Navigating Hot Weather While Working on Body Image
For many individuals, the summer months and warmer temperatures can bring on a lot of physical and emotional discomfort. Here are some tips and reminders as the weather gets hotter:
You deserve to wear clothing that keeps you comfortable and allows you to do activities that you enjoy. This means short sleeves, swimsuits, and shorts (just to name a few) are available to all individuals; there is no one body size that is "allowed" to wear these clothes over another. Remembering the purpose for clothing such as “this swimsuit allows me to play in the water with my grandkids, so while I may not like or love the way I look in it, it’s important to me to be able to do this” might be a helpful practice.
Sweat is your body's natural coolant. It is 100% normal and a physiological function to sweat; I apologize if anyone or any thing has ever made you feel less than for sweating, especially in warmer weather. Next time you feel as though you need to apologize for sweating, it may be helpful to remind yourself it’s your body’s biological method for trying to cool you down. While it is completely normal and nothing to be ashamed of, your comfort level is important. Using products such as anti-chafe sticks, those that contain menthol (naturally cooling properties), facial mists, handheld fans, and cleansing wipes can be helpful to keep on hand to beat the heat.
If you’re feeling like turning down plans this summer due to thoughts of being uncomfortable, try to think into the future. Do you want to be 95 years old and potentially regret not spending as much time with your loved ones because they were invites to pool parties, outdoor barbecues, etc? And while you’re at it, try to envision how those memories could look if you go to the pool party but don’t want to get into the water or go to the barbecue and only pick at the salad. Don’t skip out on the fun aspects of these events as well - splash around in the pool with your friends and eat the yummy grilled foods!
While it’s important to challenge yourself to do what you really want to do as above, it’s also okay if that does mean staying at home more or turning down invitations. Summer does not have to mean being busy all of the time and having weekends full of plans. If your ideal summer day is staying inside with the AC blasting, reading a good book or watching a movie, then you do you! We might be conditioned to think that “summer fun” means things like swimming, concerts, and cook outs, but only if that’s what fun and relaxation truly means to you.
So here’s to enjoying these next few months (in whatever way that looks like for you), trying to stay cool, and create memories that you can have for a lifetime! And most importantly remember, you already have a “summer body”.
PS: It’s important to acknowledge that this post is written through a lens of thin privilege. This means I have not faced the type of systemic oppression that those in larger bodies face daily, including but not limited to the social, financial, and practical benefits of being in a conventionally thin body.