First things first, bad body image days happen to everyone. Hell, bad body image years happen to everyone. Accepting your body involves unlearning so much of what you have been taught to believe your entire life. Unlearning those lessons does not happen all at once, it is a process that you will continue to undertake for the rest of your life. Just because we are told that we should never settle and never accept our bodies as they naturally are does not mean that we have to succumb to that rhetoric, but on the days when your mind just can’t get on board to making peace with your body there are some things I’ve found that can help.
1. Mind over Matter
Remember that your body has not changed drastically in the past 24 hours to create this feeling. As per most ill feelings we have towards ourselves, it is all created in our minds. Poor body image days are because of our minds, it truly has so little to do with our bodies.
2. Action over Aesthetics
Think about the things your body is capable ofrather than what it looks like. I tend to have a lot of insecurities around my stomach. So I think about how that area allows me to laugh, to share meals with my family and snacks with my friends, and how it allows me to balance my laptop so I can consume as much Buffy the Vampire Slayer as possible.
3. Turn It Into Emotions
A lot of the times when I feel myself frustrated with my body I have come to recognize that most likely there is something else causing that frustration.. Take a moment, or 10 moments, to reflect and think about what your emotions are beyond low confidence. What are you worried about? What is weighing on your mind that you may be subconsciously trying to ignore by blaming your frustration on your body? It could be nothing, it could genuinely just be a bad day for body image and that’s totally valid! But it’s also good to check in with yourself and make sure that’s where the focus should be.
4. Redirect Your Worth
Remember your worth as a person will never come from your body. It will never come from how attractive strangers on the street believe you to be, it will not come from the hours you spend in the gym or the focus on what diet you put in your body. Your worth comes from your ability to love, to do, to be.
5. Intentional Media
Seek out media outlets that celebrate people’s natural sizes, that focus on aspects of human beings that go deeper than their bodies. One thing that I find helps is going for a walk and listening to a podcast. I highly recommend the Unspoken Podcast or JVN’s Getting Curious
6. Thought Replacement
When you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, replace that with a positive one, you can use the same thought again and again, but be sure to work to replace the negative with a positive alternative for your mind to hold onto.
7. Find Distractions
Distractions that involve a physical element can help a lot in keeping your mind off of the negative thoughts surrounding your body and instead shift focus to the actions of your body. For me, knitting is something I find to be really helpful in this way, but things like painting, doodling, strumming a guitar, doing a crossword, anything like that I find can be useful in transitioning how my mind is thinking about my body.
And of course, last but not least, let yourself feel down. Extend compassion to yourself and let yourself feel the way you need to feel, and then get ready to work towards something better tomorrow.