Worth Living Ambassador Emma Pratt
Hi everyone! My name is Emma and I am 23 years old from Ottawa, Ontario. Mental health has been a part of my personal life for about seven years. It had found its way into almost every part of my life when I decided why not invite it in fully and make it my job! I am a Social Service Worker with a passion for mental health. I try to do all that I can to create conversations surrounding mental health and to reduce the stigma that surrounds it. I like to live by saying “When we replace the I in illness with a We, it becomes wellness,” and that is my goal in life.
Five Tips for Bad Body Image Days
When I was 19 years old, I developed an eating disorder. I engaged in disordered behaviours for about 14 months, but when I look back on my life before my disorder I realize that I have struggled with poor body image and a negative relationship with food from a very young age. Thankfully, with the help of supportive family, friends, and professional support, I am now in recovery. Despite not engaging in any symptoms of my eating disorder anymore, I still have days where my body image is awful. There are days where I feel so poorly about myself that it gets in the way of my life. I know I am not alone in this and with time I have found a few things that help me during these rough days. So without further ado, here are my tips on how to survive a bad body image day.
1.Look in the mirror. On days when my negative self-talk is particularly loud, I subconsciously avoid looking in mirrors. Though what I have found is that when I stand in front of the mirror, I am able to realize that the negative things I am saying about myself are not true.
2.Be mindful of your thoughts. Do not shut your thoughts out. Do not tell yourself to ignore them. Listen to the thoughts and the self-talk you’re engaging in. Listen to it and challenge it. For example, if you find that you are constantly telling yourself that you are “too big” to wear a certain article of clothing, don’t immediately give into that thought. By shutting your thoughts out, you give power to them. When you listen to them and you challenge them, you have the power.
3.Sleep. I find that on days where I am more tired or run down than usual, my body image tends to be lower. If I wake up and can tell that my headspace and body image are negative, and I don’t have work or other commitments, you can bet that I’m going to roll over and go back to sleep. In the event that I have work or another commitment, I may find the time to take a nap at some point. The way my body feels often impacts my mind, listening to both is key.
4.Meditate. Meditation is not for everyone, I get that. But if it’s for you, then use it! I’ve recently been working on incorporating meditation into my daily life (it’s a work in progress). Since I have begun practicing, I have noticed that I am able to use the skills at other points in my life. I personally enjoy guided meditations. I find that having someone guide me through a ten-minute meditation makes it all seem a bit more doable. I have found that Gabrielle Bernstein’s guided meditations are super helpful to me. I downloaded them to my phone so I can have them at my disposal! On my bad body image days I like to listen to her “Forgiving Meditation.” Poor body image has effects on all parts of me, and I end up in a vicious cycle of hating myself and then beating myself up for being too hard on myself and then it repeats. This particular meditation really helps me to release the anger and hate that I put myself through and work towards forgiving myself.
5.STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHER PEOPLE. This one is probably the hardest, but also probably the most important. We live in a time where people are sharing many parts of their lives with the world. Due to this, it’s easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to other people; whether it is someone’s body or their life. These comparisons are so harmful. First of all, it can create the internal notion that we are not as good as someone else. Second, the things people share on social media are not things to compare. I remember seeing a quote somewhere that said “Stop comparing your blooper cut to someone else’s highlight reel.” This is exactly how I feel when it comes to social media. People share the exciting and happy parts of their lives. They share when they look the best. When you are feeling at your worst, or lower than average, I urge you to remember that social media is a Hollywood movie version of someone’s life, not something to which you should compare yours.
Body image is a tough thing and so is learning to love yourself. I would go so far as to say that it is nearly impossible to love yourself one hundred percent of the time, but in the moments you don’t I hope these tips can help you get through the tough days.