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  • Writer's pictureJessica Piszker

Loving Yourself and Your Body Through a Pandemic

One thing is certain; change is hard.

The Coronavirus (COVID – 19) has led to unexpected changes and uncertainty for the past few months. We have experienced an unprecedented switch in our daily lives, and this can cause a roller coaster of emotions and take a toll on our mental and emotional state.

The pandemic has created a heightened amount of fear, stress, grief, and anxiety in many of us.

It is especially crucial during this time to give ourselves the same amount of empathy, kindness, and love we freely give to others.

During this time, you may be struggling with self-love, body image, self-confidence, etc. These feelings could be caused by the loss of a job, your gym is closed, a loved one being sick, a change in routine, and/or many other external factors outside of your control.

Sarah Dubicki, LMSW from Telebehavioral Health.US, opened up honestly about body image stating that "many of my friends, myself included, have struggled with body image throughout the pandemic. I think it has come from being at home, with little to do, compared to the busy run, run, run, lives we normally live. It meant we actually had to look at and saw ourselves more honestly than we may have during 'normal' life. The world feels chaotic and scary, but we shouldn't turn it around and project that uncertainty and fear on our bodies."

You might be thinking that this is easier said than done.

Luckily, there are healthy ways to show up for ourselves every day and give ourselves the extra boost of compassion we need.

Here are five tips to improve your overall image of yourself during these times:

Unplug/curate your social media feed

Social media is a highlight reel of what others want you to see. It can be especially hard to see during a global pandemic. If you feel that it is starting to take a toll on your mental health, it might be wise to unplug from your social platforms. Or, every time you see a post that makes you feel bad about your body, life, self, etc. hit the unfollow button (or mute their posts if you feel uncomfortable unfollowing).

Getting rid of outside noise will help you quiet your inner critic and avoid the downward spiral of comparison. Another tip, instead of following influencers who make you feel less-than, follow positive influencers who celebrate body positivity and share uplifting messages.

Focus on what your body does

We tend to focus on how our body looks rather than what they do for us.

Mentally, acknowledge what your body can do.

Examples: having a baby, being able to go on a walk, recovering from being sick (especially now), etc. After a few weeks of doing this, you will have a newfound respect for your body.

Talk to yourself like you're talking to a friend

If you catch yourself calling yourself dumb or tearing yourself apart when you look in the mirror, ask yourself: would I say this to my best friend? If you wouldn't say it to someone else or can't imagine someone else who you love saying those things to themselves, then why would you talk to yourself that way?

Do one positive thing for yourself every day

It would be best if you allowed yourself to find joy in the simple things in life. When you are feeling low, do something kind for yourself. Write a list of things you are proud you have accomplished.

Bonus tip: refer back to this list whenever you need a pick me up. Or, make your favorite meal and savor every bite. Or, call up a friend who lifts you up. Sarah said, "my friends and I have been doing zoom workouts to feel strong. It is something to do together and makes us feel better mentally and physically."

Practice gratitude

Gratitude is a way of cultivating happiness. This is a simple way to enrich life. Start the day off by saying three things you are thankful for or three things you love about yourself. This daily practice will lift your mood and self-worth.

Everyone copes with changes in life differently.

Take care of your mental health because it is just as important, if not more, than your physical health.

Remember to give yourself grace and love yourself through every stage of life!

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