Monday 13 May 2019

10 ways to be body-kind

Caitlin shares her top 10 tips to be more body kind and how we should start being nicer to ourselves and our bodies. 
- Caitlin

For a lot of us - myself included - the way we perceive our bodies can often be distorted, and the things we say about our appearances can unfortunately be very unkind sometimes. We really can be our own worst enemies, but it is possible change this! It’s time we all started being nicer to ourselves and our bodies. Of course it’s not an easy job or an overnight success, so to help you, here are some little tips you can use which will hopefully encourage you to view your body in a more positive light and appreciate it for how beautiful and wonderful it really is.

1. Appreciate how your body works
Our bodies really are miracle-workers. Just think of all the tasks and functions they perform every single day without us even having to worry - it’s incredible! We should be thanking our bodies for looking after us, and in turn, look after them. I think it’s also important to appreciate what our bodies can do and not what they can’t do.

2. Treat your body
When I think of ‘treat’, the image of eating chocolate brownies and watching TV springs to mind. For others, it might be cooking up a new recipe, having a duvet-day or going out for a run. Whatever it is that makes you feel good - go ahead and do it! You deserve to feel happy and your body will love you for it.

3. Use social media to your advantage
We all know the internet can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to body image. So, my tip is to ask yourself whilst you’re scrolling through social media: “is this making me unhappy?”. If the answer is ‘yes’, stop. Make sure you’re having a good time! Try following body-positive blogs like nonairbrushedme, bbcbodypositive and i_weigh.

4. Talk to people
Talking about body image can be quite daunting but it’s definitely worth it. Whether you’re sharing feelings about your own body with a friend or seeking advice from a GP or university support system, it’s good to start a conversation. You’ll not only be helping yourself but you may inspire someone else to be kinder to their body or even get help.

5. Set positive goals
Setting goals and targets is something we all do, and many of these may be body-related. The best kind of goals are the ones which aren’t based on restrictions and instead focus on things you can improve on rather than omit. A challenge can be great, but keep in mind that both your mental and physical wellness is your priority.

6. Understand that your mind and body are linked
I believe that the key to happiness is knowing that a healthy mind is a healthy body, and a healthy body is a healthy mind. They work together. Getting enough sleep, nutrition and exercise will make you feel happier, and if you feel good in yourself mentally, you’ll feel physically better too. As they say, it’s all about a healthy balance.

7. Celebrate your uniqueness
Your uniqueness is what make you special, and body diversity allows us to celebrate our individual differences. Comparing our “weird and wonderful” bodies with others can be fun and interesting but it should never be a negative thing or feel like a competition. Be confident and happy in yourself exactly as you are. The things that make you you are beautiful.

8. Take those compliments!
It’s easy to brush off or reject a compliment, especially if it’s about your body image. Though it may feel strange at first, actively try to respond positively and accept the compliment - and believe it too! Teaching yourself to do this is a great way to be body-kind and makes both the giver and the receiver of the compliment feel good.

9. Accept that your body changes
As we grow and develop, our bodies naturally change in terms of how they look and how they work. This is just part of life, and accepting that your body is different now to how it was ten years ago or even ten months ago can help you see yourself in a more positive light. In essence, don’t compare yourself to yourself!

10. Know that beauty is subjective
I strongly believe that we shouldn’t set our appearances against a certain standard of beauty because there isn’t one. It simply doesn’t exist. There is no one way we should look, no one way we should dress and no one way we should define ourselves. Create your own beauty and allow yourself to find happiness and strength within that beauty.

And there you have it - 10 ways to be body-kind. It might take time, but I hope these little tips help you feel positive about your body, as you deserve to.

Hello! I’m Caitlin and I’m a student at The University of York. I’m writing for Student Minds with the aim of encouraging people to be kinder to their bodies as well as their minds - and to have fun whilst doing it!

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