Five Ways to Be Kinder to Yourself This Summer
The other day I posted this photo on Instagram to share my new favorite dress. It’s nothing fancy; it’s from Target and cost about $28. But I am so in love with that dress. I love the dark blush color (is it mauve? I’m not good at these random Pantone colors) and the fun print and the 3/4 length sleeves. What I love the most about this Target dress is that it feels like me.
I’ve been struggling a lot when it comes to dressing my body. Honestly, a lot of the things in my closet that I love just don’t fit like they did before. Most days I’m okay with that; now I have Violet and I’m a different person both mentally and physically. But there are other days when it’s hard to adjust to what I see in the mirror.
Summer can also make getting dressed and appreciating our bodies difficult. Even the one summer where I felt really fit and toned, I still found something to worry about (if only I knew those were the days!). Just the other days I saw one blogger, who looks amazing, post about how she hates seeing herself in shorts. Countless others on Instagram have mentioned how they angle their bodies and agonize over posting summer photos.
I try to remind myself daily that everyone struggles with their self image. I also remind myself that I need my inner voice to be a bit kinder during this season. But sometimes you just need to take action and add some positivity and confidence into your day. You can start by buying that perfect dress.
1 | Buy the new clothes.
The worst feeling in the world is opening up your closet and being sad/upset/frustrated/angry because those clothes aren’t right. Maybe they don’t fit well, maybe they don’t represent who you are now, or maybe there’s just something not right that you can’t put your finger on.
I remember trying to put on a top that I had for years and years, from college probably, and suddenly it didn’t fit. I felt horrible. For months I kept putting off getting clothes that fit and I just wore the same couple of things over and over.
DO NOT be like me. Go and buy the clothes. Appreciate the body you have now. Maybe you’ll get back to wearing those old clothes but you don’t have to. If you need permission, this is it. Even if you’re on a budget and thinking you shouldn’t go shopping for clothes, I get it. But it will make a difference, even just one pair of new, great fitting jeans.
After a few months of struggling, I broke down and went to Target. I bought a ton of pieces, some things in a size larger than before. I finally started to feel like myself.
2 | Get yourself moving in your own way.
I’ll never say exercise is my thing. But getting your body moving can do wonders for your mental and physical health. Don’t worry about signing up for a marathon; a brisk walk around your neighborhood will do. I love packing up Violet in the stroller and walking around our local (now empty) college campus.
It’s not about losing weight (unless you’re trying to, then go for it!), it’s about doing something for you. Your body will feel better, your mind will feel clearer, and you can just soak in that sunshine.
3 | Be careful about what you consume (and I’m not talking food!)
Scroll through Instagram right now and see how many bathing suit photos you spot. Or how many perfect beach or travel photos there are. Or seemingly encouraging post-workout photos where the subject tells you how it’s more than just their clothes fitting better, it’s how amazing they feel!
Sometimes these pictures make me feel really crappy. In my own photos I see the chubbier cheeks and the little bump still hanging on my stomach. I see the same background because I’m stuck in New Jersey. So how do I combat the comparison trap?
Delete it. Stop watching it. Move away from any platform or person that makes you feel less. Be careful about what you consume by looking for accounts that leave you feeling better for having interacted with them.
4 | Perfect your summer beauty routine.
I think everything is made better when it has its own unique beauty routine. Your beauty routine is that five to thirty minutes (longer or shorter? I don’t judge) you have to take care of yourself. In the summer, I like to keep it light but preventative. Sunscreen is a big morning staple and hylauronic acid is a new favorite for pumping up the moisture. Even just going for that pedicure is a good way to be kind to your summer self.
5 | Get an attitude of gratitude for your body.
I don’t think we give our bodies enough credit. Our bodies are capable of incredible things. Running marathons, birthing babies, dancing all night to the greatest hits from the early 2000’s. No matter what, your body is there for all of your big life moments and your shenanigans.
This summer, be kinder to yourself and your body and develop an attitude of gratitude. Stop belittling your body for how it looks or what it can’t do (yet). Your body has done awesome things and it will continue to. Be kind to it and be kind to yourself.