Three Ways to Navigate Body Image Concerns During the Summer

Today we have a post from Hannah Wise, one of our Master’s Level Interns. Hannah is a compassionate therapist at Anchored Counseling Co., dedicated to helping individuals reconnect with themselves and their bodies. She values empathy, authenticity, and vulnerability in her therapeutic relationships, aiming to create a safe and collaborative space for healing and recovery. Hannah believes in the inherent beauty and worth of all bodies, emphasizing their empowerment in overcoming daily challenges.

Specializing in eating disorders, body image concerns, women’s issues, trauma, self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and OCD, Hannah employs a variety of therapeutic approaches. She is proficient in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Somatic Experiencing, mindfulness, and family therapy, tailoring her methods to meet the unique needs of her clients.

Hannah is deeply committed to walking alongside her clients on their journey of reconnection and self-discovery, offering her expertise and support every step of the way. We hope you enjoy today’s post from Hannah!

If you struggle with negative body image, the summer can be an especially difficult and triggering time. Diet culture tells us that our bodies during summertime should be thin, toned, and tan. There is so much pressure that accompanies this, and putting on a bathing suit or wearing less clothing can feel distressing, confusing, and hopeless. Here are three ways to navigate body image concerns during the summer.

It is not your fault that you feel the pressure to change your body. These messages are all over social media and exist in the conversations among our friends and family. It can feel impossible to get away from the idea that we must look a certain way, especially in the summer. However, this does not mean we are worthless or hopeless. In this post, we’ll discuss three ways to navigate body image concerns during the summer and I am also going to give you some practical tips to navigate the pressure of achieving the summer body and how to manage any hard feelings that come up during this time of the year. 

Reduce negative media consumption: We spend so much of our time consuming media. Just check your screen time on your phone-I guarantee you it’s higher than you think. One of the best ways to reduce constant reinforcement of harmful messaging is by spending less time on social media. I even challenge you to go a step beyond this by unfollowing any celebrities or influencers, macro coaches, and self-proclaimed fitness gurus who promote a thin body ideal. This messaging is harmful both mentally and physically because it hurts our self-esteem and often leads us to engage in behaviors that aren’t healthy or sustainable for our bodies. Luckily, summer makes it even easier to take this step because so many new activities, especially outdoor activities, open up during the summertime, giving us fulfilling new ways to spend our time. This leads me to my next tip about being grateful for what summer brings. 

Be grateful for what summer brings: Summer is such a wonderful time for so many reasons. The weather is warm and inviting, we usually have more free time, and there are more opportunities to travel and see loved ones. Reminding ourselves about what we love about summer is essential in helping us shift our mindset around this time of year. Dreading summer because you don’t have your ideal body prevents you from being excited about that beach trip you’ve been excited about all year. Skipping out on a pool day with friends out of fear of them seeing your body leaves you isolated. It’s important and gratifying to lean into summer and all of the joy it can bring. No doubt it is difficult to have this mindset shift. My next tip will help you practice this; in the meantime, I encourage you to pause now or when you finish reading this blog post to jot down a few things you love about summer. Keep this list with you to refer to when you are having a bad body image day, which will happen at some point and that’s okay! The point is to continue living our lives to the fullest despite negative body image trying to pull us down. 

Practice radical acceptance: My last tip is to practice radical acceptance. Honestly, this takes practice, but it is one of the most useful tools in combatting negative body image. Radical acceptance means being okay with our bodies however they look and feel. It does not mean we have to love or even like our bodies. Rather, it is a conscious choice to accept the way it looks, feels, and moves. It stops us from ruminating about or bodies or pulling back from people and activities we love. In practice, this could look like noticing a negative thought you are having about your body and letting it float past you like a cloud then reminding yourself that you accept your body for how it is. If this feels like a daunting skill to develop on your own, I recommend reaching out to a mental health counselor to assist you. You don’t have to navigate this battle or any other on your own.  

If you would like to learn more about combatting negative body image in the summertime, I recommend checking out @summerinnanen on Instagram. She has some great tips on body image support, especially in the summertime.

Finally, I want to leave you with a mantra to repeat to yourself when your body image is holding you back: “My body is the least interesting thing about me.”

You got this!

Hannah Wise 

We hope you found Hannah’s insights on three ways to navigate body image concerns during the summer helpful. If her message resonated with you, this could be the perfect time to take meaningful steps toward your healing and peace. To initiate your work with Hannah, please feel free to call our office at 615.510.3797 or click here to learn more.

Anchored Counseling Company is a a group practice specializing in the treatment of anxiety, depression, body image concerns, eating disorders & disordered eating, substance use, trauma and PTSD, and spirituality in Brentwood, Tennessee and serving the greater Nashville, Tennessee area. We are easily accessible for clients living in Franklin, Tennessee and Spring Hill, Tennessee. 

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