Six strategies to deal with body image problems in the pandemic

Covid-19 and the lockdown period has brought with it a whole host of body image & confidence related issues. For many mums, this period has been especially challenging, with children at home and the roles switching between trying to be a mum, a teacher and in many cases trying to go to work at the same time. Many women have felt a loss of identity and a subtle pressure to conform to traditionally “feminine” roles and norms.

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Combine this with reduced physical activity, increased screen time which exposed us to many more images of perceived body ideals through the media, lack of sleep due to anxiety, more focus on how we look due to the demand for zoom/Skype meetings and the constant self-improvement messages from the media and we have a recipe for a body confidence breakdown.

As we move tentatively closer to easing restrictions, perhaps we need to ease the restrictions we place upon ourselves.

Follow these 6 top strategies for boosting your body image and building body confidence

  1. Remember that “fat” is not a feeling! When you find yourself in the throes of body image anxiety, remember that fat is not a feeling. Place your hand over your heart, close your eyes and take a moment to identify the emotion that you are actually feeling. Are you feeling anxious, exhausted, out of balance, or longing for some down time? Naming the feeling means that you can begin to manage it. This simple exercise helps to bring you back into the moment and helps to ground you when you are tempted to judge yourself negatively.
  2. Hug your negative feelings. Although it might seem contradictory to welcome or hug a negative feeling, it actually helps to diminish their power. Imagine you are opening your arms out to give a good friend or loved one a hug and then fold the feeling into your chest as you embrace it. Breathe into the feeling and say in your head, “It’s all ok, thank you for being here. I’ve heard you now and you’re safe.” No negative feeling can remain if you are not resisting it. This simple exercise can really help you to reclaim your feelings of happiness and inner peace. Enjoy!
  3. Reclaim your inner wild woman. For many mums, lockdown has caused them to feel a loss of their own identity as life has revolved around the home. It can be easy to get stuck in the same routine of wearing comfy clothes and doing the same things every day. Imagine for a moment that your life is free from chores, tasks and any burden. What are you feeling, doing, thinking and experiencing? See an image of this “you” in your mind and take one action every day that would express your inner wild woman.
  4. Write a “Thank you” letter to your body. Write a letter to your body thanking her for everything she has done and experienced during the pandemic. Be as detailed as you can. Note down all the ways in which your amazing body has coped with the changes, stresses and experience of lockdown. Read it once and then reply to the letter in a few days’ time from your body’s perspective. This helps to forge a positive connection between you and your body.
  5. Every day, ask the question, “How wonderful can things get?” This simple little question primes the mind to go looking for answers that show you just how wonderful life can be.
  6. Hold your own hand and stroke it gently as if you were calming someone you loved very much. This loving self-soothing exercise helps to calm you whenever you are feeling disconnected from your body and caught up in stress. The power of touch (and self-touch) is vital in producing those feel-good chemicals that soothe and restore our sense of feeling loved.

I am a life & body confidence expert, coach and author of Romancing your body: How to fall deeply, passionately and wildly in love with your body and your life!

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