It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but let’s face it — the holiday season can do a number on your confidence. On the one hand, magazines and websites are giving you all the tips in the world on how to avoid over-eating and how to revamp your favorite indulgent recipes so that they’re not nearly as rich. On the other hand, well, you’re invited to party after party after feast after feast — you’ve got a lot to juggle.
On top of that, you may already struggle with body image, or you might hear condescending statements from those with whom you’re celebrating. It’s hard to block out these voices, even when you’ve prepared yourself for the holidays and given yourself leeway to simply enjoy Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and beyond.
But we’re here to change all that because you’re beautiful year-round and we want you to know it. The following are four surefire ways to love yourself throughout the season and stay as merry as the holidays themselves.
You’ve survived the holidays with your family and friends before, and your past experiences have shown you how everyone tends to act. As such, you may expect one particular family member or friend to make statements that make you feel self-conscious or otherwise uncomfortable.
This year, build your own support system by bringing along a friend or significant other to give you body positivity as you reunite with someone whose words have hurt you in the past. Having a newbie at the party might help deflect the attention and change the topic of conversation. If that doesn’t work, then your buddy will always be there to back you up — and build you up, if the discussion starts to go in a negative direction.
No one knows you better than you. Over the holidays, it’s especially important to listen to yourself as you navigate all of the dinners and parties that come with it. You know how you’ll feel after a meal, so take that into consideration. If you’re feeling a bit low on the body-positivity scale, make choices that’ll help build you up. Take a walk, head to the gym or simply order a healthy dish at dinner instead of a heavy holiday meal. Whatever it takes to make you feel good, make that decision.
The same goes for the nights you want to enjoy the holidays and all of the tasty foods they offer you once a year. You may have family members who comment on their intake, which makes you question your own indulgence. But, in the end, you’re in control of what you eat and how it makes you feel. You’ve earned these holidays, and you can and should enjoy them in a way that leaves you feeling fulfilled, happy and ready for next year’s festivities.
We already touched on the fact that the media can be… confusing at Christmastime. In one breath, a magazine will tell you how to whip up an extra-indulgent, extra-chocolaty, extra-large cake. In the next, it’ll explain how to exercise so that you can preserve your waistline over the holidays. How those two pieces of advice go together, we’ll never know.
Even worse, the confusion can make you feel less than stellar about your own choices. It is your right to enjoy the holidays without feeling bad about yourself, so protect yourself from reading conflicting advice that’ll leave you stumped and, even worse, bummed about your holiday meals and treats.
We’re not suggesting you stop caring about yourself over the holiday, of course. Again, no one knows your body better than you, and no one can dictate how you stay feeling your best throughout the season. Stick with what you know and follow your instincts. The media’s conflicting pieces of advice will only lead you astray, so don’t take every word to heart.
This tip should apply to social media, too. Avoid any accounts or hashtags that’ll show you images or advice that’ll hurt your self-esteem. Instead, make a point to follow accounts that inspire you to be the best, healthiest, most positive version of yourself.
It’s 2017, and it’s a great time to have a body — yes, any type of body — because the body positive movement has bestowed a bit of confidence upon us all. And, while we laud each other’s muscles, curves and everything in between, some of our older family members may not be so in tune with the fact that healthy is the new unhealthy-but-thin.
As such, you may still hear comments about your body or others’ figures over Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners. Perhaps your grandma comments that you’ve gotten too skinny, or your aunt jokingly mentions that her husband has gotten extra-large over the past year. These comments may have been acceptable in the past, but we know just how important body positivity is nowadays.
So, when you hear someone make a comment that’s shaming another person’s body for being anything but perfect, say something. You don’t have to be cruel, and you don’t have to give a lecture (although if you’re feeling it, you can give changing minds a try). Instead, redirect the conversation or ask if you can talk about something else besides another person’s body or your own. Without blatantly saying it, you’ll be able to tell the person that their topic of conversation is inappropriate — and that moment of embarrassment could be a lesson learned.
It’s Tough, But It’s Worth It
Even with the above advice, it might seem like the holidays are just destined to be rough on your self-image. All we can do is urge you to stay vigilant and hold onto that confidence you’ve spent so long curating. If you can get through this holiday season with that self-love still intact, you’re in for a lifetime of it. Don’t forget that, while some days are tough, it really is the most wonderful time of the year. You’re meant to enjoy, celebrate and spread love — and that includes to yourself.