Youth Advisor at UpStreet
How to Engage with Your Body and Body Positivity During Covid
Regardless of circumstances, body positivity is hard. During this pandemic, we’ve had messages coming from all directions telling us to get in shape and get back to our pre-COVID body and lifestyle. But now more than ever, people are in need of some self-love, compassion, and love for their bodies. And it’s not easy to find ways to engage positively with your body during this pandemic.
Body love takes time. There are no “simple steps” to reach this state of constantly loving yourself. But there are many ways you can engage in body positivity right now. I’m a certified Body Positive Facilitator through the program The Body Positive. Body positivity work will not always be a daily success, but today I want to share four simple activities that can help you start to connect to and love your body more.
When I say movement, I don’t only mean exercise. Many people think of movement as simply getting back to the gym, pool, or simply going outdoors to exercise. There is so much more to movement than what you may call “exercise.” This can include yoga, dancing, Zumba classes or videos, and simple walks in your neighborhood. Any way to move that makes your body feel good, do it! And make sure that while you’re moving that you hydrate, eat and rest when you can. Just because dancing isn’t running a marathon doesn’t mean you won’t get tired!
Affirmations are positive phrases and sentences that help us challenge negative thoughts. There are an endless variety of affirmations you can pull from, but let’s talk about some related to body positivity! This can be looking at yourself in the mirror and saying “I am beautiful/handsome,” “My *insert body part* is beautiful.” Body positive affirmations can also be about much more than your physical body. They can include saying to yourself “I am enough,” “I am worthy [of love/happiness/peace/etc],” and “I will treat my body with respect.”
Self-care can mean many things for many people; here, I want to emphasize taking care of your body. This includes eating well and eating enough, hydrating, being well-rested, moving your body, taking breaks (from school work, socializing, social media, etc), and any activity that involves taking care of your body. This can also mean setting boundaries for yourself in conversations, relationships and with other people in general. Learn that it is okay to set limits for yourself—physical, mental and emotional. You can learn to love and accept your body more when you’re taking good care of it.
Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and other social media apps can often give negative and toxic images about body image. From celebrities promoting one specific body type to advertisements and people telling you to diet, it can be hard to scroll through Instagram and find body positive and inclusive content. But in reality, there are so many ways to engage in body positivity, and find other people that do, on social media. Some people I recommend following on Instagram are Megan Jayne Crabbe (@bodyposipanda), Mik Zazon (@mikzazon), and Stephanie Yeboah (@stephanieyeboah). These are only some of the many people that can make your timeline more body positive.
Movement, Affirmations, Self-Care, and Social Media are just the start of the ways you can bring body positivity and body love into your life during this difficult time. I’m not saying that it’s easy, but I’m saying that it’s possible and is only the beginning of a lifelong journey of love and acceptance.