Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Positive Body Image and Some Simple Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem


We all go through times where we feel disconnected from our bodies, discouraged about our appearance, self-critical, or uncomfortable in our own skin.

Now is one of those times for me.

Since I moved, I haven't been practicing yoga as much, and my skin hasn't been the happiest. I've felt more tired and bloated. I've been out of touch with my own sensual energy, with feeling sexy. And, I often look in the mirror and think, ugh, and a cycle of negative, judgmental thoughts comes into my mind.



So, what can I do?

I've been here before, struggling with my body image, telling myself I need to be different than the way I am. 

I've wondered, am I beautiful? 

And I've had days where I tell myself I'm not enough, that I could be better, that I need to lose weight, that I need to be 'perfect.'


The more I read on social media, especially in the yoga community, the more I realize this is a common struggle.

How do we keep loving ourselves, even when we want to nit-pick every flaw and every mistake?

How do we separate our being and our purpose from how our bodies look?

I don't know about you but sometimes I associate my body image with my self worth. I've had thoughts like, 'I've gained weight recently, I'm not a good person,' or, 'I'm not a good yoga teacher if I can't choose a green smoothie over a glass of wine.'

The other challenge I've been facing is that lately I feel hypocritical. I often write about being compassionate toward yourself, believing in yourself, and accepting the beautiful body you're in. When I was teaching a lot of yoga, I would often speak to this during class, reminding students to be kind to themselves.

But lately, I struggle to do any of those things.

I figured today is a great day to face my fears and tell this part of my story, and also to make a quick list of things that help me on days when I'm being self-critical. 



Simple Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem and Reconnect with Your Body 

These are my go-to activities for days when I'm feeling self-critical, and need to let go.
  • Do a short workout. Breaking a sweat really makes a difference for my mood. This could be 20 minutes of yoga, a walk around the neighborhood, a 10-minute jump roping session, or some pushups and situps in the living room.
  • Soothing self-care. It's hard not to feel at least a little better after a hot epsom salt bath, giving myself a foot massage, rolling on my Dharma Yoga Wheel or foam roller, or lighting a candle and just taking a few deep breaths.
  • Write about it. Writing always helps! A lot of times I want to ignore what's really bothering me-- what I'm fearful about, or angry about -- but taking five minutes to write in my journal can help uncover the deeper issue I'm struggling with.
  • Drink extra water. Staying hydrated helps me stay positive, and gives me a reason to say, 'I'm choosing to be healthy today.'
  • Celebrate small victories. I like to make lists of things I have to be proud of that day.
Photo via @nolatrees.
  • Use social media very strategically, or not at all. Social media has a way of making me feel extra sh*tty sometimes. I compare myself to all the famous yoga teachers, the successful and thin ones, and the people I know who are winning at life getting married and having babies and going on tropical vacations :) So, on days like today, I either take a break from Instagram and Facebook (easier said than done), or indulge my social media habit strategically. Lately I look at posts on Instagram from Rachel Brathen (@yoga_girl) or Dana Falsetti (@nolatrees), and that's it. Their posts are uplifting and real, and filled with loving kindness. I also follow a private group on Facebook started by a local boudoir photographer, and I love her posts about positive body image and the sense of supportive community from the women in the group. It's also nice to see that other women struggle with the same stuff that I do!
  • Wear a pair of sexy underwear. OK, I know this sounds like a silly thing to do, but it can help remind you that you're sexy. Maybe this even leads to some fun evening plans (solo or with your partner) which can boost your mood even more. Oh, and if you have boudoir photos, be sure to look back on those!!
  • Make a smoothie. Smoothies have a way of making me feel good about myself, plus they are a nutritious way to boost your energy levels. I love adding spinach.
  • Do something else. So, you're sitting there obsessing over how you look, what you ate, etc... just stop, and spend time doing something else. Sometimes I have to do this several times, just re-direct my energy until I land on something positive. It can be helpful to take a lion's breath, brush off my arms and legs to 're-set' my physical energy, or turn on music. I also love to spend time in nature or go to a coffee shop and read.

I'd love to hear from you, too-- what helps on days where you need a boost to your self-esteem?

Wow... it really feels good to get that off my chest! Thanks for reading along, loves, and for your continued support. May we keep encouraging each other, being kind to ourselves, and being honest about it on days when we struggle. 

Namaste.

PS, more posts on this topic:
On ways to feel pretty, and remember your self-worth.
Self love is powerful.

2 comments:

  1. Good list! Really like the last item: do something else. Removing yourself from the situation is best way to get a different and probably healthier perspective. Thanks ��

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    1. Thanks, Ellen! Glad it was helpful. Much love to you. Namaste :)

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