Body image, or 'the mental picture of one's own body', can be an incredibly powerful thing. When it's good, we feel powerful, strong, maybe even beautiful. When it's bad, it can be the exact opposite: an angry wave of negative feelings that washes over everything in your brain. I'm constantly on the lookout for ways to pull myself out of this negativity when it hits, and these are the most helpful tips I've discovered.
1. Get rid of clothing you’re uncomfortable in and buy something that makes you feel good. Sometimes clothing is uncomfortable because it fit your body in a different season of life but no longer feels good. If this is the case, get it out of your closet. Donate it, give it to your sister, or sell it. Clothing should empower us and make us feel good. If you put something on and immediately feel discouraged or self-conscious, that piece of clothing isn’t serving you. This has been a total life-saver for me. When I started my self-love journey, I donated almost half of my closet. I’m now addicted to feeling good in all my clothes. When I can afford to, I’ll splurge on something new if I feel great in it and like the look. One new piece here and there can create a body-confident wardrobe over time.
2. Back off of social media. We know by now that social media, especially Instagram, can be a big black hole of comparison and wasted time. If your mind isn’t right, don’t turn to socials for relief. The chances are that influencers, airbrushed ads, and supermodels will only be a catalyst to make you feel worse. The best thing I ever did was clean up my social media feed of accounts that made me feel bad about myself. In exchange, I followed some body confidence accounts that made me realize I wasn’t alone in my feelings and promoted realistic body types.
3. Enjoy a few self-care rituals. It’s amazing what a few self-care tasks can do to get your thoughts realigned. Try painting your nails, tweezing your brows, or taking a hot shower. Self-care isn’t just for your physical appearance, either. It can be anything that recharges and rejuvenates you. My favorite self-care rituals include reading a good book, taking a rest from working out, watching a movie or catching up on shows alone, or writing down all of my thoughts to sort through them.
4. Ditch the scale...and the mirror. When feeling bad about your body image, it’s easy to start picking yourself apart in the mirror or obsessively stepping on the scale. If you’re not ready to totally eliminate the scale, hide it away for a while. The last thing you need is to fuel negative self-talk with a number that means absolutely nothing but can do serious damage to body image. Throw a sweater over your full-length mirror, too. Unless you absolutely need to check your outfit, give yourself a break from over-analyzing your body. Your brain will thank you.
5. Check in with friends. One thing that has been amazing for me in resetting a bad body image day is to spend time with the people I love. Call your friends to hang out and get yourself out of the house. Simply talking about anything else can be the most welcoming distraction from body image thoughts. After positive conversations, your mind will hopefully shift back to thinking about more important things.
6. Do something that makes you happy. Bad body image days can come with all the negative thoughts: self-loathing, anger, sadness, frustration, impatience. The best way to counteract this negativity is with happiness. It might be hard if you’re not in the mood, but you must do something that lights you up and makes you feel true happiness. For me, It’s going on a date night with my guy or baking up something beautiful and delicious in the kitchen. Things that bring you joy will replace your negative energy with positivity, transforming your overall mindset.