Around this time of the year, as temperatures rise, many of us start to panic. We start studying our bodies in the mirror. We start nitpicking and grabbing at our skin. We spend hours in fitting rooms without buying anything. We spend hours in our closets, flinging clothes, swimsuits, everything on the floor. We spend hours blaming our bodies. We yearn to go into hibernation until the fall. Sometimes, we cry.

I’ve done all these things for years. But, today, instead of worrying about my “bikini body” this summer, I’m going to refocus. When body-bashing thoughts arise, and they will, I’m going to take a few deep breaths and focus on:

  • savoring little adventures with my family
  • looking up, and watching the ever-changing colors in the sky
  • feeling the sand between my toes
  • feeling the coolness of the water
  • wondering what the people across the ocean are up to
  • giving it all I’ve got during family dance parties (I think our daughter is already embarrassed of her parents….just kidding. She obviously loves it.)
  • savoring watermelon
  • savoring fresh seasonal salads
  • savoring chocolate chip ice cream with rainbow sprinkles
  • savoring all kinds of seafood
  • savoring the fresh air
  • watching my daughter experience so many firsts
  • looking for butterflies
  • reading beautiful, poignant sentences
  • decluttering
  • creating, writing, dreaming
  • thanking my body for what it can do. I’m amazed at how much better and stronger I feel just seven months after having a c-section. I was feeling so terrible in that first month that I didn’t think I could bend and lift a paper bag off the ground, let alone do push-ups, planks and shoulder presses. The body is absolutely incredible, and I am very grateful for its ability to heal and recover. I am very grateful for its resiliency.

I know that simply refocusing on something else isn’t so easy to do. But it might be a start. When body-bashing thoughts pop up, absolutely acknowledge them. At the same time, however, don’t give them so much weight and attention. Don’t give them so much power. Don’t let them dictate your days. Remind yourself that they are not facts.

It also might be helpful to write about your feelings. Write down why you’re anxious and upset. Write down the memories and experiences that come to mind. Write down anything that comes to mind. Get it out. Let the page absorb your pain—and maybe even leave some of it there.

Ultimately, remind yourself that you’ve got a lot of beauty in your life, and you’re choosing to focus your time, attention and energy on that. You’ve got important priorities to tend to. There’s simply no space, no room, not even a corner in your life, for panicking about bikini season; for berating your body.

So, considering your precious and finite time, attention and energy, what will you be focusing on this summer? What wonderful things will you see, savor and smell? How will you honor, respect and nourish yourself?

Photo by Leo Rivas-Micoud.