Summer is well and truly here. Skirts are on, legs are out and strappy tops are in. Which is great… IF you feel comfortable in your body and have no worries about showing it off. But what happens when you actually don’t like your body. When the thought of showing your legs with varicose veins or midsection with an overhang fills you with dread? When you don’t feel like you can be sexy in summer?
If you aren’t comfortable with your body then you might wish for the long cold months of winter where you can wear baggy jumpers or layer it all up so no one can see what your body really looks like. Unfortunately it’s not really possible to avoid summer so you might be feeling very uncomfortable and self conscious about how you look or what you wear at the moment. Fear not though, it is possible to feel sexy in summer, even when you might hate your post-baby body so here are my top tips for you.
#1 – wear the right clothes
Never underestimate how clothes can make you feel. Badly fitting, unflattering, old, torn or knackered clothes will make you feel shit. Elegant, classy, luxurious clothes can make you feel amazing. So clothes matter. A lot. If you’re anything like me year after year you pull out the same old summer outfits. Mostly likely faded, threadbare and probably too small. I always used to rationalise this as sensible because I live in the UK and you can probably count the number of really hot weeks on one hand.
But since starting my journey to love my body I’ve become hyper aware of how the clothes I wear make me feel. And if they don’t make me feel good – they’ve got to go. This is especially true in summer when clothes are more likely to be fitted (rather than baggy) and revealing more skin than you would in winter.
So if you want to feel good about your body in summer it starts with what you are wearing. Buy clothes that suit your body shape and size. Pick items that you love and are going to make you happy when you put them on. Choose fun, vibrant or cheerful clothes as these will lift your mood. And most of all, make sure they fit you well. No forcing yourself into those tiny shorts you wore 5 years ago before kids. Remember, if it doesn’t make you happy, don’t put it on!
#2 – fake it to make it
I get it, I really do. Walking down the street with your legs, arms or even midriff out can feel terrifying. You picture people judging you. Laughing at you or even throwing nasty comments your way. So feeling confident showing bits of your body in summer can be really hard!
But here’s the thing. Our thoughts and behaviour affects how we feel. So if we think we look crap we will feel self conscious. If we walk like we are ashamed of our body then we’ll project that outwards and feel ashamed. Luckily though, this goes the other way too. If you walk like you are confident in your body, guess what? You’ll start to feel confident. If you tell yourself that you look amazing, you’ll start to feel like you look amazing.
Even if you don’t feel confident or amazing fake it. Act like you are. Walk like someone who is feels sexy. Talk like someone who feels confident. Act like someone who loves who they are. Dress like someone who is comfortable with their body. Because you know what, it won’t be very long until you really do feel this way.
#3 – remind yourself that everyone else is likely worrying about their own bodies
It’s so easy to feel like we are the only ones who hate our bodies but a recent Babycentre poll showed that 98% of mums would change at least one thing. That’s right, only 2% of mums loved their bodies the way they were. Whilst you can’t just extrapolate this out for an entire population, I will guarantee you that there are more people than you think walking around feeling as bad as you do.
When we feel self conscious it’s easy to think that the whole world is looking at us. But usually, they are just trying to get through the day and worrying about their own issues. We all have our hang ups and insecurities. And if I’m completely honest, we’re all pretty self absorbed (well, I am anyway…).
So just keep reminding yourself that even though it might feel like everyone is focusing on you and what you look like, in reality they are most likely planning their shopping list or worrying if they have food on their face.
#4 – push yourself (gently) out of your comfort zone
The only way you are going to get comfortable with wearing certain clothes or showing certain parts of your body is to just do it. Now, I’m not saying that you should go from wearing baggy sweats to a bikini. It’s OK to take it slow and try one thing at a time. But what’s important is that you keep gently nudging yourself to move closer to the person you want to be.
Start by thinking about the things you avoid doing or wearing. Write them down and think about which ones you feel are holding you back or stopping you from being the person you want to be. Keep it small but work out the steps you can take to move closer to doing these things. Make sure you focus on how doing these things will help you to feel better about yourself and build confidence. Take it slow but keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Wear one thing you wouldn’t normally wear and see what happens. Be prepared for it to feel a little weird and uncomfortable at first but persevere and soon it will become second nature.
#5 – pamper yourself
Taking a little bit of time to pamper yourself will help you to feel a lot better about yourself and your body. As mums we’re often run off our feet and any spare time is spent cleaning, organising or getting ready for another day of chaos. Which can mean that we look after ourselves last. One of the things I really struggle with is dry skin. But if I’m brutally honest sitting around in the morning waiting for moisturiser to sink in is a luxury I don’t have. Which means that in summer, when I put shorts or a skirt on I’m immediately uncomfortable because of the dry skin on my legs.
So taking some time to pamper myself and put a little bit of extra effort in in summer makes a big difference to how comfortable I feel showing some skin. If I take just 5 minutes to slather on body butter and make my legs silky smooth I immediately feel much more confident and happy to show them off. Plus pampering is a brilliant way to indulge in self care which will boost your mood too.
As a slight aside, I watched a great video recently about how we only get 18 summers (see it here). It really hit me because I’m on summers 10, 6 and 2 with my kids and to realise that they will go so fast makes me really stop and think about what’s important to me. Do I really want to spend those summers worrying about how I look? No. I want to take them swimming and give them happy memories. Not sit by the pool feeling self conscious in my swim suit. I want to laugh with them. Have fun with them. And not give my mental energy over to feeling shit about myself when there’s really nothing wrong with me.
So make the most of this summer. Make memories with your children and let go of your insecurities. Get those legs out and put on your short shorts. Life is too short (and too hot!) to waste time worrying about how you look this summer.
If you’re really struggling and don’t want to spend another summer feeling bad about your body then get in touch here. I can help you to feel more confident and positive about your body so that you can get on with enjoying the sunshine. You can also read this post on 5 ways to love your post baby body just the way it is.