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Wellness > Mental Health

How to Have a Body Positive Summer

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CNU chapter.

A hot girl summer does not equal engaging in unhealthy habits to maintain an unrealistic body type. In 2023, we are not trying to lose weight by juice cleanses, borderline starvation diets, or Tiktok fads to look good for bikini season. Us women are already beautiful, breathtaking, confident, and worthy in our natural forms! Instead, we are going to enjoy the break off of academia by catching some much-needed vitamin D, going on adventures with our friends, and relaxing our nervous systems by binge-watching shows rather than worrying about our shape. However, it is impossible to completely avoid the bombardment of diet culture on social media… so in order to counteract that negativity, listed below are ways you can celebrate the summer in body positive ways!

shameless beach day

It is a thoughtless given: school-free summer and sizzling beach days go together like savory peanut butter and sweet jelly. Sun tanning (more like roasting like a steamed bun) with ample amount of SPF, reading steamy summer romance novellas, bobbing in the salty waves as you take a dip, hosting a sand-building competition… there are numerous ways to spend a beach day without the negative hyperfixation on how your body looks in a bikini. Do not purposefully skip out on the endless excitement (big FOMO) solely because you are worried about strangers’ potentially judgmental opinions! If you prefer a more conservative, modest island look, don on a stylish swimsuit cover-up or wrap. Otherwise, I recommend that you proudly display your natural body and radiant confidence as you traipse in the sunshine. Freedom and liberation from unnatural social media beauty standards is exhilarating!

Dog park

If you take a sweeping look at the diverse shapes, colors, and forms of the four-legged-breed, you realize that no dog is created in identical fashion, in body and soul. Therefore, why should you, a complex human with unique DNA sequences, hold yourself to extreme different standards? Take your furry friend to a lush national park or dedicated doggie-playground to release some of the stress you have been imposing on yourself to mirror society’s models. Dogs simply do not give a RUFF what your skin, body hair, stomach, or teeth look like. As a true friend, they admirably value you for your kindness (well, ability to offer treats) and just like sitting in your company.

Late Night Milkshake Runs

Food is meant to be enjoyed in social settings, not just simply for fuel and energy. Nothing screams exciting, wild summer nights than taking a drive under the pitch-black sky to a fast food joint or diner to order milkshakes at midnight. Something about this simple act is so exhilarating; you feel like a child up past their bedtime sneaking in the candy jar. Drag along your ultimate bestie, queue up your favorite playlist of bops, and station in an empty parking lot with your delicious shakes while you have a deep conversation about life. At any hour of the day, you are allowed to savor a sweet treat without any imposed guilt from diet culture. McDonalds, Sonic, Dairy Queen, and Five Guys are excellent options when the moon floats up and many shops close down.

Photobooth Photoshoot

Do not be camera shy and avoid the lens this summer of 2023. Youth and girlhood is so tragically fleeting, especially when you have merely 4 years to spend in the special time bubble of college, so do not hide behind the camera capturing the moments of others and not yourself. When you are old, wrinkly, and grey, flipping through scrapbooks of the “good ol’ days”, you will desperately wish that you had not been so harshly critical of your appearance and had taken more photos of yourself smiling in the present. Taking inspiration from popular Instagram photographer “Booth by Byrant“, make a classy-glam-retro photobooth photoshoot with your friends at home. All you need is a phone with a working camera function (or a DSLR, if you are fancy), and experiment with mood lighting to make iconic photos to cherish for years to come.

Build a bear with a body-ody

Okay this might seem a bit outlandish but it is a unique, funky way to encourage body positivity and eliminate insecurity! Go to the iconic Build-A-Bear Workshop, the land of our greatest childhood fantasies, and choose a stuffed buddy to create. When the employee is in the (magical) process of building your plushie, ask them to put a little extra stuffing in whatever places you feel self-conscious in. Then, proceed to fashionably dress up your stuffed animal in a tight crop top, dress, or jeans. If your bear can look effortlessly fabulous and confident in her little summer clothing with her cute stuffed tummy, then so can you! Your new BFF can encourage you to dress freely without the worry of a little extra stuffing showing.

Thrifting trip

Have you outgrown your old summer clothes from years prior? Do not cling to these emotionally-charged possessions and try to anxiously force the fit. Bodies are constantly changing, evolving, and maturing like the ebb and flow of the ocean tide. Go to your nearest local thrift shop and pick some fresh suitable clothes to feel your most comfortable self. Get some bang for your buck with the cheap deals. Summer weather is generally humid and stuffy, so why purposefully torture yourself with chafing jean shorts two sizes too small? Arbitrary numbers upon itchy tags do not define your worth!

21 yr old Virgo writer at Christopher Newport University. Big feminist. Coffee ice cream enthusiast. Communication Major.