As summer approaches, many of us begin planning our well-deserved vacations, chill weekend getaways, and much-needed quality time with our friends and family. The weather is warmer and the sun is out which means days spent lounging at beaches, lakes, and pools are quickly approaching. Although these fun summer activities are meant to bring happiness and more relaxation to our lives, many people begin experiencing high levels of stress due to body image anxiety. With the pressure to look good in our swimwear and summer styles, it can be an uncomfortable wardrobe transition for most people.
How we feel about our bodies plays a big role in our life. It affects our confidence and can hold us back from doing the things that make us happy. Here are a few ways we can shift our mindsets this summer to boost our confidence and feel good in the bodies we already have.
1. Focus on the things that make you unique.
Write down a list of the things you love about yourself and the things that make you stand out. Use kind words and uplifting language when you speak about yourself. Positive self-talk is proven to boost your overall mental health and improve the way you see yourself.
2. Label how you feel.
It is easy to tell yourself you “feel fat” but in reality, “fat” is not a feeling. Next time you try on an outfit that makes you “feel fat”, ask yourself what you are actually feeling. Is the garment too small so it is making you feel uncomfortable? Does the texture of your new bikini feel too rough on your skin therefore making you feel uncomfortable? When we focus on the real feeling it is easy to find a solution. You may just need a size change or to style your outfit with different accessories to avoid negative feelings.
3. Remind yourself that clothes are meant to fit YOU, not the other way around.
As most of us know by now, no two stores have the same sizing. You might be a size Extra-Large in one place and a size Small in the shop across the street. It is crucial that we do not let this discourage us this summer. Clothes are made to fit our bodies and make us feel good. We do not need to adjust our bodies to fit the clothes. There will never be a piece of clothing that feels upset that you do not fit in it. Size has virtually no meaning and it is okay to wear anything that fits you.
4. Surround yourself with positive people
It is hard to ignore what others say and be unbothered by judgements. Due to that, it is important that we surround ourselves with people that genuinely accept us for who we are and have like mindsets. The people we spend our time with should not be making unnecessary comments about the way we look or adding to any anxieties. Words matter and the way your friends and family speak to you or about you will influence how you feel about yourself. Take some time to get to know the people in your life and keep the good ones close.
Body Image related Anxiety is not going to go away overnight. It may even take an entire summer to work through. It is okay to not be perfectly happy and accepting of yourself all the time but it is important to notice how you feel and why you feel it. Being mindful of your thoughts and feelings about your body will make a huge difference in your mental health not just during the summer, but in every important season of life. Use this summer to start your journey to accepting yourself on a deeper level and allowing your body to rest.