A bad body image day usually entails not liking the way your body looks, regardless of if you have put in the hard work to really love yourself. Maybe you started having negative thoughts about your physique when you woke up this morning to find that you were bloated and your favorite pants were too tight or perhaps a mean comment from a parent or friend came back to haunt you.
"Your body image is what you think you look like to others, and it is based on both social expectations and personal experiences," body image expert Emily Lauren Dick explains.
She recommends that when you're having a lot of negative thoughts about your body, "you to step into them so you can understand them better and take steps to feel better in your skin!"
Keep reading for four ways you can do just that.
Wear Something Fun — And Comfy
When you're feeling down on yourself, it is tempting to deck yourself out in black. Food and eating psychology coach Josie Buck says that this is "borne out of toxic advice, no doubt rooted in diet culture, that black is the most flattering color."
Instead of wearing the dark color on bad body image days, Buck purposefully wears bright colors. So, next time you're not feeling yourself, look in your closet for something that makes you happy!
Additionally, Dick also suggests wearing clothes that are comfortable. There are many reasons for this: wearing clothes that are tight or small can make you feel more ashamed of your body, affect your blood circulation and even cause skin irritations.
Psychologist Laura Griffith Machado simple says, "Wear clothes that help you forget about how you feel about your body and make it easier to focus on life."
Don't Play The Comparison Game
One of the worst things you can do when you are feeling bad about yourself is to scroll through social media and begin playing the comparison game.
"Think of people in real life or on body-positive social media or celebrities who have bodies that are not reflective of the societal ideal but who hold themselves in confidence and whom you admire," Machado says.
Engage In Self-Care
When you put on your favorite pants and they won't button, you may think punishing yourself is a good idea — but it's actually one of the worst things you can do, as your body deserves respect and love. So, when you are feeling down, find some self-care activities to engage in.
You can even get really creative — the activities don't have to all revolve around your body. Dick says self-care is "anything that you can do to improve your well-being."
Writer Iris Goldsztajn adds, "Whether it's journaling, spending time with friends, taking a bath, or meditating there are plenty of ways to practice self-care that have nothing to do with your appearance."
Write A Thank You Note To Yourself
One final piece of advice from Machado is to thank your body. She says to remember everything your body has done for you so far — like that your heart has kept on beating since you were born or how all of your body parts function flawlessly to help you thrive.
"Take some time to think of every single thing your body does right," she says. "And thank it."
Buck suggests going one step further and actually writing a thank you note to your body. Last year when pandemic restrictions eased in her country, she wrote this note: "Dear body, thank you for getting me through the pandemic unscathed and healthy."
And if you don't like to jot things down, no biggie — why not simply say "thank you" to your body out loud? It may seem silly at first, but praising your physique will shift your attitude from disdain to gratitude.
It is important to remember that when you love your body — and refuse to listen to the bad-body-image voices in your head — you are committing a radical rebellion against a culture that says you have to look a certain way in order to feel good about yourself.
And when you rebel in this way, you are setting the stage for others to feel good about themselves, too. As someone once said, "Loving yourself is the greatest revolution."