Summer is here and it is officially swimsuit season, which may elicit feelings of fear and anxiety at the thought of wearing a swimsuit in public until one has a "swimsuit body".
Guess what? If you have a body and a swimsuit, you have a swimsuit body.
But, if you’ve been avoiding wearing a swimsuit until you achieve a size or weight that makes you feel more comfortable in your body, here are a couple of tips on how to feel that fear and to wear a swimsuit in public anyway.
In a culture that obsessively values body size and weight (especially of women) it’s easy to get caught up in what the media defines as acceptable. However, research shows that 95% of women do not look like the digitally enhanced images that permeate marketing campaigns. Love handles, cellulite and curves that are natural for women to have no matter their size, weight, shape, age, or fitness level are erased in these perfected, photo-shopped images. As a result, many women end up chasing the cultural ideal or chasing a body size they ONCE had and still covet before even thinking of wearing a swimsuit.
Rather than giving your personal power over to a value that doesn’t embrace ALL of who you are, get in touch with your inner-rebel and rally in support of what truly matters. Strive to create health and well-being in the spirit of inclusivity and acceptance rather than feeding the prejudice against oneself and/or others.
Dip Your Toe in the Pool
I often hear from our female guests that they wore their swimsuit here for the first time in years. At Hilton Head Health we provide a non-judgmental environment in which all body sizes and shapes are welcomed. As a result, people feel like they have a safe space to dip one’s toe in the pool - literally and figuratively when it comes to busting through the self-imposed limitations of waiting until someday to engage in an activity they enjoy.
Start with an environment that feels safe to you. Maybe it’s a friend’s pool, or non-busy hours at the local pool, or a more secluded area of the beach. Start here first and the exposure in small steps may help to alleviate swimsuit anxiety.
Learning to focus on what truly matters in life can help to prevent getting hooked into the negative body image trap. Instead of focusing on how you look in a swimsuit, focus on being in the moment. Enjoy the company you are with, the conversations you are having, the feel of the sun on your body and the water moving against your skin. If you can be in the moment, and focus on what you like about the experience, the anxiety chatter more readily fades away as you lean into being IN your body.
According to Gallup’s comprehensive poll on well-being, a sense of well-being has everything to do with the quality of our experiences in life. No one cares about how you look as much as you do and if someone does make a rude comment, this behavior speaks to the ignorance and rudeness of that person and is not worth your time or energy.
So, put on that swimsuit and get out there and LIVE your life instead of waiting until ‘someday’.
Let go, let be…and seize the day!