Low self-esteem

Layers of blue paint flaked off a wooden surface.

Self-esteem is the way you feel about yourself - whether you value your abilities and achievements.

Self-esteem is an opinion and not a fact.

Quick tips to improve self-esteem

  • You were accepted to study at a university, and that's brilliant - feel good about it!
  • Avoid comparing yourself to others - everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.
  • Do things that make you feel good.
  • Be with people who you feel good with.
  • Avoid things and people that make you feel bad.

In crisis now

Call 999 for emergency services - or for security services on campus call 01904 32 3333 or use the Safezone app.

Related content

How can I help myself?

Self-esteem and your study

  • Do not put all your self-esteem 'eggs' into one basket, your worth is not determined by any single thing.
  • Do things other than study that you feel good.
  • Enjoy your successes, learn from failures.
  • Feel good about yourself for the effort you put in.

Make time for fun and friends

  • Think about the ways you enjoy yourself.
  • Arrange to be in situations which are playful and make you laugh.
  • Spend time with people who respect you and treat you well.

Reward yourself

  • Give yourself a day off from work every week.
  • Buy yourself a little treat.
  • Do something you particularly enjoy but rarely get round to.

Look after yourself physically

  • Eat regularly and healthily.
  • Sleep well and look after your wellbeing.
  • Exercise can give confidence and help you to feel good about your body.
  • Pay attention to how you stand and walk, just walking with your head held high can boost confidence.

Be compassionate to yourself

  • If you wouldn't say something mean about someone else, don't say it to yourself.
  • Low self-esteem can make it difficult to identify strong points, but it doesn't mean you don't have them, only that they are unfamiliar to you.
  • Being 'good enough' is a great goal to aim for.
  • Don't assume you are unimportant. 

If you think your low self-esteem is affecting your university experience please contact someone.

Friends, family, college welfare teams and academic tutors can all help.

Workshops and groups

If you're struggling with exam stress you might find it helpful to attend one of the following workshops:

See our Workshops and groups page for other workshops that may help with your wellbeing.

Resources