As women, we are in a constant battle with our bodies. The shape is wrong, the weight is too much, the skin is marked. All the things beauty companies tell us we need to fix, we worry about in the shower and every time we try to choose an outfit to wear.
Of course, what beauty companies never really tell us is that everyone’s body is different and beautiful in its own way. Loving your body in the face of so much passive criticism is a tough ask and it’s no wonder that so many women struggle with body confidence issues, especially after pregnancy when they have already gone through so much change. So what’s the real trick to loving your body?
Look After Yourself
When you feel bad, it’s surprising how quickly you can stop looking after yourself properly. This is the perfect time to really take care of your body. You might not feel confident but avoiding the things that make you look and feel good is only going to bring you down further. Even treating yourself to some clothes that are comfortable but still make you feel gorgeous is worth it - elastic waistbands are the best thing to hit the fashion world!
In the early months of motherhood, it’s easy to get out of good habits - you’re probably exhausted, after all! But trying to get back into a healthy morning routine is really important as this will give you a chance to take some time to yourself and give your body what it needs. A good breakfast in the morning will set you up well for the day and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables should give you an energy boost too.
Simple things like brushing your teeth twice a day are easily dropped with a baby demanding attention but some of the most common dental emergencies can be prevented by proper brushing each day. It’s worth making that extra effort! Similarly, washing and brushing your hair will make you feel much more together and fresh, even if you only get a few minutes in the shower!
Say Thank You
Saying thank you comes naturally in most situations. You buy a coffee and you thank the barista, someone holds a door for you and you say thanks. Saying thank you is a sort of confirmation that something good has happened and you are grateful. So why don’t you do this for yourself?
Looking in the mirror and saying thank you to yourself will probably feel really weird the first time you do it. But the cool thing is that saying thank you like this will probably give you a sense of connection with your physical self and confirm that your body is good. Yes, you might have stretch marks that weren’t there before and you are likely still carrying a bit of extra weight. But look at what your body has achieved! You’ve made a whole new person over 9 months and so while you might not look the same, you have a lot to be thankful for. Being grateful for the things you have and the things and people around you is the best way to improve your confidence and your self-esteem. In a way, gratefulness is about realizing that it’s not all about you. And, strange as it might sound, there is nothing more relaxing than that.
Treating yourself after having a baby can be difficult. You can’t go for a night out with the girls like you used to just yet (but there are still good time to come!) and you can’t be as spontaneous either. However, there are still plenty of opportunities to have a bit of me time and you should definitely take them!
Having a bath might not sound particularly exciting but post-baby, a bath will change your life - as long as you do it right. Add a bath pillow to get nice and comfortable, bring in a bath tray so you can prop up a book or magazine and light a whole bunch of candles so you can really chill out. For a spa treatment style bath, pop a mask on (which will also clear your pores and make your face feel fresh and beautiful), add your favorite salts and apply a conditioning hair mask too.
Treating your body like this, taking just 30 minutes to really relax and soak will give you time to meditate and connect with your physical self. Other peaceful activities might include going for a walk in a natural space (a park or even your garden will do), meditating, doing some stretches or yoga poses to ease your muscles or simply taking a nap by yourself!
It’s another really basic thing but smiling regularly is hard when you don’t feel confident in your body or your self. Luckily, smiling is one of those rare things where fake it til you make it actually applies. Seeing yourself smiling in the mirror is likely to make you smile more and really, even if that first smile was forced.
The power of smiling should never be underestimated. Smiling can reduce your blood pressure, make you feel calmer and may even boost your immune system. There’s no doubt that smiling can boost your mood and it is highly contagious too. Once you start smiling, people around you will start smiling too.
Smiling while thinking about or looking at your body will help to reinforce good feelings and will also help push you toward accepting your new look. Combine this with saying thank you to your body and you will positively glow with love.
Having a baby can have a big knock-on effect to your relationship with your body. You may look different and feel sore but you are still you - just a different version. While you should rightly focus most of your attention on your baby, it’s important that your remember to give yourself some love too. You deserve a bit of time to yourself to meditate on who you have become and how much you have achieved so far.
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