WHY SUMMERTIME TRIGGERS POOR BODY IMAGE
Summer can be a trigger for individuals struggling with body image for many reasons. As warmer weather sets in, we’re encouraged to show more skin which may cause us to focus on our bodies’ insecurities. Additionally, structured routines can become more relaxed during the summer, which may interrupt once-habitual healthy behaviors. The media is perhaps one of the most impactful elements that contributes to degraded body image. On television, social media feeds, and magazine pages, we are bombarded with airbrushed models in swimsuits, dieting advice, and workout plans. For individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, or negative body image, these seasonal changes can be especially damaging to their mental and emotional states.
FIVE WAYS TO BOOST YOUR BODY IMAGE
Embracing a positive body image means accepting yourself, despite what shape your body is. Here are some practices to help you recognize the positive aspects of your body.
1. Embrace the art of gratitude.
Our bodies are amazing, complex, and fascinating. From swimming and soaking up the sun to tasting the sweetness of summer watermelon and laughing with loved ones — our bodies allow us to experience life’s goodness. Focus on being grateful for what your body can do. By recognizing that your body allows you to participate in activities that you love, you can become truly grateful for your body.
2. Dress in a way that fits your unique shape and personality.
Our bodies are not meant to fit into our clothes. Instead, our clothes are meant to fit our bodies. When you choose clothes to fit your body, you celebrate your shape and embrace the notion that your body is wonderful — which it truly is.
3. Smash your scale.
Stop measuring your worth by the numbers on your scale. Many of us have been led to believe that we need to fit into a certain percentile to ensure our bodies are healthy. To change this mindset, throw away your scale — or better yet smash it. Then, celebrate a life where you accept your body as it is.
4. Surround yourself with positivity.
If you surround yourself with individuals who speak negatively about others, it may reinforce your own insecurities. Instead, deliberately spend time with people who reflect your own authenticity.
5. Practice positive self-talk.
Self-compassion is the ability to see yourself through the eyes of someone you love. Begin by practicing more body neutrality. Instead of hating your body, lean more into acceptance of it. From there, you can discover aspects of yourself that you truly love.
HEALTHY AND HAPPY MIND-BODY RELATIONSHIPS
Without the trappings of negative body image, you are free to become comfortable listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. In the long run, you’ll develop a more holistic way to measure your health and happiness. As always, if you’re ever in need of additional support, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Thrive.
About the Author
Kerstin Trachok, CPC — Thrive Reno Clinical Director
Kerstin received her master’s degrees in clinical mental health counseling and school counseling from the University of Nevada, Reno. Kerstin has six years of experience in the counseling field working in different settings and a wide array of mental health issues. Kerstin has experience working in schools with children of all ages, clients with psychosis in a hospital setting, adults and teens in private practice, and working at an agency providing counseling to children and families. Kerstin is a fully licensed clinical professional counselor in the state of Nevada and received her certification in Complex Trauma Levels I and II. Kerstin has experience working with children, teens, adults and families with trauma, anxiety, grief, depression, ADHD, autism spectrum, suicidal ideation, and behavioral issues. Kerstin is passionate about fostering client’s growth and autonomy while providing a safe and secure space to process emotions. Kerstin uses creative interventions and other tools to allow clients to voice their internal experiences beyond traditional talk therapy. Kerstin’s theoretical approach is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. She uses mindfulness tools and techniques to help clients be present moment oriented, and reduce stress so they may move towards psychological flexibility. Kerstin believes all individuals have the right to live a fulfilling and vital life.