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Every Body Is a Summer Body

Every Body Is a Summer Body

As the days become longer and the temperature rises, you may find yourself prepping for the summer months. Planning weekend getaways, identifying a list of activities to attend, possibly even planting new flowers or doing some cleaning. Whatever your summer prep includes, hoping to change your body to be worthy of these activities should not make the to-do list.

It is easy to fall victim to the expectations that others set for us regarding “summer bodies”. But as we know, focusing heavily on this change leaves little room for other values such as connection, leisure, or growth. Your body is not the outcome of your summer, nor should you allow the vulnerability of being embodied to hinder your ability to enjoy the season. 

You deserve a fun-filled, intentional, connection-based summer, showing up as exactly who you are. Here is a list of 10 things to add to your summer live list that have nothing to do with your physical appearance:

  1. Go for a swim- you don’t have to change your body to be worthy of wearing a bathing suit
  2. Try a new recipe
  3. Go 24 hours without social media 
  4. Read a new book
  5. Have a picnic with friends 
  6. Hike a different trail
  7. Enjoy a campfire
  8. Eat a snowcone 
  9. Learn something new
  10. Take a family photo

In my experience, the summers that I have approached the season being authentic and embodied have helped create the mindset where I am able to enjoy being present and creating memories. You are so much more than your body. Don’t allow negative thoughts or unrealistic expectations to dominate the outcome of your summer. 

Challenging The Narrative About Your Body

Challenging The Narrative About Your Body

As women, we are taught not to trust in our bodies. We are taught that there is more value in the way that we show up physically than anything that we could ever contribute otherwise. We are taught that taking up space in a room full of people should be vulnerable because of our lack of perfectionism and that we will never be good enough regardless of what our bodies do or don’t look like. But instead of always trying to change our bodies to fit the ever changing idealism, what if we dove into our abilities to accept our bodies without limitation?

There is a quote that reads, “It is not a dream body if it is a nightmare to maintain.” And as I think about this quote, I consider so many parts of the holistic being that are dismissed when we focus solely on our physical bodies. We substitute connection, joy, and so many other meaningful life experiences, in effort to move through life in a body that is valued by the outside world. What if instead of allowing societal expectations to influence our ability to find body acceptance, we worked to challenge our own definition of worthiness and approval?

Challenging the narrative you have about your body may not be easy, but it is possible. Being able to identify negative dialogue and then reframing it to something more neutral will help improve your mood or mindset about your body. 

Here is an example of a way to do this:

Trigger: Relapsing 

Negative thought- “I always mess up; I can’t even do recovery right. What’s the point? I am not capable of making positive changes.”

Neutral thought- “Recovery is not linear; I am allowed to make mistakes. I am going to work through this and move forward like I always do.”

Working towards body neutrality may feel painful, vulnerable, or unnatural. It may go against your initial instinct of changing your body to feel deserving of happiness. But instead of the vulnerability being a sign of weakness, what if instead, it is a token of bravery? Lean into the vulnerability that comes with challenging your current thought patterns concerning your body. 

You do not have to change your body to be worthy of love, acceptance, and unity. Give yourself permission to live a life that you love in the body that you were given. 

Finding the Balance Between Rigidity and Flexibility

Finding the Balance Between Rigidity and Flexibility

Throughout my life, many people have described me as a “go-getter” type of person. Although that may sound like a positive personality trait, I realized that my “go-getter” personality was infused with other, less helpful, habits such as being overbooked, overstretched, with high expectations for myself that were both overwhelming and unrealistic. I realized that the rigid thinking patterns that I was being praised for created patterns of avoidance and feeling inadequate regardless of what I had accomplished. I realized that although my intention behind the rigidity was to be the best version of myself, those same rigid patterns had inherently impacted my ability to grow as an individual and allow myself to live in the present moment.

As I reflected on my current thought patterns, I also explored the concept of flexibility. Flexible thinking embodies the ability to change direction and adjust to unanticipated circumstances. And although my rigidity served me in many ways, I knew that balance was what I needed to embrace the unpredictability and chaos that life throws at me. 

My experience in incorporating both rigid and flexible thinking patterns into my life got me thinking about how both rigidity and flexibility serve a purpose in recovery. The ability to balance the two incorporates the idea of a recovery mindset that is not possible when falling too close to one extreme. Being able to balance the two means having clear expectations and goals, while also being able to adapt when faced with unforeseeable circumstances. 

Here are 5 journal prompts that you can use to explore balance within your own life:

  1. How do I define success?
  2. What is the difference between feeling panicked and feeling prepared? 
  3. What is the first sign that I have become imbalanced? 
  4. What do I need to let go of that is out of my control today?
  5. What would my day look like if I were more present? 

Regardless of where you fall between rigidity and flexibility, there is always room for continuous growth towards where you want to be. 

Growth Can Feel Unfamiliar

Growth Can Feel Unfamiliar

The quote “there is no shame in admitting that you were previously speaking from a less informed place” really got me thinking about recovery and the mindset changes needed to embody a space that feels both foreign and full of uncertainty when working towards a place of healing. We often hear the phrase “healing isn’t linear”, and although that is absolutely true, there is much more to healing than what could ever be described as any specific trajectory. 

Getting stuck in one viewpoint, in one narrative, can inhibit your ability to view yourself as a holistic person with a story and background specific to you. Challenge yourself to gain information that will eventually create a broader narrative and aid in your self-confidence, power, and approach needed to influence growth and healing. Whether that means talking to a therapist, reading books specific to your needs, asking your support system for help, or engaging in open and honest self-reflection. And although growth can feel unfamiliar, there is no shame in acknowledging that your current mindset towards your body and/or food will hinder long lasting or attainable work within recovery. 

Broaden your narrative by challenging current unhelpful mindsets and reclaim your ability to navigate your own story. Don’t give your eating disorder the power to hold you back from uncovering new perspectives you could have about yourself, others, and your future. 

Colder Weather and Mental Health

Colder Weather and Mental Health

As the weather changes and winter begins, many of us find ourselves adjusting and staying indoors in effort to avoid the cold temperatures. Although there is comfort in that, there is also value in getting outside and honoring your mental health throughout the winter season. When the daylight becomes shorter and the temperatures drop, you may find yourself needing to challenge your current habits to create a healthier mental make-up throughout the season.

Find ways to celebrate winter and express gratitude for the season while it is here. Being in the sun increases the release of a hormone called serotonin in your brain that can aid in mood regulation and the regulation of your circadian rhythm. Making changes to your daily routine can assist you in avoiding a decrease in serotonin levels and a change in mental soundness.

Here are 5 things that you can do to explore honoring your mental health throughout the season:

  • Bundle up and get outside. Whether you go on a hike, engage in winter activities such as sledding and skiing, or take a walk around your neighborhood. 
  • Open your blinds and sit by the window. Enjoy the sun within the comfort and warmth of your home.
  • Keep your social relationships active and stay connected. Plan a get together with coworkers, friends, or family, and engage with your ability to connect throughout the season.  
  • Enjoy a warm beverage to celebrate the colder weather. Try the new holiday flavors and get a taste of the winter season.
  • Get on a sleep schedule that is compatible with your needs. Not getting enough rest hinders your ability to perform daily tasks and keep up with your mental and physical well-being. 

If you find yourself experiencing symptoms that are heavy and overwhelming as the weather changes, seek out a therapist that can support you in working towards a healthier mental make-up.