There’s nothing quite as synonymous with summer as swimsuits. Summertime is meant to be fun, a reward for enduring long and dreary winter days. It feels so nice to shed the itchy wool and puffy coats and feel the sun on your skin. But for so many, the excitement of summer is replaced with dread as soon as the word swimsuit is mentioned.
The false belief that we have to get our bodies ready to be in a swimsuit has turned what used to be an exciting season into a season of dissatisfaction. The diet culture messages we receive via social media do little to promote a healthier mental mindset. The fixation with the way that our bodies look in bathing suits can lead to disordered eating and dangerous exercising behaviors.
A quick search for #bikinibody or #beachbody reveals thousands of photos of people with a very specific aesthetic who are strategically posed. So few of these people are actually even enjoying the beach, playing in the water, or engaging in any of the delights of swimsuit season.
So how do we enjoy our time at the beach or pool without being consumed with body shame? First, we need to make a cultural shift away from placing value on bodies. All bodies are deserving of a day at the pool or a vacation to the beach. You don’t have to earn the right to wear a swimsuit. You were born with the right to love your body, and you should celebrate it for everything it does for you. One way to change your mindset is to refrain from using negative value judgment when talking about your body. Instead of saying, “I need to lose ten pounds before I go to the beach,” try saying, “I’ll have fun at the beach because I’ll live in the moment.”
Another way to ensure that you enjoy your swimsuit season is to avoid media that perpetuates the false notion that there are bodies undeserving of bathing suits.
Following body-neutral sites is another helpful way to learn to love your body for what it can do for you instead of placing such extreme emphasis on how your body looks. You can also try some of the following affirmations to promote body neutrality: “My legs are strong and help me swim. My arms allow me to splash and play. My weight does not define my worth.”
Finally, don’t forget to remind yourself that you deserve to splash and play and have fun in the sun. Swimsuit season is meant to be a break from all the stress of your daily life. Try to let go, feel the sun on your face, and live in the moment!
Having a body-positive or even a body-neutral outlook may feel out of reach if you struggle with body image. At Selah House, we know it’s not a switch you can easily flip on and off, and we can help. We can teach you the tools you need to feel healthy and whole again. Call us at 765.587.3153 or connect with us through our contact form to get in touch with our caring and knowledgeable admissions team.