With the arrival of summer in the northern hemisphere, we are greeted by warmer weather, longer days, and more time to spend outdoors. Often this involves visiting the beach, days by the pool, hiking, and moving our bodies more. While all of these activities can bring a lot of joy, they can also remind us of personal insecurities about our physical appearance. When we feel a wavering sense of confidence in ourselves, it can make us feel unworthy of enjoying all of the things that summer brings.
Wherever this post finds you today, remember that you have the power to change habits and to shift the relationship you have to your body. Here are five tools to help you tackle vulnerable moments with courage and head into summer feeling your best.
Redirect Your Thoughts
The thoughts we have about our own worth and value are often the most powerful. While it can feel like others immediately notice our flaws, our thoughts can give power to whether or not this is valid. Lead by example and show that personal insecurities don’t define us or make us unworthy of joyful experiences. When you find yourself encompassed by insecurities, try repeating short mantras to yourself to change a stream of negative internal dialogue. If you catch yourself saying something negative about yourself, try starting a simple phrase that you can repeat. Start a sentence with “I am…” and fill in the blank with a word you connect with such as; “I am worthy,” “I am capable,” “I am enough.”
Our thoughts direct the story we believe about ourselves. These mind games can work both for and against us, depending on the situation. We can remind ourselves each day of the positive choices we are making for our mental, physical, and emotional health, which can serve as a reminder of the decisions we make that are in our best interest.
One approach to cultivating feelings of well-being is through gratitude. Gratitude requires taking a moment to appreciate something you notice around you. Beginning this internal dialogue grounds us in the present moment and can guide us to making more mindful decisions. If your thoughts don’t always immediately feel positive, that is okay. Practicing being aware of your thoughts is the first step in making more mindful choices. Until gratitude becomes a natural part of your routine, you may have to remind yourself frequently to notice and direct your thoughts.
Summer presents many opportunities to move your body more. Getting outside and moving your body in different ways is a great way to challenge physical fitness and mental awareness. Exercise is a time to connect with our bodies. Exercise can help boost self-confidence and positive body image, stave off stress, and help alleviate bouts of depression. Variety in your exercise routine challenges different facets of your physical health and can help prevent injuries. Summer is the perfect time to change up your routine and enjoy the many benefits of physical activity. Prioritize time outside by taking walks or runs outside, biking, swimming, hiking, or getting involved in a sport.
Keeping yourself nourished this summer is essential to your health. The warm season brings an abundance of nutrient-rich fruits and veggies. Summer produce is diverse and widely available. Summer-month produce naturally promotes hydration like melons, berries, and water-rich vegetables. Use the summer as a time to try different ways to enjoy your vegetables. Fire up the grill, make some fun summer vegetable dips, or combine fruit and vegetables into a summer salad. If you are looking for some guidance and inspiration, try an N4L meal plan. Our seasonal produce is grown on our regenerative farm. Each meal plan has a minimum of six servings of fruits and vegetables. Check out the meal plans here.
Recognize Areas of Growth
Finally, remember that just because at this moment your body may not be exactly the way you would like it to feel or look, focus on all that you can do. Try to see moments where you are hard on yourself as an opportunity for growth and a space to welcome change. Rather than focus on all the things we want to change, take notice of things you can change, and begin prioritizing how you will create change. Reflect and ask yourself questions like “how can I create this change?” “what factors are influencing my desire for change?” and “is my desire for change based on what events are taking place in my life, or simply a change that I feel internally?”
Changes can present an opportunity to know ourselves better as we reflect and seek ways to feel healthy and empowered to act on all of the things we desire in life.
This summer, we should challenge ourselves to find ways to connect more with ourselves. Use this summer as a time to better your relationship with yourself by creating healthy habits, positive self-talk, and taking the time to better understand yourself. Sometimes rebuilding this relationship with ourselves is not easy. Remember that it is essential to growing and developing. Our actions can always be modified and bring us closer to the people we hope to be this summer and beyond. While this journey may start by taking the time to notice our thoughts, we also have tools to put into action each day to align our visions of what we hope we would feel to our actual experience. When we feel down about what we are lacking or where we think we should be, remember that change can require new perspectives and patience with ourselves.