Body image struggles can be especially challenging during the holiday season. Negative comments about our bodies, whether they come from within or from others, can be triggering and make what should be a joyful time feel extremely difficult. Choosing kindness and compassion for our bodies in a world that often promotes the opposite can feel like swimming against the current. If you’re grappling with body image issues, please know that I see you, and I hold immense compassion for your journey. Let’s take some time to explore strategies to support yourself in cultivating a positive body image during the holiday season.
- Set and Hold Boundaries: You have the right to establish and maintain boundaries when it comes to conversations about your body. If someone makes unsolicited comments, you can choose to opt out of the conversation. Politely assert yourself by saying something like, “I would appreciate it if you don’t comment on my body,” or “I’d rather discuss something else.” Using “I” statements, such as “I feel uncomfortable when comments are made about my body. Can we please change the subject?” empowers you to communicate your feelings while setting boundaries that promote your well-being.
- Practice Mindfulness: Throughout the holiday season, make it a habit to check in with yourself regarding your body image. Take moments to notice your thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, and any urges that may arise. Imagine unhelpful thoughts as passing trains and remember that you don’t have to board them. This concept, known as cognitive defusion from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, allows you to detach from unproductive self-criticism and practice self-compassion.
- Seek Additional Support: Don’t hesitate to reach out for additional support during challenging times. Schedule and keep appointments with your therapist, dietician, doctor, or psychiatrist. Having a support team in place can provide valuable guidance and encouragement. Additionally, create a list of safe people you can turn to when you experience a difficult body image day or find yourself in a challenging conversation.
- Holiday Mantras for Body Neutrality: During the holidays, consider embracing these affirmations to nurture your relationship with your body:
- “Choosing clothes that make me feel comfortable and authentic is an act of self-love.”
- “I don’t have to join in if others are shaming their bodies; I can choose kindness.”
- “Nourishing myself, getting enough sleep, and resting are essential self-care acts.”
- “My body benefits from three meals a day and snacks; providing sustenance helps me regulate my emotions.”
- “I am valued for reasons that have nothing to do with my body; I am more than my appearance.”
If you’re struggling with body image during the holiday season, know that you are not alone, and there is support available. Your journey is valid, and your feelings matter. This holiday season, remember that choosing to be kind to your body is an act of resilience and self-compassion. By setting boundaries, practicing mindfulness, seeking support, and embracing mantras that feel true to you and your experiences, you can navigate this season with a greater sense of self-worth and hope. I see you, and I am here to support you on your path to nurturing your relationship with your body.
Laura is deeply committed to supporting individuals on their journey to eating disorder recovery and has created a team of phenomenal therapists to do just that. At Anchored Counseling Company, you will find helping professionals who provide a nurturing atmosphere grounded in trust and acceptance while promoting body trust through a Health at Every Size (HAES) philosophy and a trauma-informed approach. Everyone at Anchoring Counseling Co. firmly believes in the inherent value of all bodies and offers a warm and compassionate therapeutic style. Their approach is centered around the idea that clients have the innate capacity to bring about lasting positive changes in their lives. To start working with someone, call our office today at 615.510.3797 or click here.
And before I forget! A couple of things…the book “Body Kindness” by Rebecca Scrithfield is one of my favorites when it comes to body image. Give it a read, and let me know what you think!
Affirmation of the Day:
“I am capable of choosing kindness to myself in this moment.”