Navigating Bad Body Image Days

When struggling with bad body image, I often hear tips like “take a bubble bath” or “look in the mirror and say I love you”. I don’t know about you, but that just doesn’t cut it for me and frankly doesn’t help at all. We need action steps to actually get through days where body image feels terrible. While finding some quick fix for body image is tempting, it’s not always helpful to distract or avoid how we’re feeling. Instead, I find it important to practice BEING WITH what’s happening, to make it easier–but recognize that I can’t make it go away.

Here are some tips I’ve put together to help with this process:

Context is everything

Remember that bad days are universal and we all experience them sometimes. For some of us, the experience is more focused on body and appearance.

Get comfortable in your body

Have on hand at least 2-3 outfits that are comfortable and fit the body you have right now. This isn’t about hiding or flaunting certain parts of your body, but rather wearing something that feels good on a day when your body doesn’t.

Get curious

Gently ask yourself if anything else is happening that might be contributing to these feelings. Remember that fat is not a feeling. Is there something physical going on? Perhaps you feel tired, bloated or are in physical pain? Is there something else you’re really stressed or worried about? Maybe there are big emotions underneath that need to be explored.

Allow yourself to feel sad and grieve

Unpleasant feelings and grief are perfectly normal and part of being human. Place a hand on your hear and just feel into whatever is there. A mantra that might be helpful is, “it’s hard to be in my body today, and that’s okay”.

Talk with someone you feel safe with who won’t try to fix it

It can help to be witnessed while we speak the thoughts we are having. When it comes to our bodies, not everyone is going to be a safe place to land, so it’s important to connect with someone who will be supportive. Reaching out and being in connection with others can help regulate your nervous system and bring you into the present.

Consciously consume content on social media & blogs

Read stories of people who have healed their relationships with the bodies, and who unapologetically take up space. Take in their stories. Ask yourself what they might say to you if they were here right now.

Remember that no feeling lasts forever

In the moment, it’s easy to feel like your current state of mind is going to become permanent. Remind yourself that we all have a wide range of emotions, and that is just part of being human.

These are not ways to avoid bad feelings or to bypass our emotions. Rather, its knowing that bad days are inevitable for all of us, and sometimes our thoughts will be more focused on our body or appearance. These are ways to prepare for those days to better be WITH the feelings rather than to AVOID them. ⁣

{Cover art by Lauren Bending}