Swimsuit season. Beach body. Bikini ready.
The terms are thrown around casually every summer. In regular conversation, on social media, and via media and advertising, we’re hit with messages that suggest we must prepare and perfect our bodies before changing into warm-weather clothing. “Get ready” for the summer, the messages say, by getting your body “ready.” “Follow this workout, stick to that diet plan, and you’ll look and feel your best!” The noise is hard to escape.
This summer, we’re confronted by messages not only about “beach bodies,” but about “post-pandemic bodies” as well. We hear and see chatter about getting our “pre-pandemic bodies” back. Diet and exercise routines are sold as a way to “fix” any COVID-related body changes or to make up for the pandemic time we “should’” have spent fixing our bodies. Amid this noise, we may also feel anxiety about others seeing us in person again, fearing body judgment or commentary.
Combine the “summer body” pressure with the “post-pandemic body” pressure, and it’s no wonder that this summer is a challenging time for those experiencing body image concerns, disordered eating, and eating disorders. But while Summer 2021 is a unique time to reenter and reconnect with the world and our loved ones, we actually don’t need to change our bodies at all to do it.
In this article, Dr. Jillian Lampert, Chief Strategy Officer of The Emily Program and Veritas Collaborative, helps us explore how we can all practice self-compassion this “swimsuit season” and help our loved ones do the same.