We see it everywhere: posts about getting the perfect summer body and glowing up just in time to have the most amazing “hot girl summer.” Yet, in all these messages, there is an important secret that no one is sharing with you — you are already good enough just as you are. Anyone who tells you differently is trying to sell you something.
The term “bikini body” goes back to 1961 when a company called Slenderella International was quite literally trying to sell their weight-loss services. In order to do this, they preyed on women’s insecurities, making them feel that their body was not worthy of a bikini.
But the truth is it’s not about how you look but how you feel. No diet, work out or fake tan is going to make you comfortable in your skin. Any body is a “bikini body,” so long as we feel good and confident being ourselves.
Yet, it’s safe to say that many of us left 2020 not feeling too great. I am a firm believer that when you feel happy and healthy, you will consequently look your best. So, it is time that we redefine what it means to “glow up.”
This is not going to be a guide on to how to look thin or get the perfect tan but instead, will be about little things we can do to take care of ourselves now to ensure that by the end of this semester we are feeling and therefore looking our best, and we can go into summer feeling refreshed.
The first thing, and perhaps my favorite thing, is to sleep. If you make getting eight hours of sleep a night a priority, you will be stunned to find all of the amazing effects being well-rested has on your life. According to SCL Health, sleep can boost your immune system, improve your mood, help your memory and even play an important role in weight loss. You will find that you can be much more productive during the day so that you ultimately can spend more time on yourself.
Then there is what has long been my least favorite thing: working out. I, for one, know how unappealing this sounds, but recently I have found that there really is something for everyone. For example, you will NEVER find me going on a run, but because I have a background in dance I have found that yoga comes easy to me. No, it is not the most rigorous workout, but the most important thing is that you’re moving a bit during the day and feeling good about it. This is because, according to the Mayo Clinic, working out doesn’t just make you look your best — it is great for both your physical and mental health.
Next, it is time to get out of the online school rut. You know, the one where you can’t remember the last time you wore pants without an elastic waistband, threw on makeup or even brushed your hair. It is hard to motivate yourself to look good just for yourself, but I think you’ll be surprised by how good it feels to show up for yourself in these little ways.
In line with that, another way to make sure you are looking and feeling your best is by upgrading your skincare routine. There are many affordable ways to do this, and it’s another excellent way to take care of yourself. This is really the ultimate example of doing something that feels good and will actually help you feel more confident.
Perhaps, the most important thing I’ll mention is to work on your mindset. One thing that can be particularly beneficial to improving mental health is meditation. I personally am not very good at just sitting calmly through a meditation exercise, but luckily, there are many ways to incorporate meditation into your life, such as yoga or journaling. I personally like writing a little bit everyday; I love a journal with a prompt that encourages me to reflect on my life and what is important to me.
Then, need I say it, drink water! I am not great at this, but because virtually every expert seems to say water will solve all of our problems, I’m willing to make more of an effort, and I hope you are too! For me, it helps a lot to have a water bottle with measurements on the side so you can really pay attention to how much water you are drinking.
Another great idea is to make sure you are going outside every day, at least for a little while. A little sunlight and fresh air can do wonders for the mind and body. Light has been found to elevate mood and increase your levels of Vitamin D, as stated by Harvard Medical School. Why not go on a walk with your friends or do some work outside whenever the weather is nice?
One way to take care of your mental health is taking a day off. I almost always refuse to do work on Saturdays just to give my mind a break. Having one day a week devoted only to yourself and what you want to do is a great way to ensure that online school or work isn’t taking over your life. That way you aren’t burnt out by the time summer comes around!
Oh, and treat yourself! Buy some cute outfits or have some dessert — do whatever makes you feel good to reward yourself for living through these absolutely ridiculous times. I don’t think any of us will be getting medals for making it through this year anytime soon, so you might as well buy that cute bathing suit you can wear on the beach this summer.
Life is not easy these days, and the pressure to obtain the perfect look for summer (which doesn’t even exist) only makes it more stressful. If you want to look your best this summer to celebrate living through a global pandemic, instead focus on how you feel, and let that happiness and confidence transform you!