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How to stay body positive during COVID-19

Learning to love ourselves and our body is important, but changes to the way we live may have an impact on how we feel


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in news


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Body positivity and how we feel within ourselves can be linked to our overall wellbeing and self-esteem. When big changes happen to our lifestyle such as the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, it can have an impact on our wellbeing and how we feel about ourselves. Body positivity and body image is one area where people may struggle during this time.

What is body positivity?

Body positivity is about learning to accept ourselves and other people for who we are, no matter our shape or size. It’s about realising that your worth should not be measured based on how you look. It’s important that we can feel good about our own body image but also learn to encourage others to feel positive about themselves and to help fight discrimination based on how people look.

Here are some ways to stay body positivity while spending all your time indoors during this pandemic.

Being kind to your body

For many people, exercising is a great way to look after our physical and mental health, and it can help us to feel good about ourselves. With the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, it’s likely that your normal routine and the way in which you look after your body has changed. With gyms and workout classes being closed due to social distancing, you may not be able to exercise the way you usually would have. Although there are plenty of options for online workouts that you can do at home, try not to be hard on yourself if you feel you aren’t doing as much physical exercise as before. In the current situation, it's important that we focus on our overall wellbeing, especially our mental health and how we feel rather than focusing on how we look and losing weight. Even getting out for a short walk in the fresh air really helps your wellbeing. Focus on how you will feel after doing something rather than if it will change how you look, and try to have some self-compassion.

Be kind to yourself

Take time to notice or even write down the things you do like about yourself. Include some of the qualities that you like other than your physical appearance and celebrate your uniqueness. Even adding one thing to a list each day can help you to focus on the positives and encourage you to be kinder to yourself.

Being aware of what makes you feel good rather than how you look

Most likely you are out of your normal routine at the moment. This can sometimes mean we stop doing the little things that we would have normally done that allow us to feel good about ourselves. For example, we are less likely to dress up if we’re staying at home all day. If dressing up is something that makes you feel more confident and is something you enjoy, then make a point to get dressed up every now and then, even though no one will see you. Let the motivation for doing something be for how you feel rather than how you will look. The same goes for exercise - try to be active because it feels good, rather than trying to achieve an ideal weight or shape.

Social media and body positivity

It can be difficult, even during normal circumstances, not to compare ourselves and our lives to other people online. Given that most of us have to spend a lot more time inside due to the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) restrictions, we are probably spending a lot more time online as well. Think about how spending time online makes you feel. Many of us are using social media to keep in contact with friends and family at this time which is great for our wellbeing and hopefully makes us feel connected. We may also be spending more time scrolling through social media, following different accounts and keeping up to date with what others are doing.

Be aware of the content in your newsfeed. Does it cause you to compare yourself to others? Do you wonder how much time they are spending on exercise or what food they are eating? If you are having these thoughts and it is causing you to feel bad about yourself and your body then it might be a good time to evaluate the people you follow. Making sure the people you follow have a positive influence on what you think or how you feel is really important. Maeve, our volunteer, has shared her experience of doing a social media spring clean.

Feeling overwhelmed or anxious about the current pandemic?

This situation is completely new to everyone involved and it is normal to feel worried or anxious about what is going on. Following the Government’s instructions on how to stay safe and help slow the spread of the virus, can help to make you feel more in control.

If you feel overwhelmed by the current situation and need someone to talk to, our anonymous, 24 hour text line is always open. You're worth talking about and we're here to listen and support you.

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Published April 9th2020
Last updated August 11th2020
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.
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