Managing body concerns during the summer
Summer, a period that involves lighter clothing and greater body exposure, along with the pressure to acquire a ‘bikini body’, can seriously reinforce issues such as eating disorders and negative body image. If you are faced with such a challenge, it is really important to prepare accordingly and support yourself during this period.
Firstly, as always, start with awareness; be really conscious of how these pressures influence you and honestly acknowledge the emotions, concerns and worries they bring up for you. Then, have in place and practice some form of self-care. This could be mindfulness, breathing, writing or speaking to a friend that you trust about how you feel, and being open to receive their support. The more mindful and open you are about your challenges, the easier it will be to deal with them effectively and to navigate this potentially triggering time of year.
Another useful idea is to commit to shifting your attention from how your body looks to how it feels; when we face any body-related difficulties, we tend to over-focus on the outside and lose touch with the rest of our experience. Since summer is also a period when we spend more time in nature, take this opportunity to tune into your senses and actively take in the beauty of your surroundings, feel the warm sand beneath your feet or the sun against your skin, and choose to make this what matters most.
Lastly, try to avoid engaging in conversations about weight, body and diets. You can politely change the subject, use humour, or simply not get involved and distract yourself with a constructive activity, until the discussion is over. It would also be nice to choose to go on holiday with people that are positive, supportive and are not themselves engaged in weight loss attempts or body shaming talk and acts. The people that surround you really make a difference, especially when you spend, more or less, your whole day with them, like when you are on vacation –so choose wisely!
This summer make your enjoyment, relaxation and having fun your absolute priority and set your intention to appreciate the body you have, simply for taking you on this exciting journey!