How to deal with body image issues when you’re on vacation

When you’re not feeling comfortable in your body it can overshadow the enjoyment of your whole holiday. I spoke to Ashley Broadwater for her article in Huffington Post about how to avoid and handle body image issues when you’re on vacation.

Read the full post here:

Here are more of my thoughts on how to have a better body image while on vacation.

What type of clothes and how tight clothes should people pack to ensure body image doesn’t get in the way of their vacation? Why?

People should pack whatever clothes they feel most comfortable in and are suitable for the climate of their vacation or types of activities that they’ll be doing. It can be tempting to think that if you pack loose or thick clothes to hide your body then you’ll feel better about it, but that’s not necessarily the case. In my experience of wearing a hoody almost all of my vacation to Hawaii one summer, it can be uncomfortable and draw more unwanted attention to your body! Likewise, packing mostly tighter or more revealing clothing that you might wear if you’re feeling very body confident could backfire if you’re not feeling the most secure with your body on vacation.

If you have space in your suitcase then it’s probably a good idea to pack a range of clothes, some with a looser fit and some with a tighter fit, that show off different amounts of skin, so you can decide what you feel comfortable in day-to-day on your vacation. You’d probably be upset if negative body image meant that you didn’t pack your favourite bikini and then you really wanted to wear it while you were away. By packing your favourite swimsuit and also something like a sarong or kaftan, you can decide in the moment what clothes make you feel more secure about your body.

Think about packing clothes and accessories with colours, prints or textures that get you in the holiday mood and make you feel good.

What affirmations can people remind themselves on vacations when (or before) negative body image thoughts pop up?

My favourite quote is “A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms” Zen Shin – we are all unique and beautiful like flowers and the world would be very boring if everyone looked the same. Just because you think that someone by the pool looks amazing in their swimsuit doesn’t mean that you don’t look amazing too. If you take a look around you will see that everyone’s body is different and special, acknowledging this can help you to embrace your body and it’s uniqueness. 

My body is supporting me on this holiday. Research suggests that when we focus on what our body can do for us, rather than what it looks like then we develop a better relationship with our body. Your body is going a fantastic job and helping you make the most of your vacation, for example, feeling warm sand between your toes, or tasting delicious local food. Learn more in this blog post.

Thoughts aren’t facts! It’s important to remember that our mind filters incoming information to confirm our beliefs, for example, if you’re worried that everyone is staring at your body, then you’re likely to spot the one person who is looking in your direction. Instead, challenge yourself to look at the evidence for and against your belief; you’ll likely see that almost everyone is too busy getting on with their vacation to be focusing on what your body looks like.

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Dr Rachel Evans

Eating Disorder Recovery Therapist