How to manage self-esteem and loneliness during a pandemic

Leading psychiatrist Dr Roopak Khara, from Doctorpedia – the world’s largest network of over 2,000 medical websites, who is also one of 12 faces picked from across the country for an NHS campaign featuring portraits by renowned photographer Rankin, shares her top tips on how to manage self-esteem and loneliness during a pandemic.

“Despite the popularity of social media, loneliness remains a significant problem which has been exacerbated by the restrictions of the pandemic. Here are five tips to help manage loneliness:

• Try not to compare yourself to what you see on social media- this can often show inaccurate impression of how happy we are so take it with a pinch of salt!
• Consider going for a walk to a park or open space where you can see others around you and make you feel less isolated.
• Think about joining an online class for something you enjoy, or something you have always wanted to try!
• Consider listening to a podcast- there are many different varieties and can help pass the time. You never know, you may learn something new.
• Have a look at befriending services or peer support options in your local area- there may be online services available and you can chat to someone from the comfort of your own home.

Dr Roopak Khara also shares helpful advice on how to manage self-esteem in a pandemic:

• The wide-ranging effects of stressful periods such as the pandemic can lead to us changing how we perceive ourselves. This is self-esteem, and below, five tips to help boost yours.
• Learn to learn about yourself. What brings you happiness? Perhaps try jotting these down in a notebook or journal to read when things are hard.
• Be forgiving- let yourself have feelings and acknowledge they are there. We all experience different emotions at things and it’s important not to bottle things up.
• Write a few words about what you like about yourself. If you struggle with this, how about asking others who know you? You may be surprised how they see you!
• Record the small wins. Keep a diary of your successes, no matter how small. Read this when you are feeling down to help remind you of things you have achieved and how competent you are.
• Try volunteering in an area you enjoy- this can help you feel good about yourself as well as helping others- a double victory!