Many of us struggle to love our bodies. Unrealistic beauty standards are everywhere we turn. Bodies that look nothing like ours pressure us to mirror what we see. Disappointment, fad diets, and toxic cycles ensue. But this does not have to be your reality. You deserve to look into a mirror and love the image that is reflected. Here are 5 steps you can take to begin loving yourself.
Step 1: Recognize The Strength Of Your Body
Our bodies are incredibly strong. The heart works incredibly hard to keep you alive. Your brain allows you to solve those puzzles, allowed you to get through high school, and your lungs are a constant reminder that you are still alive, and breathing. Your belly houses all of your organs, and provides shelter, and protects them. If you are a mother your body has done incredible things like have a baby, and feeds your body.
Your body is a safe haven that works tirelessly to keep you alive. It’s inner workings are intricate, and hard to fathom, yet we take it for granted. Your body is a living breathing love letter to you. If it could speak it would say “ you are so important to me that I work tirelessly everyday, so you can live to see another day and live your life”. Your body deserves to be loved and celebrated because of this.
Step 2: See Your Beauty
While you may not realize it, you possess a great amount of beauty. This is not fully realized as of yet, as a result you think thoughts that only harm your self esteem. These thoughts can include “why am I so ugly”, “no one will find me so attractive”, and “I hate my body”. These thoughts are not only detrimental to your self esteem, but also to your mental health. Instead try to find at least two things that you like about yourself or your appearance. This can be absolutely anything. The list can range from your lips, beard, hair, arms, eyes, or your love for chocolate!
The goal here is to see that you truly do have beautiful features whether they are physical attributes or not. By always looking for something you do love, you begin to counteract and disempower the negative thoughts. If you continue to do this you will find more things to love, and there will be a surplus of positive thoughts. The existence of your beauty is a fact, it simply has to be confirmed.
Step 3: Be Mindful of the Media You Consume
The media displays beautiful bodies, but sometimes the bodies that are portrayed are unrealistic, or hard to achieve. By consuming these images we begin to feel less than and compare our bodies to what we see in the media. This can lead to a cycle that involves dangerous diets, negative thoughts, and a lack of self love. To combat this spend time away from sources that cause you to dislike your body.
Try cancelling that magazine subscription for a month or two, find healthy diets, or surround yourself with body positive figures. Another way to do this is through social media. Unfollow people who cause you to scrutinize your body, or creators who you constantly compare your body to. Try following people and brands who preach body positivity and celebrate all bodies.
Step 4 : Remind Yourself That Looks Aren’t Everything
Looks, and physical appearance do not determine your worth. You are so much more than what you look like. To narrow down your existence to the size of your body or the level of symmetry of your face is to do yourself a disservice. Think of the most important people in your life. Do you love them simply because of their looks? Would you stop loving them if they lost their good looks? The answer to this question is most likely no.
You love the people you love not because they are attractive or look good, you love them because they bring you joy. They comfort you, make you laugh, care for you and others, and have the ability to make your bad days better. Would you tell them the only thing that makes them important in this world are their looks? If not, then why do you repeat the same message to yourself? You are more than your looks, and bring light to the lives of others. You have made someone laugh, smile, or look forward to another day. Your looks do not define you, at all.
Step 5: Forgive Yourself
It is easy to beat yourself up for all of your faults. Many of us have spent our nights lamenting over our actions in the past, and are left cringing. But no matter how cringy our actions were in the past, we need to forgive ourselves. If we do not forgive ourselves, we cannot move on. If you do not practice self forgiveness you may find yourself living in the past and unable to move forward. Practice forgiving yourself, even for the most minor occurrences. Remind yourself that everybody makes mistakes, and that mistakes are completely normal. They are what make us human. Let’s be honest, some of our mishaps are humorous so take the moment to laugh, reflect, move on, and make a point to learn from your mistakes.
