A group of friends lying on a blanket outside and enjoying a drink together

As the temperature rises in summer, so can the anxiety around body image. Summer is usually the time for shorts, bathing suits, dresses, and capris.  For those in recovery, it can feel overwhelming and scary to think about putting on a bathing suit or a pair of shorts. Despite the fear of it, the negative body image that may arise and Ed yelling at you, you can take steps to enjoy the summer fun!

First, remember that any step you take, no matter how small it seems, is still a step.  Do not allow others to pressure you by telling you that you must do this or wear this in order to fit in.  While wearing a bathing suit may be your ultimate goal, it can seem overwhelming at first.  Ease into it by taking small steps.  For example, if putting on a bathing suit and jumping into the water is too overwhelming and the negative body thoughts creep in, then take it a bit slower.  Rather than listening to Ed and the negative thoughts and not doing anything and staying fully covered up, push yourself by wearing a pair of longer swim shorts and a tankini on the top.  This way some of your body is exposed while also being covered a bit and you can enjoy the water and sunshine.  Another example is if you fear putting on shorts and you usually wear baggy summer pants, then take the step and put on a pair of capris.  They are not fully pants and not shorts yet they allow you to continue to push yourself in your recovery by going against Ed and fighting the negative body thoughts.

While doing all of this, anxiety and negative thoughts could arise.  Fight back by avoiding and covering mirrors, journaling your thoughts, asking friends or family to wear something similar to support you and do some positive self-talk.  Sit outside, feel the sun on your skin/body, recite positive affirmations such as: I am OK, I love and accept my body, my body is a temple of strength, my body is beautiful and so am I and feel the love the universe and your recovery is giving you.  I won’t lie to you, learning to love and accept your body is difficult but it IS POSSIBLE.  I never thought during my recovery I would ever get to a place where I truly loved my body (or myself for that matter) but I DO…and you can too!!!

I also want to remind you of a lie Ed might tell you and provide you with a reality check.  As you begin to expose more of your body for the world to see, know this…no one around you is pointing, staring, saying negative things about your body or laughing at you.  Don’t believe Ed if he tells you that.  What people, friends and family are doing is witnessing and seeing how strong you are, how beautiful you are, the risks you are taking, witnessing you fight Ed head on and watching you become free.  Keep up the great work and enjoy this summer!

With health, hope and strength,