you can bolster your confidence by implementing simple, holistic lifestyle changes. Yes – it will take some effort and daily care, but the result is so worth it.

That’s all for today! I hope you found this blog helpful. If you have PCOS, I urge you to gather all your inner strength to move forward. And if you are blessed with good health, please be supportive towards your friend/family member who may be going through any sort of health or mental issues.

Have a lovely week y’all!


Steps to build self confidence

Imagine what life would be if we could stand before the mirror and focus on what we cherish about ourselves rather than what we wish we could change

It seems that a lot of times, most of us turn to negative thinking, paying attention to our so- called flaws. We are not only bombarded with pictures of famous people and “perfect” models on TV, magazines and billboards, even the app we refresh every possible chance we get – Instagram – can be a major culprit. Constantly feeding us with aesthetically-pleasing pictures of “perfect” people living their “perfect” lives, who have most likely gone through layers of filter to curate that perfection. And the result? A never ending supply of edited images and a load of viewers feeling inadequate and self-conscious in their own skin.

And just like that, you have endless unrealistic expectations you have to fulfill. What we should look like, the latest designer items we have to own, the tiny bikinis we have to start fitting into, the lavish lifestyles we have to start living! As technology advances and we’re more connected to the world wide web than ever, it seems that our self esteem is rapidly declining. My nerdy self has read a few articles on this topic and what I found is that there is a definite link between social media usage and low self esteem. It literally takes a person seconds on Instagram to feel rubbish about themselves. For instance, you can be on your feed and next thing you know you’re on your ex-boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend’s best friend’s page wishing you had abs as solid as hers. (true story bro!)

To top it all, many of us have internalised negative comments from our past that has stuck like glue in our heads. We’re more likely to remember one negative comment from a first-class asshole than we are to remember all the wonderful compliments. In my case, I’ll always remember when this moron told me I need to “make” a thigh gap, but I don’t remember when someone told me I have the nicest hair she has seen!

Building your self esteem takes work. If you have very poor body image, it can take years to repair. Why not start now? There are so many things you can do to build yourself up and undo a lifetime of low self esteem. So, here are a few tips I learnt to slowly come out of that bad phase and start my #selflove journey, and I hope I can help someone out there too!

Nobody is 100% perfect

What is the meaning of “flawless”? How does one measure “flawlessness”? When you ask yourself these questions, chances are, you won’t be able to think of a definite answer because “flawless” does not exist in the human race. It is merely an misogynistic idea than it is a reality!
Aiming for perfection will only let a person down because when you don’t achieve that perfect goal, you will be left feeling miserable. So, the next time you flip through a Cosmopolitan mag or click on the “explore” tab on Instagram, please do yourself a favour and take everything with a pinch of salt. Try not to get too caught up in it. If you’re feeling low about yourself, it might be a good idea to have a social media detox/cleanse! 

Appreciate You

I know this part takes time and effort, but I guarantee you, it works! When you have some free time, take note of everything you like about yourself and write it down. When you’re feeling rubbish about yourself, revisit the list to remind yourself of all your wonderful and positive attributes. As your self esteem improves, you might find more of yourself that you have started to notice and love. See the correlation here? 

Confidence stems from you

Nothing bad happens when people compliment others. do allow yourself to accept compliments from people but don’t let this be your main source of confidence. Ultimately, confidence is going to come from within you. Sure, it’s nice to have reassurance from others that you look good, but you want to look and feel good from within and that means you have to do certain things to make yourself feel that way! The one thing that I have been doing is to set standards for myself and to catch myself when I think I’m not good enough, I can’t have, won’t get or aren’t good enough to get what I want. When that happens, I tell myself that my mindset is everything and so, gotta stay positive and dynamic!It’s not easy, but it is do-able!

Take Care of You

I know I have been slacking in this department lately, but this tip here is so effective in making you feel good about yourself. Move your body regularly and eat healthily. Working out and setting goals can help you feel great both physically and mentally. A balanced diet is key, as well. That being said, you shouldn’t compulsively over-exercise or obsessively count calories. Even though my PCOS and Hypothyroidism limit me from eating all that yummy carbs by the loads, I still occasionally indulge because what’s life without greasy fries and chocolate brownies! It’s tough to balance, but try to focus on the internal benefits of a healthy lifestyle rather than the external ones.

Conclusion: I learned to love myself, and in turn, developed a better body image than I’ve ever had before just by trying and executing these few steps. There’s no reason why you can’t too!