The season of the summer bod is upon us. For many of us, the transition from winter layers and covered limbs to baring our pasty legs in skirts and sandals can be slightly anxiety-inducing. These feelings are, of course, heightened by the bombardment of fitness fanatics and clean-eating enthusiasts taking to social media to post about their summer bods. This can be particularly difficult for women given society’s pressure on them to conform to certain body shapes - especially when wearing bikinis. Cue the comeback “How to have a bikini body: Have a body and put on a bikini”. In this article, we’ll talk about how these far-fetched summer body expectations make us feel and how to stay body confident.
Females dominate social media
We understand that men do feel pressure to have the incredibly difficult to achieve and sustain “Men’s Health’ body. But typically the pressure on women is greater. We grow up with the message that we’re valued for our appearance. Plus, the coining of the term Dad Bod in 2015 and its broad acceptance by society/women does let a large amount of men “off the hook’. Something tells us that the female equivalent of the Dad Bod wouldn’t be welcomed quite so warmly.
There’s also the fact that social media, particularly photo-heavy sites, are dominated by young women. For instance, Instagram is 58% female and Pinterest is 81% female! Naturally, people who are proud of their hard work and commitment to a fitness or nutrition program want to share that on social media. These popular photos can be aspirational to many people - spurring on health journeys of their own. For others, it may not conjure up such feelings…
“I need abs like her” Syndrome
Recently in the LeSalon office, the women on the team had been discussing the sudden overwhelming reminder that summer and bikini season is here! Scrolling down your feed can become a bit too much and we realised if 5 of us feel that way, there must be lots of women out there feeling the same too!
The constant barrage of clean meals and perfect bodies can hack away at your confidence. You can’t help but compare yourself to the ideals that garner so many likes and followers. Thoughts like “I need abs like her” or “her legs are so much more toned than mine” go through your head. Of course, comparing rarely helps - there’s always someone that something has better than you. These thought patterns aren’t healthy or empowering at all!
We want everyone to feel confident in their own skin this summer, without feeling the need to sculpt our bodies to social media standards. So, we came up with 6 steps to help:
1. A social media drought
Go straight to the source on this one! If it’s social media that’s getting to you the most, take a break! If that’s a bit extreme, cut down the hours a day you use it, or just quit for a week before a sun holiday and even during the holiday! It can be extremely relieving to let go of social media for periods of time. Plus, it’ll give you more time to be present in the moment and just enjoy life!
2. Move your body
This one might seem counter-intuitive since we’ve been spouting the whole just-be-yourself spiel, but exercise can do wonders to your confidence. You don’t need to focus on how far you’ve run, what you’ve lifted or the number on the scales - it’s just about moving your body and releasing some good ole endorphins. Plus, realising how strong and capable your body is can be a powerful feeling in itself.
3. Talk with friends
Like we did in the office recently, get together with your girls and get the conversation on body pressure flowing. Bottling up your worries does no good. By talking about body confidence openly you’ll soon realise that we all have our hang-ups and you’re not alone! That’s already half the battle.
4. Pamper yourself
When the stress of a summer bod all gets too much, sometimes the best remedy is to just sit back and relax. Put your phone down and breathe! Get a fresh haircut, a massage or a manicure at home. We can help you out here - LeSalon is London’s dedicated mobile nail service. Book the treatment you want, when and where, and we’ll send a high-quality professional straight to you.
5. Curate your social media
This one is a bit more advanced! Your social media feed is mostly a curation by you. If you’re seeing photos of Kendall Jenner and detox salads all day, it’s most likely because you’ve made it that way. Spend a half hour unfollowing accounts that perpetuate your feelings of inadequacy. Follow accounts that make you feel good like travel, animals or a hobby you love. Over time, your explore feeds will transform too. And so will your confidence!
6. Focus on reality
Remember that social media isn’t reality. Images are usually portrayed through a rose-tinted, or rather rose-filtered, lens. People rarely share photos of their insecurities. It even goes beyond filters - you’d be surprised how many people edit their photos with apps like FaceTune, Modiface, and VisageLab. Even celebs, like Kim Kardashian who reportedly uses Perfect365 are known to zap away zits, whiten teeth, and cinch in waists. We’re not condoning the use of editing apps - what we’re saying is don’t continuously compare and hold yourself up to a standard which might not even be real!
That’s our 6 steps to summer confidence! Even following one or two of these steps can change your mentality. Small steps at a time and before you know it you’ll feel body confident all year round!
If you’re interested in beauty and wellness, do check out more from our blog.