Every Monday features a tip, activity, inspiring quote or some other tidbit that helps boost your body image, whether directly or indirectly — and hopefully kick-starts the week on a positive note!
Got a tip for improving body image? Email me at mtartakovsky at gmail dot com, and I’ll be happy to feature it. I’d love to hear from you!
“It is so easy to get bogged down by our internal patterns of negative thinking. Those circuitries are so engrained. But shifting the focus to gratitude and connection helps remind me that, ‘Hey, the mirror really has no hold over the reality of my contentment.'”
These are the wise words that Julia, who blogs at Feed Me Daily, emailed me recently. She reminded me of the importance of staying connected with our loved ones, with the world. Because when we focus on thinness, on restricting our calories, on nitpicking at our bodies (and others), we forget.
Staying connected brings us back to earth. It reminds us to remember and to focus on what’s really meaningful in our lives: people who support us and make us laugh; activities that fulfill us and build us up instead of tearing us down. (For instance, dieting is a good way to tear yourself down.)
When we’re knee-deep in negativity, again, it’s easy to forget about the truly meaningful things in our lives, of what really makes us happy. Visual reminders are a great way to help us remember.
For instance, Julia created a collage with photos of her friends and put it up on her bathroom mirror. (Don’t you love that?) This way every time she looks in the mirror — when possible insecurities can come out — she gets an instant reminder of what’s important in her life. (And I bet those friends don’t care at all about her appearance either.)
Here are a few other ideas of visual symbols to use and ways to stay connected:
- Wear one piece of jewelry that represents someone close to you. For instance, I always wear a bracelet from my boyfriend along with another bracelet and ring from my parents. Every day. I also never take off my dad’s chain. (He never did either.) Any time my thoughts start getting negative, I touch his chain and look at the other pieces, and remind myself of what matters.
- Surround yourself with important photos. I work from home, so I’m at my desk quite a bit. That’s where I keep several photos of my grandma and my parents.
- Send notecards to your loved ones. Spread the gratitude and love.
- Schedule in phone dates. That’s what my friends and I often do. Instead of playing phone tag, we usually agree on a time and day to talk over the phone.
- Use Skype with family and friends. This is the best thing to do with young ones.
Staying connected to the world reminds us of what’s genuinely vital in our lives, and helps us put things into perspective. It also ensures that we don’t isolate ourselves, because that’s when the inner critic can be especially loud and vicious. And it means we can be there for others, too.
How do you stay connected? How will you remind yourself of your connection?