The sun is shining, skies are blue, it’s hot out, and the UV is finally consistently over 5. Months flew by and it’s finally bathing suit season. This time may not be exciting for everyone as it's finally time to shed those layers, and resort to less clothing in warmer weather. A change in a constant routine, increased advertising of ‘ideal bodies’ on tv and social media, may impact mental health.
Warmer months can include a lot of beach or pool time, spending time outside with friends and it can be easy to compare yourself. Everyone’s bodies are different, but these warm months can increase eating disorders as well as feelings of depression, stress, and anxiety.
Some things to consider:
Social media: The use of social media has grown over the years and users have created a norm to constantly scroll to avoid boredom and see what everyone else is doing. The interesting part about social media is that you’re only seeing what people want you to see, otherwise known as the highlights. Those pictures where someone is in a bikini, they most likely posed for it in a way that accentuates their features they want to show off. Also, keep in mind there are so many apps to edit photos that can get rid of stretch marks, acne, yellow teeth, and anything you can imagine. One thing I always keep in mind is that flowers are beautiful and so are Christmas lights, yet they look completely different. That’s how we should view ourselves, we see people we think are beautiful online, and it may make us feel less because we don’t look like them. That doesn’t mean you aren’t beautiful, it means you have different features than that person, but are still beautiful in your own unique way.
What can help? When you post a photo, turn off the like count—likes don’t matter and they aren’t a proper judgment of how you should feel about yourself, sure it’s nice to have your friends compliment you, but other than that, my advice is to make your social media solely for you. Post whatever you want, turn off the like count, and embrace that beautiful body that carries an amazing mind.
Buy the swimsuits that make you feel good: You know your body better than anyone, so buy and wear what makes you feel the most confident. At the end of the day, everyone is so worried about what they look like that they’re not focusing on you as much as your mind is leading you to believe. So, wear whatever makes you feel the absolute best; whether that’s high waisted bottoms, a t-shirt with your swim trunks, a one piece, or a bikini, it’s completely up to you. Also, don’t worry about those trends out there for swim, those come and go, but if you feel comfortable in what you’re wearing, go for it, and embrace that beautiful body of yours.
Worried about being too muscular: Women can get put down for being too muscular and appearing too manly. If this is a worry of yours, I want you to look at the wonderful body you have worked so hard to achieve and tell yourself you are strong, and beautiful. If someone ever says something about your muscles, consider who is telling you this, are they someone who has an opinion you value? Most likely not, and if they are, they should never put you down for the body you have. Let those muscles shine, and start by complimenting that body of yours, it truly is special.
Eating disorders: Sadly, this is more common within society than people like to admit. Before I begin, if you are struggling with this, consider reaching out to someone you trust for help; because that beautiful body of yours needs to be properly fueled, and you are strong enough to do so. It might seem appealing to increase exercise, and undereat to achieve that ‘summer body’ but there are many ways to do this in a healthy manner. Increasing exercise is okay, if you include days off within the week, don’t overdo it each day (don’t spend more than 2 hours working out), especially if your body is not being properly fueled. It may be a thought to eat less to lose weight, but not eating makes your body eat muscle before fat. If you’re unsure of how to formulate a healthy diet, consider reaching out to a dietitian! This is easier said than done, but I hope you see the beauty your body has and how it helps you do some amazing things and continue to fuel it properly even as we head into these warmer months!
Extra time: During the summer months, it is very common for our schedules to shift, have different things going on than normal and to feel overwhelmed. A change in a consistent schedule may be stressful to people. It may be nice to use a calendar or daily planner to help organize and schedule your days, so they don’t feel so overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, some of you may thrive in a spontaneous schedule, but for those who desire a more strict schedule, find ways to create one. These don’t have to be as strict as they normally are, but if you at least write down things you’d like to do each day it may help you gain that sense of control in your schedule! It really is about finding what works for you. Something that also helps is working to make sure you have a reason to get out of the house each day. It’s okay to have those days where you sit inside and relax away from everything but doing that consecutively may be hard on your mental health. Find a way to get outside, even if that is going for a walk, or a quick drive.
Surround yourself with the right people: If you take anything from this, I hope it can be this topic. We are a reflection of the people we surround ourselves with. If you are ever surrounded by someone who puts you down for the way you look, and makes you feel less than who you are, I urge you to consider truthfully reflecting on the benefits of that relationship. It is important to be around those people that are an aid to your growth rather than a hindrance. You should feel valued, respected, and cared for in these relationships.
Some things to encourage body positivity:
Music: Make a playlist for these songs and add to it!
Books: Check out a book to relax with while enhancing your body positivity!
Social Media accounts to follow:
· Body Image & Self-Worth for Women (group)
If you’re ever feeling that you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out for a consultation!
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