Summer is upon us. Wales has seen some soaring temperatures over the last few weeks, and I guess we have to prepare for some more sun. I love the summer, the sun and warm weather just puts me in such a good mood, at least until I have to go outside. The summer gives me so much anxiety about clothes. I get so worked up because I know that summer means warm weather and unless I want to roast like a potato on a Sunday lunch, I need to bare some skin.
The thought of this makes me want to stay indoors until November, but nevertheless I try my best to be confident. This is made harder, however, by the body shaming that’s so prevalent in society, especially on social media. Even big influencers on social media have recently been body shaming…it’s no wonder lack of body confidence is so common, especially in younger people.
Summer should be a time for fun. Beach trips, sitting in the park, BBQs, but for many, it’s associated with dread. For so many, summer is an anxiety-filled, hot and sweaty few weeks. What should be a time spent with friends can instead become a time of unnecessary stress, embarrassment and shame over our bodies.
The media bombards us with ads for magical products that will give us a bikini body or the much desired beach bod. We see gorgeous Victoria Secret models parading over our screens with the latest teeny bikinis. Everyone is rushing to the gym or drinking a juice for every meal in the hope of slimming down and getting the perfect figure. But do you ever stop to think just how harmful this is. The media is basically telling us that our bodies– the vessels that take us from A to B each day, that fight illness, that protect our organs – are not good enough for summer. Media is telling us that the way we are is not enough. It’s so ingrained in us that we often don’t even question it, we’re like “yeah, better get fit for summer” … and rarely do we think, “well no, I’m happy as I am, the beach can take me like this”. Sure if you’re unhappy with your body, eating healthy and exercising is cool, but by no means should we be made to feel like we have to change, becoming miserable in the process.
I have my own struggles with my body image and it would be a lie for me to say that in the summer I didn’t feel extra pressure to get a ‘summer bod’, however, I now realise how harmful it is, and I cringe so much when I see other people obsess over this. I vow to be kinder to my body, to nurture it and care for it and say nicer things about it. The journey to self love and body confidence is not a quick one, it’s miles long with many stops along the way, but I’m beginning that journey and I hope you all join me.
If anyone still needs more help with body confidence, I suggest reading Mel Wells’ The Goddess Revolution, the poetry of Rupi Kaur and following Body Posi Panda on Instagram. These goddesses will help you on your journey to self love.
Don’t feel shamed this summer. Your body is beautiful and it is already beach ready.