woman with blonde hair wearing a pink top and a green skirt standing confidently in her room smiling at the camera

Being in lockdown has undoubtedly had a massive impact on our wellbeing, our self-esteem and for me, my body image. At first, I was really thrown off by the pandemic. I was concerned for my health and those around me, overwhelmed by the amount of panic and suffering that occurred across the globe, and I really struggled with the massive shifts in my day-to-day routine. I didn't know what this meant for me, my future, my health, and my plans for staying in the UK. Since I live in London and my family lives in Canada, I felt helpless. 

I coped with all of this in a number of ways. I've had many crying sessions. I've taken a lot of naps. I've eaten so many snacks. And I've woke up with the same thoughts every morning "this, again?" I've learned to take each day as it comes and adjust my schedule to my daily needs. 

One thing I struggled with in the beginning of lockdown was my body image. I was spending more time scrolling on Instagram, comparing myself to other people, more time looking in the mirror, and tonnes of time alone with my thoughts. This all started to affect my self-esteem. But then I started to realize that I didn't want to spend this entire lockdown feeling this way. I began to see that everything I was feeling was normal and in that moment, I accepted myself. I forgave myself for doing whatever I needed to do to get by. And if that meant snacks and naps, then so be it. I decided to be kinder and more gently with myself during this time. What we're all experiencing is a crisis and I shouldn't blame myself for feeling all kinds of emotions and needing to comfort myself in the ways I know how. 

Over time, I began to re-build my body confidence and I now feel like I love myself even more than I did pre-lockdown. Today I wanted to share what has helped me increase my body confidence during lockdown. Scroll to the end for the YouTube video! Yes — a video! It's been years. 

1. Forgiveness 

Negative body image can stem from not accepting the way we look and wishing we looked like someone else. I've learned that in order to treat myself with more love and kindness, I needed to forgive myself for the negative thoughts I've had towards my body and accept myself for who I am today. I'm all for making positive changes and aspiring to reach a level of health and wellbeing, but I've learned that before doing that, I must accept what I look like right now. By reaching a state of body neutrality, I can move forward towards body positivity. 

2. If it doesn't fit, put it away

Once I started lockdown and working remotely, my outfit choices changed significantly. I stopped wearing a bra (how awesome is this?!) and I stopped wearing jeans and belts. I didn't feel inspired to put any colour into my outfits or put the usual amount of effort in because I didn't see the point if I was just staying in my room. In the beginning, I couldn't even emotionally handle considering trying on my jeans. In the event that that didn't fit how they used to, I knew this would affect my self-esteem. By only wearing clothes that fit me, and not putting pressure on myself to dress exactly how I used to, I found this really helped me feel more comfortable in my skin. 

3. Curate your social feeds

As per my screen time reports, I've definitely doubled up my social media scrolling times. And in the beginning of lockdown, this really took a hit on my self-confidence. I began comparing myself and getting really emotionally attached to how many likes and follows I was getting. Over time, I decided to unfollow people who promoted weight loss, diets, and obsessive workout culture. I then followed people who inspire me to love myself as I am and promote positive body image.

4. Get into your body 

When I think negatively about my body, I tend to see my body as something that is separate to me. It's something over there that I don't like. But when I actually look at myself, touch my body, and move my body, I feel more ownership of this vehicle. And when I feel ownership, I feel closer to my body and want to show it more love. Some of my favourite ways to get into my body are through dance, yoga, meditation, running, walking, and self-massage. 

5. Dress up for you 

In the beginning of lockdown, I didn't feel like dress up nicely to go nowhere. Yet, as weeks passed, I missed playing in my closet, doing my hair and make-up, and taking cute pics. Even though I had nowhere to go, I started doing this again and I really enjoyed it. Getting dressed up for me reminds me that I had nobody to impress but myself and all that matters is how I view myself, not what others think. Taking pictures also helps me to have factual evidence of what I look like, so it can destroy the distorted image I have in my head. 

6. Eat the cookies, but with love 

We all experience cravings from time to time and they're sometimes met with a lot of guilt and shame. Instead of either restricting myself from having certain foods or eating snacks while feeling guilty and shameful, I decided to allow myself to have these simple pleasures. I then practice eating the snacks slowly, with love and joy, and feeling happy about eating something I was really wanting. While we're under tremendous stress with this pandemic, we don't need added pressure to be perfect. 

7. Talk about it 

When I ruminate on the same negative thoughts around my body image, they can become all-consuming. Once I started sharing my concerns with friends, many of them related to me. All of us are undergoing many of the same emotions and experiences in lockdown and sharing this with friends and family helps take the weight of my chest. I instantly feel lighter once I get the thoughts out of my mind and onto paper or a conversation with a friend. Once I began to clear my mind of these thoughts, I could then focus on other things. Like projects, crafts, recipes, exercise, yoga, and gardening. As I focused on all these other aspects of my life, I began to spend less time focused on what I look like. 

My first YouTube video in years:

As lockdown restrictions ease up, please remember to be kind and gentle with yourself. Remember these tips and especially if you're re-entering your workplace, only wear clothes that fit you and make you feel confident. I am hopeful we will come out of this situation stronger, more united and much kinder to ourselves. 

What are you doing to be kinder to yourself during lockdown? 

No comments:

Leave a comment.