Be kind to yourself: How to love the whole of you, mind and body

Be kind to yourself: How to love the whole of you, mind and body

Sadie White No Comment

In these blogs our Door 43 team provide wise words and support to help young people manage emotional health and wellbeing during this difficult time. Be sure to look out for these blogs on the Sheffield Futures website and our TwitterFacebook and Instagram channels. 

This week Katie talks about negative body image, why it’s so important to be kind to ourselves and look for the good things in our whole selves and gives advice and guidance on how to deal with negative thoughts.

Hi everyone, it’s Katie here from Door43. This week I’m going to talk about body image and how to deal with negative body image.

Lockdown isn’t going to be helping if you suffer with negative body image as social media is pumping out lots of images and information that will prompt unhelpful comparisons if we don’t check ourselves.

I’ve noticed that social media has become filled with daily workout videos, physical challenges and there seems to be a large focus on food. This information can be very helpful to find a healthy balance and a great way for us to learn new things about moving and nourishing our bodies. However, it is so important to pay attention to the messages and attitudes of the media posts and that we consider the following questions before we take any of this information on board. Do they, make you feel guilty? Reduce your self-esteem? Encourage you to think negatively about your body and yourself?

If the posts you’re looking at do any of these then they’re not going to serve you. If you have poor body image, lockdown can be a time where you use information from social media to shame your body and compare yourself to others. So, it may be useful to think about this next time you are on social media. Consider unfollowing accounts that make you feel worse after seeing their posts.

It’s also important to remember, when comparing your life to that of someone else’s, social media is not a true reflection of reality. Images are edited and positive elements of life are promoted.

In our society we are often told that we have to look a certain way or be a particular shape in order to ‘fit in’. Who creates this idea of normal? Where is it written down that a certain body shape is the norm that everybody must adhere to? The idea that all of our bodies should fit the same ‘cookie cutter’ shape is impossible and can be a dangerous idea to hold. Have you ever said to your friends “I hate my nose”, “I wish I looked like you”, “I’ll never have a six pack” or “I would do anything to be thinner”? What are the advantages and disadvantages of insulting our bodies in this way and pointing out areas for change? Grab a pen and write down your thoughts on this.

Advantages

(can add own info in here)

Disadvantages

(can add own info in here)

Maybe if we focus on the areas about ourselves we love, or are impressed with, this may change the way we view our bodies.

It is also important to remember that our bodies are so much more than a thing to look at; to base our worth solely on how we look disregards all of the other parts of us that make us who we are. We are not a one-dimensional cardboard cut out for others to observe. Try considering the following questions about YOU:

What can my body do that is not related to how it looks?

(can add own info in here)

How would I describe my personality?

(can add own info in here)

What are my values?

(can add own info in here)

What are my hobbies?

(can add own info in here)

What are my strengths?

(can add own info in here)

If we base all of our happiness on how we look, this will often to lead to frustration and constant thoughts of wanting to change. How our bodies look does not define us, it cannot illustrate our intelligence, our character, our values or our success. Remember that you are YOU, we cannot truly understand ourselves if we constantly wish to be someone else.

Try writing a ‘top 5’ list of things that you like about yourself, that aren’t based on how you look, and stick this somewhere in your house for you to look at everyday – as a daily reminder of our unique multi-dimensional qualities.

Instead of trying to change our body type, let’s…

  1. Change the way we view ourselves.
  2. The way we talk about our bodies.
  3. Understand YOUR body. Unfortunately comparing it to others won’t help you to appreciate what your body can do.
  4. Consider the discrimination society has against particular body types.
  5. Look at the beauty in all body types – have a look at artwork and photographs of a whole range of people, and embrace the difference.
  6. Move our bodies – try going for a walk, have a dance in your kitchen, go for a bike ride – find something that you enjoy and that makes you feel good, rather than as a punishment for your body.
  7. Consider self-care and looking after yourself – have a bath, wash your hair, put a face mask on, have a nap, sit outside to get some fresh air. Be kind to yourself.

For some great advice and tips on body image, have a look at the bodyimagetherapist on Instagram, I have found some of her quotes very inspiring – but remember, find what works for you.

I recently read about the Japanese phrase “shinshin ichinyo” that translates as ‘mind-body unity’. Rather than viewing our mind and body as separate entities, this phrase is about a deep connection between the mind and the body. It made me consider the importance of this quote:

“Don’t let your mind bully your body”

How you can help

Our charity is dedicated to helping Sheffield's young people to reach their full potential and achieve the best out of life, whatever their starting point. To help us to do more to support young people and communities we need your help. Just remember, every penny you donate will make a difference.