When it comes to loving our bodies, Many of us have some work to do. With these body positivity activities, loving the skin you're in will come naturally.
Why is it so hard to love our bodies?
From birth, we're taught what our bodies should look like. As women, we're told that skinny is pretty and chunky just isn't healthy or attractive. Actually, we can't be too skinny or we're called twigs. We must have just enough booty and breasts for the world to call us real women.
Our faces should be clear, smooth, and glowing at all times. We need perfectly shaped eyebrows and our nails should always be manicured. Oh, and we can't be too dark-skinned or too fair-skinned if we want people to find us attractive.
*INSERT HUGE EYE ROLLS HERE*
A lifetime of demands and expectations has lead to generations of women who just don't love their bodies as they should.
When I grew up, body positivity activities just weren't a thing. We dealt with the ridicule and still tried to love ourselves. We tried to find role models who looked like us. Thankfully, this is much easier to find in the age of social media.
However, young girls and women still struggle loving their bodies without conditions. Sadly, we still hesitate to post photos – even photos with our children in them. Social Media has had many positive impacts on humanity but it also puts us right in the ring with those we view as…
PERFECT. COMPETITION. FLAWLESS. CONFIDENT. PUT TOGETHER. NOT US.
Body Positivity Activities: How To Be Body Positive
The body positivity exercises listed below will encourage you to not only look beneath the surface, but to look at your body and see how wonderfully unique it is.
Scars. Stretch Marks. Moles. Birth Marks. Wrinkles. Veins.
All of this is beautiful because it's purely… you.
Believe it or not, I learned to love myself a lot more after having my son. How could I not appreciate a body that gave my child life? A body that nourished him and grew a healthy baby? A baby who birthed a child without medication and still had the strength to stay up for 72 hours straight!
Sure, I have loose skin now and my breasts aren't as perky as they were when I was 20. My hair is mostly dull and dry. My 31 year old skin still gets breakouts from time to time and I'm seeing some fine lines underneath my blue eyes.
ALL OF THAT IS OKAY. I still love my body.
After participating in these body positivity activities, I hope you'll learn to love your body, unconditionally, too. After all, loving your body is less about your physical health and more about your mental health.
1. Pamper yourself.
I know this sounds really cliché but I personally know how impactful a good pampering session is. When I shave my legs, deep condition my hair, and put on a face mask – I feel like a brand new woman afterward.
Pampering doesn't have to be expensive. You can do it all at home. Paint your nails, pluck your brows, give yourself a pedicure. Do the things that make your body feel worthy of time and attention.
2. Speak Positive Body Image Affirmations.
Body image issues start with your mind. By speaking body positive affirmations, you'll be speaking and hearing the things you need to hear for healing!
Can you believe the things we tell ourselves have a much greater impact than what others say to us? That's why positive body affirmations work. You're training your brain to say nice things to yourself. Which in turn, is training your eyes to see all those beautiful pieces.
3. Touch and compliment your body.
Touch your body in places you don't always like to feel or look at. Then, compliment your body parts. Talk to yourself as if you were talking to your best friend or your daughter. Don't you dare say a negative or harmful thing about your body.
Find The BEAUTY.
4. Wear clothes that make you feel confident.
Our clothing choices can be a big determining factor on how we feel about our bodies. If you're wearing things that don't fit correctly – chances are that you will not look at your body and see love.
Find clothing that is neither too big or too small. Sites like Stitch Fix offer personalized styling to help you try clothes before you buy them. This will help you and your stylist narrow down exactly what you like and what fits your body just right!
When shopping in a store, grab 3 different sizes (of each item) to try on. This will help you to find the size that fits you comfortably and will stop those negative body image thoughts from popping up.
Do you have a favorite shirt, dress, or jeans you love to wear? Buy them in a different color! Wear the things that make you confident and happy!
5. Make promises to your body.
Let today be the start of not breaking promises to yourself. Make a list of promises that you can and will stick to. Write them down or print them out. Here's a list of body positive promises to get your started:
- I will no longer insult you.
- I refuse to compare you to others.
- I'll treat you with love and respect.
- I'll nourish you with healthy foods and lots of water.
- I will keep you strong by remaining active.
- I promise to get enough sleep each night.
6. Draw a body outline and write down the things your body does for you.
This is an activity that many teachers and mothers use for to teach positive self image in children. Why not use this as a body positive activity for adults?
Visit Plant Love Grow for a great Body Image Worksheet!
7. Try something fun & new with your appearance.
There's something about about a new hairstyle or a new makeup trend that makes life fun. I am not saying to go dye your hair a wild color (unless that's your sort of thing). I'm just saying to have fun with your appearance. I bet you don't do that enough. Do you?
