How to Boost Your Body Positivity
The Covid-19 pandemic didn’t only wreak havoc on our mental health; it left many of us either losing or gaining weight at a significant pace. For people who are self-conscious about their body type, going out now that the worst of the pandemic seems to be over can be stressful and emotionally challenging. Luckily, 2021 brought with it a new age of body positivity. Gone are the days when only one type of body was attractive or healthy, and income the days where everyone is learning to love and find beauty in themselves.
As much as this is a positive message, it can also be a bit stressful if you don’t know how to love your body after years of seeing only one “perfect” example in magazines, on TV, and online.
Body Image Triggers
Even if you’ve been working on a positive body image the whole year, it takes only one social event or one family gathering to quickly undo all the amazing things you’ve accomplished. Recognizing possible triggers is one of the first steps toward avoiding being pulled down the rabbit hole of stress and self-consciousness.
These triggers include:
- Spending more time in social environments: Now that people are starting to go out and meet up with their loved ones again, spending more time with your friends, family, or acquaintances can be great, but it could also open the door to a lot of comments about your weight, your appearance, or how much you’ve changed or stayed the same over the past year.
- You’re wearing different clothes: During the pandemic a lot of people went through what social media is calling a glow-up. This means you may have dyed your hair or started wearing different styles of clothes. Even though this may have nothing to do with your weight, comments on your appearance can quickly destroy the confidence you’ve been working on so hard.
- Weight loss challenges are everywhere: Exercise and diet culture can be toxic on any given day, but never more so than the Covid-19 lockdowns where everyone seemed to be losing a lot of weight and spending their days running, walking, or doing home workouts. Feeling like you’re not doing enough or didn’t lose weight when everyone else did can be a hard blow to your self-confidence.
Ways to Boost Your Body Positivity
Thankfully, there are many ways to boost your body confidence without a single day of dieting or setting foot in a gym. They include:
Rejecting Body-Shaming in All Its Forms
Body shaming isn’t only experienced by people who are seen as overweight. Many people with eating disorders are called “too skinny” or “flat” in backhanded compliments, and these statements do even more to break down their body image and worsen their disorder. Rejecting body shaming in all forms means not commenting on anyone’s weight, whether thin or not.1
Every Body Is a Perfect Body
Remind yourself that being a size zero or two isn’t the norm. It never has been, but now more than ever people with natural body shapes are being celebrated. Peoples’ bodies differ and understanding that there is no “perfect example” of what you should look like will help you find joy in your body exactly as it is.
Comfort Is Key
What if you don’t like swimsuits or skinny jeans? Well, then it’s your right to wear exactly what you want. If you’ve found comfort and confidence in sweatpants, sun dresses, tank tops, or pashminas, you should feel free to dress the way you like and never let anyone else make you think twice about your choices. It's also a physical component to being comfortable.
Kick the Guilt
Judgment on your eating habits or what you wear can become overwhelming now that you’re back in social settings, especially from relatives who think they mean well but really don’t. Kick out any thoughts of guilt over what you choose to eat or wear, and remember that you should be celebrating being out in the world again, and it is your right to experience that in whatever way makes you happy.2
Remind Yourself of the Good Your Body Has Done for You
Your body has carried you for as many years as you are alive. It has brought you through a stressful pandemic. It’s healed itself and recovered from all the challenges you’ve faced. Appreciate your body for what it has done for you, and you may find you don’t judge yourself so much for your curves or flaws. After all, they are a part of your journey too. It's also a social element to healing.
Clean Up Your Social Media
Social media can make people feel like their bodies aren’t skinny, curvy, toned, or tanned enough. Go through your accounts and choose to unfollow anyone who makes you feel bad about your body. Not only will you find you aren’t as stressed trying to fit the perfect image anymore, but your mental health will thank you for it.3
It’s Always Time for Body Positivity
No matter the time of year, body positivity is a choice and something we all need to work toward, whatever our body types.