Embracing your imperfections is no easy task: When we talk about wellness and self-care, we often emphasise making small changes in our daily habits, like drinking more water and getting more sleep. Mindset shifts are also important, and today we talk about how having a positive body image is a self-care gift you can give yourself every day.
Have you ever looked in the mirror and not liked what was reflected back? While so many of us are good at being kind to others, showing ourselves some compassion, especially regarding the way we look, is sometimes much trickier. Since the pandemic, research shows there has been a huge increase in people seeking beauty fixes. Cosmetic surgery website, Save Face, reported a whopping 40% increase in their traffic last March, and according to beauty giant L'Oreal, searches for face masks on their website have increased by 240% since lockdown began.
But whatever term we choose to apply - Self-esteem? Self-confidence? Body Image? - there's no doubt that at times, most of us don't feel as good or as comfortable with ourselves as we'd like to!
Having a positive body image is a kind and loving appreciation of one's physical self. Body Love means embracing all aspects of your physical self – recognising that the notion of body "flaws" and "imperfections" does not exist. There is no ideal body standard to which you must conform. Instead, a wonderful diversity of body shapes and sizes makes each person unique, worthwhile, and lovable.
Whether you wish you had bronzed skin, straighter hair or fewer laughter lines, there's always something about ourselves we'd like to tweak or fix. Loving the skin we're in isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. It can take time and practice to build a better relationship with ourselves.
But thankfully, there are things we can do to make the journey a little easier.
Banish the Inner Critic.
Often we bully ourselves into believing we are not good enough the way we are; this undermines our self-esteem and wellbeing. If you find yourself saying nasty put-downs about your appearance, replace this noxious inner voice with affirming words of acceptance and love, knowing that you are uniquely lovely precisely the way you are. Consider using a mantra or phrase that reminds you to refuse to engage in internal messages of inadequacy.
Supercharge your self-care.
When it comes to embracing natural skin, many feel that being comfortable means a mask of make-up or cellulite-free thighs. But there are other ways we can truly love our skin. Helping us unclog pores and remove dead and flaky skin cells, exfoliating is a great self-care act that will leave your skin soft, smooth and refreshed. And as a bonus, it facilitates the absorption of other products, which will bring great results. I suggest using a good, organic body scrub once a week.
Nourish your body.
It's probably not a great surprise that what we consume can impact the way we look. Get real about what you eat. Being honest opens the door to better habits. You can still eat what you love but just change it a bit for the better. Food wise, eating healthy fats like walnuts and avocado help to nourish your body from the inside out, giving us glossy hair, healthy nails and an all-over-glow.
We all know we should be drinking more water, and hydration is key for the functioning of our body and vibrant and healthy looking skin. When our body is dehydrated, it can also show on our skin, and as our bodies are made up of 55-70% water, it makes a tremendous difference—both inside and out.
Treat your skin
Loving your skin means using healthy, natural products and practices necessary to treat it right. In addition to sunscreen, use cleansers, moisturisers and other skincare products that are suited to your skin type. Never go to sleep with your make-up on.
You can also grab an extra hit of hydration every day by moisturising post-shower or bath. This locks in moisture and soothes dryness from the outside, giving us the supple, hydrated skin of our dreams.
The attitude of gratitude
Make a comprehensive gratitude list detailing how you are grateful for aspects of your body apart from appearance. What are some of the many wonderful things your body does for you? For others? Appreciate your strength, agility, ability to experience pleasure and impart affection to others.
The beauty of self-love lies in valuing yourself as you are, feeling comfortable and happy in the skin you are in. Worship the temple that is your body by honouring, respecting and taking extra special care of your unique and beautiful self.
Start with Body Acceptance. Body Love will come.