The time has come to unpack the tank tops and bathing suits that remained hidden under our beds throughout the cold months. This means that sweaters and Uggs are out, flip flops and sunglasses are in! There are so many exciting things to look forward to about summer. For many, though, it still be a scary thought. So much is to be prepared for in regards to this upcoming sunny season, so here is a list of reminders that can help make it a bit less scarier for those who might struggle with what summer has in store for us.
- Clothes are supposed to fit you, not the other way around
I used to experience an overwhelming sense of pressure when it came to clothes. Whether it be trying them on again for the first time in months, shopping for them, or even borrowing from somebody else, I felt this huge need to stay within my “size bracket.” Anything outside the limit felt like a failure. How silly is that, even when it feels so serious? Clothes were made for us; we were not made for clothes. Finally healing from that pressure and shame was so liberating for me and it completely changed my relationship with the clothing world. And funnily enough, I feel so much more confident now that I’ve regained that power.
- You don’t owe your body to anyone, the way no one owes their body to you
It is yours to feed, clean, and be supported by. After understanding that your physical body is there to keep *you* and only you alive, evaluations about others’ even start feeling out of the question. They’re simply not necessary; they have their own in the same way that you have yours. And neither owes each other anything. From the size, color, shape, or even ornament on you, it all belongs to you.
- iT IS NEVER AS CATASTROPHIC AS IT SEEMS
It can be so hard to feel like everybody is staring at your every move, especially when “showing-off-skin-season” is taking place. Shorts become more than shorts, so do crop tops, and don’t even get me started on bikinis. It can all be so overwhelming and minor details cease to appear minor. Although, I did catch myself a couple of years ago realizing that everything I was nervous about my own self, I never really noticed in anyone else. I never looked, judged, or even paid nearly as much attention to other people in the way that I did to myself. I eventually had to ask myself “Is everything I’m overthinking and overanalyzing really that catastrophic as it feels to me?” Understanding the answer to that question has made my life so much simpler and my mind so much more peaceful.
- Skin is just skin doing skin things
It stretches, moves, changes, and grows. That’s just what it does. Having or getting cellulite, stretch marks, or even what we call a “double chin” is just a result of, you guessed it, bearing skin. It’s not supposed to do anything other than keep us safe and okay according to our personal needs. Let’s allow it to do what it knows best without being so hard on it.
- bodies in the summer go beyond just looks
You are more than just your physical self, but even then, summer does so much for the body! From Vitamin D, to the wind that comes from rolling the windows down, to the dopamine and movement we get from dancing our souls out, our bodies love summer in so many different ways. Additionally, clinical psychologist, Dr. Sanam Hafeez, also agrees we can greatly benefit from showing off our skin in the summer. She discusses how we can shift our focus from the anxious and scary thoughts about how we look, to the positive sensations our body can experience during this season. For example, her vision suggests asking ourselves questions like “How would it feel to savor the sensation of warm sun on my skin?” or “How might swimming help me relax or exercise more?” Practicing this refocus of energy can “help mitigate the impact of anxiety.” I know I will be consciously trying that from now on. After all, I can only gain from trying.
- help is always available
You are not alone in this. Everybody experiences insecurity in one way or another; that’s how we were conditioned to think. This is why there are so many resources available to us that can cater to what we need, including what we feel and how we want to handle and work with it. Whether you need someone to vent to, someone to look up to, or tools to beat the anxiety, there is something for everyone. From therapy to coaching, to podcasts and books, a shoulder to cry on and another to empower and hype you up, to even the right influencers and workshops, help and support is out there for you. It’s okay to ask and look for it.