7 Ways to Improve Your Body Image This Summer
I can hear the ladies groaning from here.
We’re all so critical of ourselves, aren’t we?
But feeling lousy about how we look is no fun, so how about we turn that around for you this season?
If you’d like to feel more confident about your appearance this summer, try these tips.
It’s time to feel good about your body!
1. Treat your body with respect.
For many of us, this is hard to do. We take our bodies for granted. We forget how much they do for us every day, and how they allow us to take part in the activities we enjoy.
Our bodies are miracles in action. It’s amazing how they circulate nutrients and deliver energy and support our thoughts and feelings and operate as we wish without us even having to think about it.
It’s time to remember what a great body you have. I don’t care if it’s a little overweight, or out of shape, or slightly out of proportion, or whatever other flaws you think it has. It gets you around in your world, and that’s something to be grateful for.
What does it mean to treat your body with respect? Imagine how you treat another machine that you appreciate. Your car, for example. Do you regularly get the oil changed? Wash and wax it? Get a tune-up? Your body deserves at least that much. Make an appointment for a massage. Exercise regularly, even if it’s only a daily walk. Feed it healthy food. Treat your body like a machine you want to last for decades—because that’s the truth, right?
How often do we mistreat ourselves and still expect the body to operate at top efficiency for years into the future? It’s time to change that.
2. Get realistic about body image.
We’re faced with unrealistic images of the human body every day.
Remind yourself that most of those images are illusions, created with photo-altering software to fit someone’s ideal image of how a body should be.
Look around you with fresh eyes. What do you see? The world isn’t full of supermodels. It’s full of real people of all different shapes and sizes, and you’re one of them.
It all comes down to how you feel about how you look. Women often feel like their physical appearance is all that matters, but surveys show differently. The old idea that you’re only as beautiful as you feel has some truth to it.
According to recent studies, confident women come across as more attractive, even to the point of getting more dates than less confident women. Dr. Mark White, writing in Psychology Today, says this:
“It’s an awareness of who you are, regardless of how you compare or measure up to others. It shows people that you’re comfortable with yourself, which grants you a certain poise, charm, or assertiveness. It also implies that you don’t need to compete with anyone or belittle anyoneelse to lift yourself up; as a result, confident people are more willing to praise others because they aren’t worried about making themselves look worse. All of this clearly accounts for the general attractiveness of confidence, if for no other reason than its general positivity.”
3. Find something positive every day.
When you look in the mirror, what do you think?
If you’re like most of us, your gaze goes directly to what you imagine to be your flaws. It’s like you’re locked into a negative mindset and you’ve convinced yourself that’s all there is to see.
Reset. Start over. Look in the mirror, and allow yourself to comment only on the positive things. Surely you can find something! You may like your eyes, your lips, your strong shoulders, your powerful legs, your soft hair—something. Find it and focus on it.
If you truly can’t find anything, fake it. Pretend that person you’re seeing in the mirror is a friend of yours, but not you. What would you say to her? Practice doing that every day for a while until it becomes easier.
4. Highlight your strengths.
Whatever you believe to be your positive traits, highlight them.
If that’s your eyes, spend some extra time this summer dialing them up. Have fun trying some new eye shadows or mascaras. If it’s your legs, try some leg-baring skirts and shorts or make it better with a bit of self-tanner.
Keep in mind that it could be something unusual, like your arm muscles. Maybe you’ve been weight training and you’re seeing results. Try some skin oils and arm-baring outfits, and pump up your workout to make your arms even stronger.
The key is to boost your confidence by focusing in on what you know is already positive. And confidence is always attractive.
5. Take action on what you perceive to be your flaws.
It’s time to stop beating yourself up and to take action instead. Inaction is the most painful place you can be. Once you decide to do something, it has an immediate beneficial effect on your mood and outlook.
If you’re unhappy with your weight, take action. Pencil in time to exercise every day, sign up at a nearby gym, pair up with a pal to help each other move more, and get serious about your diet. Consider working with a personal trainer or dietician. Take yourself seriously, and be willing to invest in your future.
Don’t, however, hurt yourself. We often go too far, thinking we’re going to get that “beach body” in a matter of weeks. Focus on health and how you feel instead of some ideal image of how you should look. Take steps to improve the body you have in small increments, rather than wishing for something you don’t have.
Once you start doing something, whatever it is, you’ll feel better, I guarantee it. Even small improvements can really boost confidence, and help you feel more confident in your summer gear.
6. Spend time with positive people.
If you’re around someone who puts herself down all the time, how long before you’re doing the same thing?
Not long, according to studies.
We tend to be easily influenced by our friends and loved ones—more than we think, most of the time. That’s why it’s so important to spend time with people who can bring you up, not down.
If most of your friends have trouble with their body image, consider expanding your social network. Sign up for a class on healthy cooking, join a new book club, volunteer, or find other ways to interact with new people. Being around those who are naturally confident, no matter what they look like, can rub off on you in a good way.
7. Take care of your skin.
Of course we care about skin here at CV Skinlabs, but this is about more than that.
Skin is your best accessory—really! Before the makeup and jewelry and outfits and all the rest, there is your skin. If it doesn’t look good to start with, all the rest of that stuff is just smoke and mirrors.
If you haven’t already, recommit to a regular skin care routine that includes gentle cleansing, toning, and moisturizing, and then add on your favorite natural anti-aging solution to help delay the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Exfoliate 2-4 times a week to slough off dead skin cells, and mask 2-4 times a week with both oil-absorbing and hydrating masks that get your skin out of its winter doldrums and into summer radiance.
Don’t forget to protect with a broad-spectrum sunscreen (zinc oxide is best), and with umbrellas, hats, and clothing.
In case you’re wondering, here’s how best to use CV Skinlabs this summer:
- Rescue + Relief Spray: Great for after-sun exposure, after shaving, and for cooling red, flushed skin.
- Calming Moisture: Use on face, neck, and scalp for deeply hydrating, plumping moisture. Great for applying before makeup to set up a dewy complexion.
- Body Repair Lotion: Your best all-over moisturizer that leaves skin with a fresh, radiant sheen. Perfect for helping to lengthen your faux tan.
- Restorative Skin Balm: Use it to hydrate chapped lips, moisturize cuticles, and soften elbows, knees, and heels. Also great for helping to soften eczema and psoriasis patches.
Finally, do something nice for your body on at least a weekly basis (daily is better). Think warm bath with lovely essential oils, a nice yoga class, a massage or other spa treatment, new sheets on the bed, a walk in the park or out in nature, or a weekend retreat.
Please, be nice to yourself this summer—you deserve it!
How do you boost your body image during the summer months? Please share your ideas with our readers.
Sarah Knapton, “Forget boobs and long legs: what men really look for in women,” Telegraph, May 25, 2015, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/03/15/forget-boobs-and-long-legs-what-men-really-look-for-in-women/.
Andrea Bartz, “Being Confident Will Get You More Dates than Being Attractive Will, Says Science,” The Date Report, January 17, 2012, http://www.thedatereport.com/dating/science/2168-science-explains-why-confidence-scores-you-dates/.
Mark D. White Ph.D., “Does Everyone Find Confidence Attractive?” Psychology Today, October 15, 2013, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/maybe-its-just-me/201310/does-everyone-find-confidence-attractive.