As we roll up to August, the Western hemisphere settles into holiday mode. Whether that means exotic travel or lazy days by the pool for you, it’s incredibly important to take some time for yourself.
Embrace your vacation look to help you relax, stay flexible and, above all, enjoy your time off!
Inevitably, Summer vacation also raises the question of the swimsuit. This may be an area of sensitivity for you. I want you to know that’s okay.
The last thing you want when you’re trying to relax is to feel self-conscious. But, for many of you, wearing a swimsuit does just that. In fact, I know some women who simply don’t go to the beach or the pool because it involves putting on a swimsuit — I was one of them.
Would you love to love your (bikini) body?
You might be surprised to know that I didn’t become comfortable with my body until after I had children. It’s pretty humbling to give birth. Not only did I create an entire person with my body, I also fed her almost exclusively for five months from that very same body!
Once I had kids, I realized my body is a thing of wonder.
For the first time in my life, I put on a bikini and wore it outside. The earth didn’t crack. My husband didn’t leave me. None of my friends even batted an eye.
I’ll be honest — it took me a couple days at the beach to work up to it. Then, I felt the warm breeze on my skin and played in the sand with my daughter and forgot about it entirely.
Unbeknownst to me, my husband snapped a picture of me at that moment. When I saw the image later (this was before cell-phone instant replay), I was shocked. I looked absolutely fine!
It made me sad to realize that for all those years, I had avoided a place I love (the ocean) because of something I told myself that was untrue (that I looked bad in a swimsuit). If I looked fine in a bikini after giving birth, I certainly would have looked fine in a bikini beforehand. All I could think was: what a waste!
Feeling Free in a Bikini
Honestly, I’m still not 100% with the bikini thing. I don’t wear one all the time — especially in the ocean. Maybe it’s just me, but I often seem to almost lose my bottoms when I’m wave-jumping. Unlike the joyful model here, I really don’t really enjoy that sensation!!!
However, I know that I can wear a bikini in situations where it just makes sense.
For example, it’s fun to wear a bikini when you’re hiking waterfalls because it works like a bra and undies, but you can go swimming! This also applies when canoeing or during any other outdoor adventure day. On the flip side, wearing a bikini to lounge at a beach- or pool-side restaurant, cafe or bar is awesome because it’s no big deal to be there all day or night with multiple trips to the toilet! This is huge!
This is what I want for you — to feel you are free to choose a piece of clothing simply because it works for your purpose.
How We Make It Happen:
Feeling comfortable in your own skin can be a process. If this is something you’ve been struggling with your entire life, you’re not going to just “get over it” or find the solution in one blog post. As it was for me, it may take a major life shift for you to change your perspective. For others, the work may be even deeper.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be rolling out a series of guest posts on this topic by Dr. Sharon Galor, “How to Accept and Rock Your Perfectly Imperfect Body.” If you love her approach, you may want to consider engaging with her on this issue. It could change your life!
Here’s how you can get started:
- Observe What You Tell Yourself. One of my favorite ways into this technique is to imagine saying what you say to yourself to your best friend. You might be amazed when you think about it this way! I certainly was. Most the things I was saying to myself would never leave my mouth applied to another person — not even someone I don’t like! It can be a deeply eye-opening exercise.
- Acknowledge How Your Self-Talk Influences Your Behavior. As I described above, there was a period in my life when I avoided the beach and the pool because I was not happy in my own body. I had a long list of what I needed to accomplish in order to be able to show up at a pool and be happy. Until I had my first child, I was unable to see how limiting and self-defeating these thoughts were for my life.
- Break the Cycle of Negative Thoughts. When you focus on the positive aspects of your body, you can actually begin to enjoy it! Especially after my knee injury this year, I am so grateful for my body. It takes me places. It helps me create new things. It makes it possible for me to help you. Without it, I wouldn’t be here!