5 ways to feel better in your body this summer

The British Summer is finally here! Time for ice-creams, juicy strawberries, Wimbledon and seaside trips with the family. You might even be heading off on holiday soon!


If you struggle with body image worries, the thought of revealing skin and exposing limbs can bring on huge fears. You may be tempted to cover up in layers of clothes (even on hot days), avoid social invitations and evade swimming or sunbathing at all costs. Sadly, you find that living with your body can bring intense distress and shame. You wish that you could feel better.

How to feel better in your body this summer

1. Get a fresh perspective

There’s no denying that living in Western culture contributes to a negative body image. Thin idealisation, weight stigma and fatphobia are all genuine concepts to be navigated.  This is perpetuated by social media and the perfect images that we are constantly exposed to.

But human bodies come in all shapes and sizes and every single body is worthy. Observe your local town high street and the array of people walking past and you will appreciate the diversity of the human form. It’s quite a different picture from Instagram!

As you observe the people walking by, note what makes someone look attractive and appealing. It’s likely not all about ‘thinness’ but rather confidence, posture and energy. Maybe colourful clothes or an interesting style. Realise that you can embrace these things today, without changing your body size. Think about what would personally work for you.

2. Address your inner critic 

When you don’t like your body, you probably criticise and label yourself with derogatory terms. Maybe you have experienced judgement from others about your body previously.  So, you understandably feel vulnerable and exposed, particularly when you are wearing less.

Realise that you are genuinely much harder on yourself than anyone else. Labelling yourself with harsh and judgemental language renders you hopeless and deeply dissatisfied. You would never speak to a trusted friend in the same way. Absolutely, you deserve to treat yourself with respect and kindness. Work to offer yourself compassion and support, as you navigate these situations.

3. Practice radical self-care  

Radical self-care isn’t all about bubble baths and fancy manicures, although if these things make you feel good, you might certainly embrace them.

You may be adept at caring for the loved ones in your life, but the time and attention devoted to yourself is scarce. At the bare minimum, you need to be prioritising your sleep and regular eating. In addition to this, getting out in nature, gentle movement and connecting with the people you love is like oxygen for a human being.

Anyone prioritising self-care is going to feel significantly better in their body, even if they are still a long way from pure body positivity and self-love. Prioritise yourself. This is not selfish but a necessary act of filling your cup, so you then have resources for yourself, and for others (if you choose this).

4. Wear comfortable clothes

Wear clothes that fit the body you have now. This does not mean that your current body is your forever body, but it is about offering yourself radical acceptance of ‘now’. Everyone deserves to feel comfortable without waistbands digging in or restrictive clothing stifling you. Tight clothes are a 100% negative body image trigger.

Get yourself a few items in colours that appeal and flatter you. Stand tall and walk with confidence.

5. Reduce any triggering behaviours

Develop deep awareness of any behaviours that add ‘fuel to the fire’ of poor body image.

Regular weighing, mirror checking, scrolling on social media and comparing with others will only further activate your dissatisfaction.

Actively reduce the behaviours that particularly impact you and see the difference. Be patient and kind with yourself in this process as these habits can feel engrained.

As the British summer rolls on, I encourage you to take active steps to improve your body image. Remember that you are worthy and deserving regardless of your weight and shape. Offer yourself huge compassion and kindness in this process. If you are struggling with these issues, you might want to seek out further support through counselling.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Cambridge, CB1
Written by Harriet Frew, MSc; MBACP Accred
Cambridge, CB1

Harriet Frew is a counsellor specialising in eating disorders and body image.
She runs eating disorders and body image training for professionals, supervision and online courses.

Find Harriet on Instagram: @theeatingdisordertherapist_ and listen to The Eating Disorder Therapist Podcast on your favourite platform.

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