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  • Melissa Sims

Navigating Summer with Confidence

Summer is HERE if you didn't notice. I am just about melting in my little office every day! I hope you are taking some time for yourself, as you all deserve some time off! Sometimes, summer can bring on stress instead of relief. Summer is often heralded as the season of sun, beach days, and outdoor activities. However, for many, it also brings a heightened sense of self-awareness about body image. The pressure to have the "perfect" summer body can weigh heavily on self-confidence, making it crucial to embrace body positivity. 

Body positivity is a social movement that advocates for the acceptance and appreciation of all body types, shapes, and sizes. It challenges societal norms that dictate unrealistic beauty standards and promotes the idea that everyone is beautiful just the way they are. This movement encourages people to love and respect their bodies, regardless of any perceived flaws or imperfections.

Body positivity is not just about appearance; it's about valuing yourself as a whole person. It's about recognizing that your worth is not determined by your size, shape, or any other physical attribute. This mindset is particularly important during the summer when the pressure to conform to certain beauty standards can be overwhelming.

This is not to say, however, that we can have carte blanche over our bodies because we don’t need to worry about how we look. I think the goal here would be to love yourself the way you are, but to also treat your body with love in the process. Body health is crucial for our self-confidence. Think about how you feel about yourself when you are in pain. You might be angry toward yourself or your body for putting you through that kind of experience. It can be exhausting, obviously painful, and can affect our mental health. 

Have you ever injured yourself, and just tried to shove the pain aside and push through? I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but if the pain is a persistent one, maybe try a different strategy and actually hone in on the pain. Focus on it. Sounds a little weird, right? But what happens when you do this is that you realize that all of the other pain that you’re feeling - the tense body, the radiating ache, etc - isn’t really pain. What hurts is the area in which you actually had the injury. Focusing in on this, using mindfulness, can help you to actually reduce the pain. If you want to learn more about pain management through mindfulness, you can listen to our podcast episode next Thursday. It’s all about pain and mindfulness - and how incredibly our minds connect to our bodies. 

But, I digress. Back to summer and our beautiful body image. Summer can be a challenging time for those struggling with body image issues. The warmer weather often means wearing lighter, more revealing clothing, which can make people feel exposed and vulnerable. Social media is flooded with images of people flaunting their "perfect" summer bodies, which can further exacerbate feelings of inadequacy and self-consciousness.

Do yourself a favor and be comfortable. Life is far too short to worry about how you look in a pair of shorts. Why be miserable? It’s just not worth it. Also, stay off social media that doesn’t make you feel good about yourself. Follow accounts that promote body positivity and unfollow those that make you feel bad about yourself. Surround yourself with messages that celebrate diversity and self-love.

Social media often showcases images of people enjoying summer activities, frequently highlighting fit and toned bodies. This constant exposure to curated images can create unrealistic standards and make people feel like they don't measure up. Choose clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident. Don’t feel pressured to wear something just because it’s trendy or because others are wearing it. Your comfort and happiness are what matter most.

Eat healthy to feel good, not to look good. The diet industry often ramps up its marketing efforts in the lead-up to summer, promoting the idea that we need to achieve a "beach body." This messaging can contribute to negative body image and unhealthy behaviors.

Challenge Negative Thoughts: When you catch yourself thinking negatively about your body, challenge those thoughts. Ask yourself if they are based on facts or societal pressures. Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations.

Celebrate Your Body: Take time to appreciate what your body can do. My goodness…our bodies are incredible machines that do so much for us. Let’s treat them well! Appreciate and show gratitude for it, even if you have pain or ailments. Celebrate those capabilities rather than focusing on appearance.

Embracing body positivity and building self-confidence is a journey, especially during the summer when societal pressures are at their peak. Remember, your worth is not determined by your appearance, and you are beautiful just the way you are. Treat your body well and the natural effects of that will override the negative thoughts you may have about your supposed flaws. Celebrate yourself, enjoy the summer, and let your confidence shine.


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