Taking Care of Yourself This Summer

Spring is here! It’s warming up, the sun is out, and spring break trips are happening. Everyone is online shopping for swimsuits and warmer weather clothing. This time of year is always exciting; everyone is looking forward to their vacation plans or laying by the pool, working towards a tan. While summer is a stress-free time for fun with friends, there’s an underlying feeling that comes along with it. I know I can’t be the only one who feels the same way as soon as summer rolls around: a feeling of anxiety around my image.

Opening up Instagram, hundreds of celebrities are posting their beach pictures of them in bikinis. Going on snapchat means looking at the same thing. Ads and articles are churning out by the dozen giving tips on how to lose ‘winter weight’ before heading to the beach, or how to achieve your best ‘bikini body’. These messages give their viewers a considerable amount of stress and desire to hit the gym and eat healthy (which often means eating less than what your body needs). This has been the norm for so long, that many don’t question if this is really what they should be doing, or how this normalized routine makes them feel about themselves and their image.

While summer is a time for fun, there are a lot of mental health problems and anxieties hidden behind the instagram posts of sun and sand. According to Harstein Psychological Services, “the summer months often make eating disorders and mental health symptoms worse. We often notice an increase in anxiety, depression, body dissatisfaction and negative self-talk”.

If you’ve ever felt like this during the warmer months, you’re certainly not alone. Everyone, no matter their gender or age, is vulnerable to feeling this negativity centered around their image once summer hits. I am no expert, and I definitely have not cracked the case on how to stop these feelings from occurring, here are some things that I like to remind myself when I start getting those negative feelings:

1. You do not need to diet to wear whatever swimsuit you want. You just don’t! Eat when you’re hungry, and eat what you want. If working towards your ‘goal’ means suppressing your appetite and your cravings, then it’s not worth it.

2. What you are feeling is not your fault, it is a product of corrupt media and messages that have been normalized for far too long. Every feeling and anxiety you may have is valid, but you are not to blame.

3. Your body is worthy of care. Your body lives, breathes, and functions for you. You deserve to be treated with love and respect, and so does your body.

4. You are not alone. If you’re struggling this summer, or any time, reach out for help!

Care for yourself and others this summer, and HAVE FUN!

Sources: (http://www.hartsteinpsychological.com/summer-triggers-body-image-issues