Many people absolutely love the holiday season. This time of year lights up their eyes and gives their soul a little sparkle. However, there are some of us that struggle during this season. Those that suffer with any type of anxieties and/or insecurities have a harder time feeling that holiday sparkle that others do.
Today I’m going to speak specifically about body image insecurities. Anyone who isn’t feeling their most confident at this time of year may develop strong levels of discomfort when it comes to all the holiday action. Dressing up and finding outfits for parties and gatherings are beyond stressful and just the thought of all the pictures that will be taken is a cause for panic. For some, this may seem childish, but I myself can relate to these emotions.
After having my daughter, my body did a 180. I expected this, but I didn’t expect to really just not feel like myself for so damn long afterwards. Once she turned a year old, I thought to myself “ok…..you should be over this by now.” It was a very confusing time for me. Mentally, I felt stronger than ever. I grew, nourished, and birthed this beautiful child. I have always thought of mothers as sexy and powerful beings and once I became one, I thought the same of myself. I deserved to feel that. We all do. However, it was how my new body fit into my old clothes that bothered me. I didn’t know what to do with this new body of mine. I didn’t know how to dress my “mom bod” in a way that flattered me like clothing used to do.
Once I got desperate enough, I called up my friend Sonu. She recently started a passion-driven job as a fashion advisor, personal shopper, and stylist at House of Nayna, and I knew she would be the perfect person to help me out of this rut. Boy was I right. Just one outing with her made a world of a difference! Sonu showed me my mistakes in size choices, improved my accessory game, and gave me crucial advice on building an outfit specific to my body type. But honestly, beyond all of that, she unknowingly taught me that I am still a bombshell and I deserve to look and feel like one!
This experience has influenced me to cleanse any negative feelings that I had in relation to my appearance. So for those who may feel a little extra uncomfortable in their bodies this holiday season, I have some therapeutic tips to help you find your way back to confidence.
CLEAN OUT your CLOSET
Every last piece that you do not wear: it needs to go. All of those “but maybe it’ll fit again one day” items that are collecting dust – donate them. Now. By the time these clothes do fit again, they either won’t fit you like they used to, or you’ll most likely have outgrown the style. Not to mention they are harboring negative feelings. Any pile that is labeled “but maybe they’ll fit again one day” isn’t the most encouraging of collections to have in our lives.
Any items that do fit, but you have not worn in the past 6 months also needs to go. You are not wearing them for a reason. You may not know what that reason is but at this point it doesn’t matter, they are clearly not serving you.
This process is extremely healing because you are literally letting go of the past here. From this point on, we focus on the beauty of the present.
Bonus: It’s the holidays. Donating that enormous load of clothing to a shelter full of those in need will make you feel deliriously happy.
Related Read: How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe
Now that you’ve made plenty of room in your closet for killer outfits that will fit you now, it’s time to replenish. I realize that the holidays make for some tighter than usual budgets, but you must at least treat yourself to one outfit. If you are anything like I was before my personal shopping experience, which is lost as all hell, don’t worry! I’m passing along some professional advice I gained from my fashion advisor, Sonu.
When it comes to dressing for our body types, here are some things we can try:
+ Shop for the size you are now. Wearing a size down hoping weight loss is somewhere in the near future only makes us looks us larger. Also, wearing items that are too big for you will make you appear larger than you really are. (I learned this the hard way – I was the queen of buying a size up for comfort’s sake).
+ Do not focus on the numbers. Sizing numbers fluctuate immensely between each and every brand so there is no validity in obsessing over it. Focus on the fit.
+ Utilize the dressing rooms. I know, nobody likes those too small and dusty stalls with horrific lighting, but the only way to tell whether or not something fits right is to try it on.
+ Hire a professional. It may seem like a petty expense, but it will likely take just one session to learn the basics. Friends, family, and employees of clothing stores can all be great when seeking advice, but they are not always honest or educated in what suits our unique body types. I personally have no regrets and knowing that I can walk into a clothing store alone, carrying confidence is the biggest relief. My friend Sonu is excellent and also has an incredible Instagram account featuring fashion tips and tricks for all.
LOVE THE WAY WE MOVE
We all know exercise is important. And yet many of us have convinced ourselves that exercise must be a dreadful experience. That the only way to be truly healthy and fit is to put ourselves through hell. This is false. (And there are so many FUN exercises you can do. Check them out here.) Personally, I detest running. Running on a treadmill or even jogging outside will never bring me any kind of joy. The few times that I tried to keep up with it, I ended up so miserable that I quit and stopped working out altogether.
Stop pushing yourself to do things you hate. When we do things we actually enjoy, it’s not a chore. Strength training and cardio interval training is my happy place. I want to do it. I prioritize most of my days to include this type of movement because I enjoy it. It makes me feel both mentally and physically healthier, stronger, and powerful when I do. So find your thing. Yoga, Zumba, CrossFit, running, straight up twerking in your living room to rap music; whatever it is that challenges you in a positive way is enough. I promise.
Y’all knew this was coming. I know it sounds cheesy and corny and it most likely makes your eyes roll back into your head, but give it a shot. We are so accustomed to focusing on the negative. Stop letting those outside voices influence how you value yourself. Turn the negatives into positives one day at a time, one affirmation at a time. Rehearse these affirmations aloud and with confidence several times a day. The positive repetitions will eventually start to influence how we think, feel, and live. (Try these affirmations for guidance.)
CHANTAL URBINA is a registered Massage Therapist and Culinary Nutrition Expert. She is passionate about living a life full of health, love, and happiness and that all three start with our diet. “Nature’s healing properties will never cease to amaze me and it inspires me day after day to create and share recipes made with only real whole foods.” Connect with Chantal: www.nutty4nutrition.com, Instagram, and Facebook.