Do not torture yourself when you say the wrong words, when you do something embarrassing, or when you find that you could have been nicer that one time. Simply acknowledge your mistake, reflect upon it, make a plan to do better, and move on from it. By doing this you will build up your self esteem, and give yourself permission to move out of your past.
Using these 5 steps whether together or individually will allow you to begin loving yourself.
While the 5 steps will aid in self love, and will help you begin loving yourself. extra help may be needed. If you are struggling with your body image, and self esteem or if you are worried you may have an eating disorder, contact us to schedule a free consultation. Our psychologists specialize in body image and eating disorders and will help you regain a positive self-esteem.
The onset of COVID-19 led many practices and therapists to make the decision to switch to online therapy. This was done to protect the health of their clients. Many thought the transition from physical sessions to online sessions would be rocky, and hesitated to make the transition. However online therapy is now loved by clients because of how easy, convenient, and accessible it is. As a result online therapy is becoming popular among clients.
Self-care related to working out has drastically changed in quarantine. Thus, many at home workout programs are trending. We’ve all seen online workout programs that promise results in 7 days, weight loss, or a changed body. These fake promises can really scare us into paying money for “quick change” that society deems necessary. They also lead us to question whether or not their workouts work for us. So, before jumping into a workout, we first have to ask ourselves a few questions, such as “what is a perfect workout, and how can I achieve it?
The Perfect Workout Is One Where You Have Fun
Are you having fun when working out, or do you dread having to pull out your yoga mat, or weights to prepare for exercise? This is an important question to ask yourself before starting a workout. Workouts are supposed to be fun. You should always leave a workout feeling good. A workout should make you want to do it again. If you find yourself being anxious about working out, then it may not be the best workout for you. Workouts should be done willingly and freely, not out of fear or panic.
One way to combat boring, or lackluster workouts is to find a workout that aligns with one of your hobbies. If you like to dance try Zumba, hip hop workouts, or ballet focused workouts. if you like to sing find workouts that are set to your favorite songs. If you are a big fan of celebrities try learning the choreography to one of their songs. if high impact workouts are too draining, switch to low impact or ” no jumping” workouts. This keeps things exciting, new, and fresh. They also make for a fun workout that you will want to do again.
Make Sure You Feel Confident
A perfect workout helps you feel strong and confident. Workouts that help you love the body you’re in while working towards the body you want are the best for you. Workouts should focus on helping you feel great, and take focus off obsessing over weight or burning calories. Workout instructors that do not shame you or put you down when working out help you feel more confident. Workouts that nurture you and are patient with you in the learning process build up your confidence. This also allows you to feel powerful, and sure of your own abilities.
When tuning into a workout video, pay attention to how the instructor speaks to your or the audience. Is the voice nurturing, caring, motivating, and kind? is the voice demeaning, harsh, or unkind? If the voice of the instructor or the mood of your workout feels like the latter, then it is time to find another workout. Make sure to find a workout that helps you feel motivated, praised, and comfortable. Once you find a workout that does that, you find that it’s worth the search.
A Perfect Workout Allows You to De-Stress
Workouts that help you de-stress and relax are great. This is because they can serve as an outlet, and create a space that allows you to feel calm. Workouts that add to your stress only increase anxiety. and this is not ideal. This connects to the point of workouts being fun. A workout should not feel like an obligation, or a job. The combination of fun, feeling confident and strong, and less focus on weight and calorie burning leads to a workout that is void of stress. Workouts that are aimed at decreasing stress and tension include yoga, pilates, tai-chi, or cardio. Focus on finding workouts that take away some of your stress, avoid workouts that add to it.
Overall, the perfect workout is the one that feels good. They should be fun and allow you to feel strong and confident. They should not control you or make you feel like you need to change. If a workout feels negative, it’s not you that needs to change, it’s the workout! Seek workouts that you can customize to your level, needs, and body! For example, The Down Dog app has workouts that you can customize fully from the length of the workout to the area of the body you are working. An added plus is you can customize the instructor’s voice and music too!
Your workout is for you! So, the “perfect workout” is one that decreases stress and makes you feel positive about every part of you.
