5 Daily Rituals to Sustain Body Positivity — Because You’re Worth It

Jacqueline Whitty

The term “body positive” is thrown around everywhere at the moment, and although its existence is undeniably important, the frequency in which it’s used can sometimes make us feel as though it’s supposed to be easy.

But feeling positive about your body can be really challenging. It takes unlearning all the ideals that we’ve been fed through pop culture, the media and societal pressures that we’ve felt through crucial developmental periods of our lives, to see our bodies without a harsh critical eye.

Sometimes, when I look in the mirror, I see a beautiful woman, rich with curves, cellulite and stretch marks and I feel blessed to exist in such an incredible form. Other days, I see a bloated tum, boobs that are too big and fat in places I don’t want it to be. In those moments, I think of the ideal… the version of myself that would be void of imperfections. But I don’t think she’d be happy.

Although we’re still surrounded by pressures coming at us from all angles, thankfully, we’ve entered into a time in society where our “ideals” are becoming more inclusive.

It’s not completely wild to see a size 14 model on the cover of a magazine or walking down a runway. It’s not shocking to see cellulite in a swimwear commercial, and we don’t criticise people’s bodies in the media anywhere near as much as was considered normal during the late ’90s and early ’00s.

More often than not, we see beauty as fluid and we see representation to be inspiring and important. Especially as women, it’s so important that we get behind the celebration of all bodies and change the narrative of strict expectations that women before us had to fit within.

That being said, everyone has days where feeling good about their body doesn’t come easily, and we have to constantly put in the work to change the discourse for our own mental health, as well as for all the bodies that come after us.

Here are five ways you can help to sustain your body positivity daily, especially on those days that feel tough.

1. Focus on what you love about your body

You might be having a bad body day. Maybe you’re bloated or you have a headache or you’ve seen a photo of yourself that you didn’t like. That’s okay. Acknowledge how you feel and allow yourself to feel a bit sh*t about it.

Once you’ve acknowledged those thoughts, try to focus on what you love and appreciate most about your body. You could grab a pen and paper and write them down, you could sit in front of your mirror and point them out to yourself, or you could just sit and meditate on it.

These things don’t have to be physical or aesthetic. They can be things like “I love how my body bounces back after sickness” or “I love that my body allows me to express myself through dance” or even “I appreciate that my body has looked after me through all the ups and downs of my life so far”.

Aesthetic things can help sometimes too. Focusing away from the part of your body that you’re feeling negative about, you could appreciate that your eyes change colour with the seasons, that your skin is feeling extra smooth or that you love your new tattoo. It could be anything, but once you start thinking that way, I guarantee you’ll feel better.

2. Dress yourself up

Even if you have nowhere to go, dressing yourself up is a form of self-care that never goes out of style. There’s some form of creative expression that comes with treating your body and face like a canvas, where you can be whoever you walk to be just with a cute outfit, some makeup and a hair care. It’s truly an unbeatable feeling.

Maybe you feel like experimenting with some new makeup products, or you’d like to try curling your hair in a different way? Maybe you’ve got heaps of clothing you haven’t worn in a while and you’d like to experiment putting different things together to make outfits that feel entirely new, or maybe you just want to walk down to shops looking fabulous.

One of my favourite dress-up activities – yes I am a tween and I don’t care – is to dress yourself up all glam and have a photoshoot at home. Don’t let all that iPhone camera technology go to waste, queens!

3. Surround yourself with people that celebrate all bodies

We criticise ourselves enough. We don’t need the people around us to bring any extra negative energy.

If you have friends or family that body shame themselves or you, well first of all, we’re sorry. Such personal, disrespectful criticism can be truly painful and damaging in ways that are not always evident. Regardless of who they are, distancing yourself from comments like these is truly beneficial for your state of mind and the way you think about bodies. You can gently remind people of how to speak about bodies appropriately, or you may find it easier to avoid the topic with them entirely: whatever works for you.

Remembering that people who put you down are usually doing so out of their own insecurity and unhappiness, is important.

But even on social media, it’s important to surround yourself with a body positive community. Follow some amazing inspiring models like @ashleygraham @palomija @charlieannmax @alvaclaire who are making waves in the world of high fashion in the beautiful bodies they were born with. It may sound small, but scrolling down your Insta feed and seeing body types you relate to being represented really helps with your daily mindset.

4. Avoid Band-Aid solutions

Yes, we’re talking about diets. Oh, and exercise.

Eating well and keeping physically active are undoubtedly good for you, but you should never go into doing either to try and “fix” your body because you’ll never get the results you want.

There are absolutely eating habits and exercises that can help individuals to achieve extremely health bodies, but you’ve got to do it with the right attitude. The best way to go about it is to really find what it is that is making you unsatisfied with your body.

For example, if you’re feeling bloated often, look into the foods your eating and see if you can cut out any foods that might add to that sensation. Things like beans, eggs and kale are just a few foods known to create bloating. You could also try to snack throughout the day, or not eat too close to dinner to avoid feeling ‘gluggy’.

Similarly with exercise, only do it because you want to feel better, not look better. Find a form of exercise that you enjoy, and do it a little every day, and understand that everyone is different. Personally, I hate going to the gym, but I love Latin dancing. When I’m unable to train, like during lockdown, I look for Latin classes on YouTube and cha cha cha until my hips stop working.

5. Connect with your body

It’s like any relationship really, it needs constant attention.

You can connect with your body by meditating. Even if it’s just a 10 minute meditation before bed or first thing the morning, meditation encourages you to notice your body and sit with it, which can be super beneficial for a positive relationship. Even practices like yoga and Pilates have elements of meditation and connectivity, and can be super helpful.

Connecting with nature can also help you to feel more aligned with your body. We are a part of the world and we often forget how beautiful it is. When was the last time you dangled your feet into a rock pool, stood silently in a forest or watched a glorious sunset?

Connecting with nature can not only clear you mind of the negative thoughts you may have had throughout the day, distracting you from any body criticisms, but it also reminds you that you’re part of something much bigger than yourself. It’s a great reminder to show gratitude.

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