Not that it’s ever easy, but this year has been especially tough when it comes to body image.
I’m basing this off of conversations I’ve had as well as comments I’ve seen or heard throughout this year.
We’ve had our regular routines interrupted and been forced to create new ones.
We’ve had our day to day life change entirely.
Our social lives have changed.
Maybe even something as simple as the way we dress has changed.
Work habits and schedules. Eating habits. School. Exercise habits. After-work and weekend activities. Literally everything has changed.
Uncertainty, loneliness and various other negative emotions bring with them varying levels of stress, anxiety, overwhelm, and even depression. As a result, we may have turned to new or different coping mechanisms, as well as changed our diets or activity levels.
The feelings of helplessness at the state of the world might have you feeling out of control.
And any or all of these lifestyle changes & stressors might have impacted your perception of your own body.
When you look in the mirror lately, do you see yourself differently? Do you find yourself comparing the reflection staring back at you to old vacation photos or your memory of who you remember seeing in front of the mirror months ago?
This isn’t pandemic specific — it can and does happen at any stage of life.
But combined with every other adjustment we’ve been forced to make this year, it all takes a large mental toll. The anxiety at the state of the world and daily life feeds into anxiety that our bodies are changing.
They will always be changing – that’s just a fact of life.
But that doesn’t negate that it’s an unpleasant reality to face or embrace especially during this timeY. With a negative body image, we can begin to doubt ourselves in other capacities outside of appearance.
So if any of this resonates with you and you’ve struggled with body image this year (or at at any point in life, really), remember the following.
1. There’s no single “look” of a fit, healthy body.
2. Healthy looks different on every body.
3. Healthy can have different looks on your own body as you move through life.
4. Your worth as a person — at any stage of life — is so much more than your appearance.
5. No one is more critical of how you look than you. They’re too busy being critical of themselves.
6. Even if they are, YOUR opinion and relationship with yourself matters most. Train your focus on that.
7. How you feel and what your body enables you to do and experience in life are so much more important than how you look.
8. Your body is a gift. You may have good and bad moments with it, but always treat it with love and respect. You only get one.
9.Life is too short and too precious to waste time obsessing about your body. Take care of it to the best of your ability and be kind to yourself.
10. A few extra pounds, a few pounds lost, the appearance of additional wrinkles — whatever it may be — NONE of that changes the enjoyment of life’s simplest pleasures. It won’t make a sunset any less beautiful. It won’t take away how good it feels to hug a loved one.
A long as you’re trying to eat well, move your body, sleep enough — you’re doing the best that you can. You’re taking steps to be healthy even if overall you’re struggling with body image. So be kind to yourself and keep these reminders close. Life will pick back up again and your relationship with your body will improve.
If you have any different ideas that come to mind on statements that are good to remember at times when you struggle with body image, I’d love it if you’d share with me in the comments below!