How to Maintain a Positive Body Image in Difficult Times
The swift measures that have put in place to protect public health like shelter-in-place have no doubt come as a shock. With the sudden extra time at home, you may find you're not able to keep to those routines that kept you grounded before. You might be feeling more anxious, or not as at peace with your body right now.
A lot is going on, and if you're feeling this way — hey, this is normal! But there are things you can do to maintain a positive body image and outlook while feeling more isolated.
If you're familiar with the body image principles used here at thankubody, the same things apply here just with a shelter-in-place twist!
1. Take Care of Your Body
Try to continue to check-in with your body throughout the day. How is it feeling right now? For example, if your body is feeling lethargic, tense, or anxious take a few minutes to stretch or sit out in the sunshine (if weather permits) and breathe fresh air.
If you had a movement (exercise) practice going before the shelter-in-place changes, are there alternatives you'd like to try to keep this going differently? Online classes, or taking quiet walks outside, or connecting with friends and stretching online.
Another self-care thing to think about is if you've been working through recovery from an eating disorder or body image dissatisfaction and finding the current situation triggering, be sure to check in with your supports. Many therapists and dietitians are offering their services via telehealth, so this is an excellent way to keep in touch.
2. Make Time for Distraction
We usually work so hard to limit distractions. But letting positive distraction creep in (especially at this time) is a good thing.
Doodling, getting caught up in that book you haven't been able to put down, playing a few more video games or binge-watching your favorite new series are great ways to pass the time and take your mind off things.
Let that to-do list go a little (if you can). You might find that by letting your brain explore other pursuits could help to relieve anxious feelings during this time.
3. Keep Social Inputs Positive
The amount of COVID-19 news published daily on overdrive. So it's easy to get drawn into a vortex of negative news to bring your mood down right along with it.
Maintain self-preservation by keeping the news you read to a minimum and a schedule that works for you.
If you want to keep up to date, stick with updates from our major public health departments like the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO) rather than the latest headlines that might be overtly emotive or triggering.
There are a bunch of positive social media accounts posting uplifting content you could also follow. A couple I like is @bloomaffirmations and @soolooka on Instagram.
Another great way to keep things light is to create a group chat among friends to share funny memes and messages.
* What are your favorite uplifting social feeds? Pop them in the comments below so we can follow along too :)
4. For On Tough Days
If you find you have a tough body image day, that's okay (and normal). We can't feel upbeat all the time.
First thing, take a moment to acknowledge it. It may help to give it a label. For example, "I'm feeling flat." By doing this, you can take steps to unpack to think about why you might be feeling this way to see if you can support emotional, physical, or mental health needs at this time.
And there may be no particular reason except it's a bad day, this is okay too. But let's be gentle on these days, give yourself compassion, tell yourself it's okay, and know this feeling will pass.
5. And If You're Feeling Unwell
A final note, if you're feeling physically unwell, make your health and body your number 1 priority, contact your local doctor, check-in, don't second-guess how you're feeling.
Your body has a fantastic talent for telling you what it needs and if it needs extra help. Let's listen up.