Hi everybody! We are Bisbee Hall and Loren Breiedenbach, the co-presidents of the Berkeley High School (BHS) Body Positivity Club. We took over this club with the intention of educating BHS students about self-love and strengthening the relationship between oneself and one’s body through body positivity practices.
We’d like to take a moment to acknowledge that the times we’re living through are anything but normal, and for that reason mental health has become an issue for many of us. All this extra time stuck at home can lead to unhelpful thoughts, which can affect how we perceive ourselves and our bodies. That said, here are some of our favorite tips and tricks to help maintain body acceptance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Find an activity to take up your time
It’s a common belief that we are only as good as our bodies look. This is FALSE! There is so much more to our worth under the surface. Taking the energy you spend thinking about and criticizing your body and channeling it into something you love is extremely empowering, as it teaches you how much more you have to offer to the world. Try painting, building something, running, or cooking. Have fun!
- Manage your media
We have infinite social media access right at the tips of our fingers 24/7. This sparks the flame for unhealthy body comparison, yet we don’t often discuss the reality behind these platforms. Remind yourself that what you see may have been altered, posed, or digitally transformed. And if you feel bad because of someone else’s account, slide on over to that unfollow button and give it a click. We promise you won’t lose anything from it!
- Treat yourself kindly and filter negative thoughts
If you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself, pause. Treat yourself as a friend; you would never put your friend down for how they looked, so why do it to yourself? You are special and should be treated as such. Maybe compliment your reflection, or talk kindly to yourself out loud. Be gentle with yourself, and remember that you are doing your best to manage life during a pandemic.
- Spend time with people you love
Although maintaining a positive body image is most dependent on a mindset of self-confidence, it helps to surround yourself with supportive people. Talking with friends and family can give you an outlet for the self-doubt and insecurities that are amplified during quarantine, and can remind you that your happiness exists outside of your appearance.
- Educate yourself
One of the best ways to challenge a negative self-image is to identify the root of the problem. Start learning about the body positivity movement, the Health at Every Size concept, and all of the myths that diet culture perpetuates. Examine how capitalism feeds off our insecurities and explore the work of body positive activists like Jameela Jamil and Michelle Elman.
COVID-19 has uprooted our lives and turned them upside down. Our world changes every day, and our bodies naturally change with it. Our weights will fluctuate and we might look different than we did in March. That is completely okay. Remember to take care of yourself and stay safe.
Bisbee and Loren