Even those of us who are fully committed to the body positive lifestyle have days when we’re not feeling ourselves. It’s inevitable when body positivity is fighting against everything mass media is bombarding us with on a daily basis.
When I’m not feeling so great I find it helps a lot to concentrate on what my body can do rather than how it looks or what size it is. The human body is capable of some incredible things, just the fact that it keeps you alive 24/7 is worth celebrating. Here are the 10 things I suggest to boost your self esteem on a bad body image day.
1. Stretch – Not only does this release tension and stress that has built up in your body throughout the day, by its very name, it is pushing your body as far as it can go, allowing you appreciate your flexibility.
2. Move Around – Some people suggest “working out” when you’re feeling down, and if that’s what works for you then that’s great and you should do that. I’m reluctant to use those words, due not only to their connotations, but because it’s really not what I mean. I’m talking about movement on the most basic level – whether that’s dancing, waving you arms in the air or running around with your pet or child. Anything that gets your blood pumping and gets you smiling and laughing. Movement makes you appreciate your body and the moment.
3. Get Outside – Depending on your mood or ability you could sit, walk or run. Just taking a moment to feel the breeze on your skin and take in your surroundings can really lift your mood. If you also approach the situation mindfully, paying attention to the way the climate conditions feel, the sounds you can hear and the sights you see, the wonder of how the body works and allows you to experience can take over any negativity you’ve been harboring.
4. Listen To Music – Every time we mindfully engage any of our senses it can give us an immense appreciation for our body’s abilities. It allows us to enjoy so many things in life like listening to our favourite bands.
5. Eat Something You Love – When you’re feeling less than fantastic about yourself this one might feel a little like a challenge but enjoying a treat can be so helpful. Not only is it once again engaging your senses and making you appreciate what your body does for you, but this is sticking two fingers up at diet culture. Every time you fight back against those negative thoughts it gets easier to do.
6. Wear Your Favourite Outfit – Whether that’s a ball gown or your sweatpants you’ll feel great and look amazing.
7. Talk To Yourself – This can be out loud if you want, or an internal dialogue, but what’s important is that you talk as if you were having a conversation with a friend. Few of us, if any, pick our friends apart in the same way we do ourselves. If we did I doubt we’d have many friends, so take a moment to think/say what you would to a friend who was feeling how you are. I bet you’ll be a whole lot kinder.
8. Call A Friend – If thinking like a friend doesn’t help you could always call one. I’m lucky to have friends who are also body positive both online and IRL so I know I can talk to them openly and they’ll get it. If you don’t think your friends are already body positive you can help educate them. Explaining body positivity to someone is sometimes enough to make you realise that you’re perfect how you are.
9. Take A Bath – Relaxing in warm water and taking care of your body by washing it is a win-win in terms of feeling better about yourself. There are no greater feelings that lying in the bath and the fresh feeling when you get out of the water.
10. Take A Nap – Sometimes we just get cranky, pure and simple, sleeping it off may be the best option.
I have written previously about the importance of intersectionality within the body positive movement. With that in mind I appreciate that not everyone is going to be able to do all of the suggested activities but I have tried to include something for everyone as far as possible. If you have any other tips feel free to leave them in comments below.