Are You Struggling With Your Body Image or Disordered Eating?
If you are struggling with your body image, or if you are worried you may have an eating disorder, contact us to schedule a free consultation. Our psychologists specialize in body image and eating disorders and will help you regain a positive self-esteem while decreasing disordered eating issues.
The deaths of many black individuals have shaken the country. The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Elijah Mcclain ( to name a few) have been the cause of trauma for black people everywhere. Witnessing the deaths of black people at the hands of police brutality has devastating effects on the emotional and mental health of all who witness it, but leaves a deeper wound and creates lasting pain for black individuals. This is why it is it is important, (now more than ever) to be a source of support for the black people in your life. Keep reading to find out how to best support your black friends and colleagues right now.
Support The Movement
One of the best ways to be an ally for the black people in your life is to support the Black Lives Matter movement in any way you can. This includes donating, signing petitions, and calling government officials. Donating what you can and taking 10 seconds to sign a petition are small, but worthy steps you can take to show your support for the movement and for black lives. By calling, donating or signing a petition you are taking the appropriate actions, and steps towards change. You can also protest in solidarity, by attending peaceful protests in your city. This shows that you not only care about the lives that have been lost, but the lives of all black lives. By supporting the movement you are saying ” Black Lives are valuable, worthy, and deserve justice”. This is a message that your black friends, colleagues, and associates need you to understand.
Check In On Them
Check in on your black friends and coworkers. Send them a text, asking how they feel, and what can be done on your end to help. Check in on their mental health, and offer ways to help that are already natural to your relationship. If applicable, list the ways you have already supported the movement, and ask if there’s more you can do on a larger or more personal scale. Do not expect a prompt response, in fact do not expect a response at all. They may be preoccupied with ways they can support their friends and family, or they may still be processing current events. Give them time, as they are dealing with trauma. What matters is that you have offered to help. Make sure to keep an eye out for a response and maintain your promise to help, in the event that more ways to help are listed. Most importantly make sure to combine your words with action. You can do this by following the steps above.
Have the Tough Conversations
Take the time to evaluate you own beliefs about race and about the current events. Take in the beliefs of the people you spend your time with. Do their beliefs align with your own? Do you consider them allies? How are you promoting the idea of racial equality and are the people around you doing the same? if you are not satisfied with the way the people in your circle are dealing with current situations then it may be time to start having tough conversations, Discuss the importance of offering support, being an ally, and being part of the movement. Emphasize the importance of being part of the change. Disagreements may ensue but what is most important is that you have started having these conversation, and have started raising awareness of the injustices committed against black people.
Raise Awareness Where You Can
Use social media as a tool to raise awareness. You can post petitions, places to donate, and list numbers to call. You can also provide information about the circumstances surrounding the deaths of individuals like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Elijah Mcclain and so many more. Repost relevant information and links to resources. Text your friends and family about ways they can help, and stay up to date on newest developments and tell others about them.
Think About How You Can Continue To Support Long Term
Make sure your support doesn’t end here. Make sure your support persists when the movement is no longer trending in the media. One way you can do this is by continuing to donate, sign petitions, stay educated, and have conversations with the people around you. Another great way to keep up your support in the long term is to support black owned businesses. Lastly continue to educate yourself on resources that can be used to support the movement. Supporting the movement on a larger scale, still displays your support on a personal level.
Continue to take the steps towards change. Understand that your black friends, and coworkers experience deep emotional scars due to current events. Find ways to support them in this area too. Notify the black people in your life of therapy services that can aid them. Contact us to inquire about services that you can recommend to the black people in your life, or research other methods that can be of aid.
In the past few months, COVID-19 has taken the world by storm. The virus has not only affected the physical health of many individuals, but it has also taken a toll on the mental health of many. As a result, it is important to take steps to calm the heightened anxiety, and stress that has come as a result of COVID-19. Continue reading to learn how to calm anxiety and stress during the Coronavirus pandemic. (more…)