How To Rock Your Bathing Suit This Summer
Summer is just around the corner, bringing with it golden hours, chilled white wine and the opportunity to wear less clothing. If you just pictured yourself in a bathing suit and had a mild anxiety attack, you are not alone.
“My “summer body” isn’t ready yet”
“I’ve gained weight since last year”
“I have a month until my vacation, I better clean up my eating”
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Yup, common conversation, all centred around collectively accepted toxicity. First of all, we’re humans, not bears coming out of hibernation. Also, where and what is “summer body”? Did we store it in the back of our closet with our sandals, or...? These are arbitrary fears that should have no place in your summer schedule! BUT...
I completely get it. I’m writing this on a flight back from Mexico where I spent an entire 5 days wearing a bikini, laying on a beach beside my boyfriend. Aaaand I didn’t think twice about what I looked like. This is BIG. Why? Because the same trip three years ago would have been hell for me. The same wonderful vacation would have been ruined with anxiety, incessant mirror checking and worrying that the buffet food I had eaten the night before had sabotaged my pre-vacation skinny efforts.
So what’s the difference between my bikini-mindset now, in comparison to three years ago? Well, I’m not going to lie, many hours of therapy… but also a few simple “thought-swaps” that I want to share with you! If the idea of wearing your bathing suit this summer induces any degree of panic, welcome to the club- No one is perfect when it comes to body image. But the following tricks and tips can help:
Buy a bathing suit that you actually like. Feeling good in your bathing suit can start with feeling good ABOUT your bathing suit. I used to buy only black bikinis- “black is slimming, black goes with everything”. I didn’t want to attract any unnecessary attention to my body with a bikini that was loud or eye-catching. But a sunny, seaside day is not a funeral. Buy yourself a vibrant and fun bikini to express your vibrant and fun self!
Create a beach outfit. Accessorize and make your bathing suit an entire “beach look”. Add scarves, hats, earrings, high heeled sandals, purses, lipstick, sunglasses, body henna. Anything that compliments your super fun, brand new bikini! I found that getting creative with my bathing suit ensembles took my mind off of my physical insecurities and helped immensely with my confidence levels on the beach.
View yourself as if you were your own best friend. Most of the criticism we direct towards ourselves and our bodies, we would NEVER even consider directing towards a friend. Would you care (or even notice) if your best friend gained a few pounds over the winter? Absolutely not. There are probably 100 reasons why they are your friend, none of which have anything to do with what their body looks like. Do yourself a favour and apply the same kindness and perspective to yourself.
Follow body positive accounts on Instagram. Social media is absolutely insidious when it comes to making us feel like shit about ourselves!! Stop following the fitspo, thinspo, yogi who spends all her time in a tropical place, sustaining herself off of mangos and coconut water. Trust me, her life is highly curated and most likely stylized by professional photography and sponsors. Instead, try following accounts like @chessiekingg, @iammelwells and @sophiegray. You are what you consistently feed your mind and there’s nothing more applicable to this statement than social media!
Confidence is everything. Discomfort and insecurity is physically noticeable by posture, facial expression and body language cues. It’s completely okay to realize you feel discomfort and insecurity. Both don’t just disappear overnight. Allow yourself time to feel and work through your blocks on your road to building sturdy self-confidence. However, it is immediately possible to stand up straight and smile. Before I started cultivating a body acceptance mindset, my breathing would be shallow and my body would be tense whenever I was in a bathing suit. Take a deep breath and drop your shoulders! This will make all the difference in the vibe you give off. The old “fake it, till you make it” saying holds true, especially when it comes to body language.
Focus on other things. Put on your bathing suit and don’t even look in the mirror before you leave for the pool. Be present with those you are with and what is surrounding you. Order a drink (or a kombucha) and laugh with your friends. Listen to a podcast. Play beach volleyball. Read a book. Make a sand castle. Collect sea shells. Occupy your mind with having fun and enjoying your summer, instead of worrying about tiny little flaws that no one but you notices!
Now go have a beautiful summer, you beautiful person.