Learn to Love Yourself This Summer | AD

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The summer is a funny season. On the one hand, the warm weather means that we can all get outside and enjoy ourselves more but on the other, there is a sudden increase in pressure to look and be a certain way. For women, posters asking whether we are ‘beach body ready’ are really the tip of the iceberg. Summer might be carefree on the surface but plenty of us worry about taking our safe cardigans off!

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The summer comes with all kinds of pressures and there is a particular summer lifestyle that magazines promote. It’s a lifestyle that comes with a “perfect” body wearing just a bikini, looking gorgeously bronzed while playing with the kids on the beach. It’s ridiculous. 

But there’s no need to panic. Not really. Summer might have felt stressful last year but this year, you will have this simple list to guide you through. 

Take Good Care of Yourself

One of the first rules everyone should follow for a fulfilled and healthy life is learning what it means to take good care of yourself. A good diet, plenty of water and regular exercise form a solid foundation for this. When you are feeling healthy, you can’t help but love your body for what it does for you. 

The summer is a great season for lots of fresh fruit and veggies and there are endless salad recipes to satisfy everyone. Variation is the spice of life and if there is one season where this works wonders, it’s summer. Mixing up your meals is a great way to explore your tastes and get to know your kitchen a little better too. Plus, if you eat outside, you can top up your vitamin D effortlessly. 

Drinking plenty is the kind of advice everyone gives but you would be surprised how many people don’t get the right amount of liquid. During the summer, you definitely need to make sure that you are getting enough water to avoid dehydration but it can also help to flush out any bacteria that may cause cystitis. To make sure you get enough water, all you have to do is make drinking into a habit. Have a drink next to you while you are sunbathing and keep taking sips throughout the day. 

The summer is the best time to get exercise in as you can go out into the sunshine and do all kinds of different sports. Going for walks, playing football on communal fields or even joining a running group will make you much more active and get you away from the screens that now dominate our lives. Get out there! 

Build Your Summer Body Confidence

The summer is a time when those of us with limited body confidence really start to sweat. All the shops seem to be focused on clothes that will expose as much as possible without actually crossing over into indecency and no matter what you do, it feels as though you were really built for the winter. 

The truth is that this is probably all in your head. Having body confidence is about looking at your body honestly, taking in the flaws and the beauty alike and saying, “I’m happy with the way I look, I’m going to wear the clothes that make me feel good.” You can’t look like the models in the swimwear catalogue for one main reason: they have been photoshopped into someone else’s view of perfection. Those bodies we aspire to literally don’t exist, even on the models who seem to be wearing them. 

When you are choosing outfits for the summer, think about the types of cool fabrics your skin likes and the fun colours and patterns that you like. Choose clothes that fit really well to avoid any rubbing (also roll-on deodorant for your inner thighs is a gamechanger) and go for looser fabrics to waft about in. Dressing up in clothes that make you feel fabulous always works. When you feel fabulous, you act fabulous. That’s all body confidence really is. 

Through the summer, you need to make sure that you take good care of your skin - especially when it is exposed to sunlight. Changing your makeup style is also a good idea and mineral powders are much lighter and less likely to move if you do get too hot. 

Have Fun

If there is one thing that highly self-conscious people know it is this: you forget to be self-conscious when you are having fun. It’s like a magical off-button and summer is full of opportunities to hit it. 

The summer is the best time for garden parties. Getting all your friends around to sit in the sun and watch the men ‘out-man’ each other with their BBQ maintenance skills is always a good way to spend an evening. Make a selection of homemade burgers and dig in to all your favourites. 

For all that we are chained to our computers and TVs at work and throughout the winter, the summer is a chance to get outside and do other things. Being outside means that you can get stuck into all kinds of messy activities with the kids from making pictures by firing paint from water guns to getting muddy planting up the garden. This is a time for reconnecting with the outside world and making the most of that one afternoon where it doesn’t even think about raining. 

Having fun isn’t just about doing different activities though, this is a time to build on your relationships and enjoy the company of other people. We all tend to want to get together much more in the summer and those long summer evenings make chilled out dinner parties even more enjoyable. Surrounding yourself with the people you love is the best possible way to feel the love for yourself too. 

We all have our self-doubts and worries but the summer doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Embracing the seasons is just as important as embracing the way your life develops and changes as you age. This is all part of being human.

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