Dr. Joy Zelikovsky
Summer is a time for fun, spending time with family and friends and pools, and beaches. But for those struggling with body image concerns it can be very challenging to enjoy all those activities when you are concerned about how you look in summer clothes. The pressure to look a certain way, to look good in a bathing suit, to wear shorts or short sleeves, or to have parts of your body that you are not comfortable with more exposed can leave people in a lot of distress. The burden to look a certain way can make it difficult to enjoy all that summer has to offer. But there are things you can do to help boost your body confidence and enjoy your summer to the fullest! Here are five tips to help with body image during the summer:
- Focus on what your body can do, not just how it looks. Instead of focusing on how your body looks in clothing, try to practice gratitude for what your body can do; whether it’s swimming, hiking, or playing beach volleyball. Remember that your body is more than just its appearance.
- Surround yourself with positive influences. This may be a great time to look at your social media and reevaluate who you are following. Are those people uplifting you? Is the content focused on dieting and restriction or hyper-focused on bodies looking a certain way? Try to follow people who are spreading messages that make you feel good about your body. Likewise, who are you spending your time with? Are your family and friends supportive? Are they constantly talking about diets and bodies? It may be a helpful time to set boundaries and or discuss what is helpful to you.
- Wear what makes you feel comfortable. You are not obligated to wear anything you don’t want to wear or that doesn’t make you comfortable. If you don’t want to wear a bathing suit, don’t wear one! If you prefer to wear shorts over your suit, wear them! If you want to wear shorts, wear them, if you want to wear jeans, wear them! You get to decide what you wear and when.
- Practice self-care. Taking care of your body and mind can help boost your overall confidence and body image. Get enough sleep, stay hydrated, eat nourishing foods, and engage in activities that reduce stress.
- Try not to compare yourself to others. You are not the only one who struggles with body image. As hard as it is, try not to compare yourself to other people. They may also be struggling with their body image concerns, or not, who knows, but most people struggle at some point in their life. No matter what, it won’t help you feel better about your body or doing activities that are fun for you.
Summer can be a difficult time, but you must remember that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. That includes wearing clothes you don’t want to wear or engaging in activities you don’t want to. However, challenging yourself to engage in things that you want to do and are exciting for you can be such a powerful experience. Most importantly, take care of yourself, set boundaries that work for you, and enjoy your summer!