Okay, so I know every body is a bikini body and confidence is the name of the game these days but let’s be real, we could all use a little help to feel that way. My diet is rubbish and when I restrict myself I am miserable but when I do a bit of exercise I do feel better so this past month I’ve upped my activity (and water intake) but I can’t give up the Ferrero Rochers and I’m not going to beat myself up about it.
We all have our own personal insecurities, they may have no bearing on reality, others may not understand them and they cannot be fixed by a compliment. You could work your butt off and everyone could tell you how great you looked in those short shorts but unless you feel it, it means nothing. With that in mind, I want to share a few steps that I take to prep my external self for the summer months that help me feel more confident.
I am.. what’s the opposite of diligent? Anti-diligent? I am diligent when it comes to body care 11 months of the year but that 4 week period leading up to my summer holiday, I am ON IT! I happen to be in that window right now so I’m body brushing (dry brushing to promote circulation and to exfoliate), scrubbing (again, I’m pretty much wanting new skin at this point) and moisturising on a very strict schedule. I can’t explain how different I feel when my skin is smooth and moisturised but I’d guess it’s something like that feeling of having your shit together.
Again, my feet are horrendously neglected most of the year. I do paint my toes and very occasionally go at my hard skin with a file but I forgo socks most of the time (I know, this is serial killer behaviour, I’ve been told) and walk outside without shoes on (not to the shops or anything, just like.. the garden and such) more often than I should so I really don’t take care of them. Last month I used one of those gross foot peel treatments to give me baby soft feet and I already feel like I need to do another one because I haven’t kept on top of them but I’m currently wearing some moisturising socks, and my toes are freshly painted so.. I’m trying, guys.
Extra conditioner at the ready? Good cause you’re going to need it! I like to wear my hair natural most of the time, this really means I can’t be bothered to style it and rarely brush it because I’m so nervous of damage these days, so well conditioned lengths are essential to avoid a frizz bomb in the humidity. I once read that someone sunbathed with a masque on their hair and I’ve done this since and would recommend! It’s a bit like a heat treatment and you feel like you’re protecting it all in one go – you can actually get UV protector for your hair too!
Factor 50, guys! Pre holiday it’s much the same as body, scrubbing and moisturing all day err’day (not literally, please don’t do that, you’ll have no skin left) but having pretty uneven skin tone from sun damage and malasma (pigmentation) from pregnancy I am very conscious of protecting my skin now. I dabbled with sun beds as a teen and it’s my biggest regret in terms of vices. I’ve never been a smoker, am currently making an effort to cut down on alcohol – almost 2 weeks.. it’s an achievement! No, you have a problem!), even if it’s just from a vanity perspective, keep your face out of the sun.
This is a tough one but when I feel a wobble (mental, not my thighs) coming on it’s essential to have at least one feel good summer outfit to lean back on. Prepare yourself to try on a lot as well as things you wouldn’t normally try on. Don’t be upset if something doesn’t look the way you want it to, persevere! There are a million different items out there made for lots of shapes and sizes. I know that the Kendall Jenners of the world look like they have it easy but as someone whose waist has often been wider than her hips, shopping for something structured when you have no curves is no picnic either. I buy high waist shorts 2 sizes up because they fit better and are more flattering, I buy swimsuits a size down because I don’t have much boobage to contend with and they hold me in better. This year I’ve found TWO bikinis that don’t make me immediately want to cover my body with a kaftan because I’ve found a style that suits my 32 year old, post-kids body. I used to dread the summer time because I was pasty and short and had cellulite and my boobs weren’t big enough and blah blah blah blah. I was comparing myself to other people, trying to wear what they wore and I just needed to take the time to find out what worked for me and care less about the size it came in.
Great as it is, the body positivity movement can sometimes feel a little preachy. It makes us feel like we should all be going out in unflattering clothes and no makeup ‘because we can’ and that feeling better about ourselves after a pedicure or a spray tan is blasphemous. The sentiment is solid, ‘you do you’, but if doing you is covering your wobbly bits and never leaving the house without your eyebrows on, that’s fine too! If that’s what gives you confidence, GREAT! If you feel empowered and always hated wearing swimsuits and now feel awesome in a two piece because social media has inspired you to wear whatever the f*ck you want, that’s great too! YOU DO YOU!
My point is, a glance at your insta feed might make you feel terrible for a whole new set of reasons these days. At one time it might have been fitspo models making you hungry just looking at them but now it could be body confident account sending the message that you have to be happy just as your are and that it’s not ok to aspire to anything else. If you are not feeling yourself, what would help you? Don’t think about other people, what would help you? Change what you can (and want to) change but a lot of it is going to be in your head and the quickest way to change the way you feel is to change the way you think. If you think you’re ‘summer ready’ because you’ve followed your own checklist then maybe that will go some way to filling up that confidence bar.