Spring break is right around the corner. For many high school and college students, spring break brings increased insecurities about their bodies. The idea of hitting the beach or lying out by the pool in a bathing suit with friends and fellow classmates can be paralyzing for individuals who suffer from a poor body image.
Spring break should be a time of fun and relaxation — a break from the stresses of the classroom. It shouldn’t add stress. For adolescent or college-aged girls and boys who suffer from a poor body image, here are a few tips to help make it through spring break this year:
- Don’t compare yourself to others. It’s easy to want to compare yourself to that size zero girl in a bikini, but the reality is, your body is unique, and nobody is perfect. Rather than compare yourself to others, train yourself to think positively about your body and to love yourself for the body you have.
- Hit the gym for 30 minutes three times per week for a few weeks leading up to spring break. A new study found that short-term exercise can boost body image.
- Avoid thinking negatively or making negative comments about your own body size or shape. Steer clear of conversations with friends who nitpick their own appearance.
- Do not crash diet. Instead, focus on eating healthy and staying active prior to and on spring break rather than starving yourself or spending every minute of free time working out at the gym.
- Turn off the TV and put down those magazines. What you see in the media can have a profound impact on your own body image. (Remember, most magazine images have been airbrushed and retouched.)
If you are a parent, reinforce positive body image for your child, teen or college student by acknowledging their personality traits and achievements, rather than focusing on appearance. Make a point to encourage your child that you love and accept them for who they are and how they look now.
If you suspect a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder, do not ignore the signs. Seek immediate help from a professional.