By Sophia Smith
Hating yourself is exhausting. It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to airbrushed Instagram models and end up feeling inadequate. We see carefully composed images with filters, photoshopped magazine covers, ads offering miracle cures, and we decide that our own life, our own body, is simply not enough. In all that mess that surrounds us, our mental and physical health suffers slowly as we try to change ourselves to fit into someone else’s mold, and someone else’s expectations of who we are supposed to be.
It’s time we stopped. Instead of trying to change ourselves, it’s time to embrace our bodies and nurture our wellbeing. Here’s how.
Stop punishing yourself
Did punishing yourself ever get you anywhere? Did you really lose ten pounds after you called yourself fat? No. Calling yourself ugly names and punishing yourself for every mistake will only make you miserable and push you further down. It will paralyze you and prevent you from reaching any of your potentials. Having more patience and being kind, on the other hand, will give you the freedom you need to flourish.
Move your body
A sedentary lifestyle is bad for both our mental and physical health. Sitting on your bum all day will make you feel sluggish, lazy, and sickly, and negative energy is more likely to keep piling up until you burst. Physical activity is the thing that can save you — and you don’t even have to go to the gym. The thing that will improve your body image isn’t a specific type of exercise, it’s simply growing strong, healthy, and feeling liberated in how you’re able to move your body.
But here are some activities you could try: dance classes, long bike rides with your best friend, running while you listen to your favorite music, slow yoga, or fencing. You can even try something unusual, like kickboxing, because it will make you feel like a flat out badass. The important thing is to find something that you genuinely like and that you can feel connected to on a more emotional or spiritual level.
Eat for health, not for weight loss
Nutrition is important, but good nutrition does not mean going on a crash diet. It means being mindful of what you put in your body, and tailoring your meal plans to suit your lifestyle and your nutritional needs.
This is particularly important for women who are going through menopause or are dealing with any kind of big hormonal changes. In addition to eating more vitamin and nutrient-rich veggies, you could try taking probiotics menopause supplements to help your body feel better as you go through this period. Probiotics can reduce common menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and generally improve your gut health. If your gut is healthy, it will benefit all of the other organs in your body.
In addition to eating nutrient-dense foods and taking supplements you should also reduce your sugar and junk food intake. This will help you feel less bloated and give you more energy to love your body.
Disconnect from social media
Obsessing over why everyone’s life seems more perfect than yours on social media will only make you sad and frustrated. Bear in mind that most of the things you see online are carefully staged or outright fake. If you disconnect from social media a little you’ll stop comparing yourself to others so much. And that, in essence, is the real key to feeling good about yourself.
Surround yourself with positive people
If you’re surrounded by people who gossip and complain all the time, you’re likely to drown in their toxic behavior. Instead of listening to a slew of negative comments every single day, why not find people who are eager to see good things in life and spread joy? Being around positive people will make you feel more positive yourself.
Be kind to others by being kind to yourself
Negativity is just as infectious as positivity. If you call yourself ugly in the presence of your loved ones, you’re spreading negativity into their world and contributing to their degrading sense of self. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t directly offend them — you filled their day with something ugly and it has affected them.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t talk to your loved ones about what’s bothering you. This means that kindness and patience you show to yourself has a resounding effect that will help heal others as much as it heals you.
Embrace the discipline of self-care
Self-care is important, but self-care isn’t just about splurging on a new lipstick when you’re feeling sad. You should absolutely buy nice things and enjoy material rewards occasionally, but if you’re going to really benefit from self-care, be aware that it’s all about discipline.
Self-care is about doing that workout even when you’re feeling sad. It’s about going to bed early. It’s about eating that plate of chicken and veggies instead of a burger. It’s about treating yourself right and finding balance in all things.
Have patience, be kind, and persist in doing things that will benefit you. Your body image is all about how much respect you have for yourself. Losing weight, toning your muscles, looking more attractive — all of that will fall into place once you learn some self-love.