I know when my confidence or self esteem are lacking, the last thing I want to do is look at myself in the mirror. It's time that we change that, ladies.
Wear a jumpsuit for once. Master the winged eyeliner. Put false lashes on. Try a hairstyle that will make you look at yourself in every reflection. Just have fun with it!
8. Move in ways that your body loves.
Movement is key to a happy body and a happy body will equal a happy body image. When your body feels good – I bet you look better. Seriously, just try it.
Find a hobby you absolutely love to do – one that requires movement – and take a look at yourself after participating. Hobbies for body positivity activities can include:
- Nature walks
- Running Marathons for Charity
- Playing tag with kids
- Playing a sort
- Wrestling with the kids or your partner
- Mall walking or shopping with a little pep in your step
- Indoor trampoline parks
Obviously, you can come up with your own hobbies. Just find something your body enjoys doing. For example, I tried yoga and my body hated it. So, I take 30+ minute walks each evening with my son.
9. Confront yourself in the mirror – in a neutral manner.
Oh, the mirror trick. Except it's not a trick at all. I want you to look at your whole body in the mirror and comment on different things you see.
Here's the kicker: it needs to be in a neutral, non-opinionated manner. State the facts, as if you were a stranger. “Those arms are in great shape from carrying your child around. You have very thin hands. You have a head full of beautiful hair.”
State what you see and if you can compliment yourself while doing say – that's even better. This body positivity activity will help you to realize that your body is just a body. It isn't a character trait.
10. Eat things that make you feel good!
I'm not asking that you diet. In fact, I don't even want you counting calories or looking at anyone else's plate. Don't think of food as your enemy. I want you to think of the things that me you feel good when you eat them.
By now, you're thinking: Cake makes me feel great!
I know, trust me. Donuts are my weakness but do they make me feel good afterward? Realistically speaking – no. Things that are loaded with carbs and sugar typically leave me feeling tired and overly full.
Everyone is different. Maybe fresh fruit makes you feel incredible after eating it. I bet you don't feel guilty when you eat it either.
So, think about your mind and body when making choices with food. Ask yourself: Is this nourishing me? Am I proud to be eating this? How will I feel afterward? Is it really worth it?
11. Find something positive in every stranger's body.
I want you to visit a public, highly trafficked place to people watch. People watching has always been one of my favorite activities because I like to understand mannerisms.
However, this body positivity exercise will be specifically based on looks. I want you to find the physical beauty in every person you see on this day.
By doing this exercise, you'll start to notice how incredibly unique people are. I bet you'll even see a little bit of yourself in these strangers. By looking for all of these positives, you'll begin to teach yourself to do the same when you look in the mirror.
Also, if you get the chance – compliment those strangers. I bet it will make your day. Plus, I bet there are people watching you all the time and thinking of the beautiful things you're wishing to get rid of.
12. Refocus your energy on making your body what you want it to be.
All of the energy you've spent with negative thoughts and self-destructive phrases, could be redirected to making yourself better. Take advantage of these strong feelings by refocusing them on your body.
Use all of these body positive ideas to get your heart racing and the excitement flowing about how incredible you'll feel when you love your body to the fullest!
13. Scroll through social media without making judgements on looks.
I know, I just had you sit down and stare at people's appearances. Now, I want you to scroll through social media, as I'm sure you do often. This time, I want you to see beyond the looks. This exercise is especially great on Instagram, where appearance is key!
Read the captions. Try to find something deeper and more meaningful than the outward appearance. Doing so, will teach you to use social media more mindfully. Plus, it will take away the anxiety of appearing to be perfect on social media.
14. Really drill down on self-care.
I cannot express this enough: Self-care is pertinent. You need to really take control of your self care routine to get your mind in a place to start loving yourself from the inside out. Here are some help pages to get you started:
- 25 Self Care Quotes for Moms and Women
- 50 Self Care Ideas for Moms to Relieve Stress
- 30 Day Self Care Challenge & FREE Workbook
- 10 Ways to Invest In Yourself Without Spending Money
15. Let go of ALL unrealistic expectations!
Lastly, I want you to let go of any ideas you've had about how you should look. Write down the high expectations you've set for your physical self, then tear it up. Let it go. It's not healthy to hold onto.
Set goals that are attainable and don't doubt yourself. Most of all, don't ever give up on loving the body you see in the mirror.
Using these body positivity activities, you should find yourself being more comfortable with your body image.
One day, I hope you'll be thinking about who you were and who you are now. Eventually, you'll be strong enough to share the love and help other women to feel better about themselves.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with eating disorders, self harm, or suicidal thoughts, please reach out to a medical professional immediately. Visit Halfofus.org for more help.
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