Arming yourself with self-confidence is important all year long, but it becomes especially important as temperatures start rising. The warm weather brings with it the need for shorter sleeves and beach-ready swimsuits, which makes it all the more crucial to feel your absolute best from the inside out. So, to help prepare you for the season ahead, we asked psychotherapist Lauren Giwa for her favorite ways to increase confidence throughout the summer months.
Written by Lauren Giwa
I remember being a young adult and teenager and wearing long-sleeved shirts all year because I was self-conscious about my arms. I got away with it until I experienced my first summer in New York City—I could no longer hide my body without facing a heatstroke. So, one sweltering hot day, I gave in, bought a sleeveless top, and went outside. There were no gasps, no children running and crying, nothing. That’s when I realized that all the negative thoughts I had about my body I had projected onto others. The decision to bare my arms was strictly out of surviving the summer, but it helped improve my self-esteem slightly. I remained self-conscious but was able to use positive self-talk to muster up the strength to move forward in wearing my arms out until it cooled down.
It wasn’t until I got older and continued my schooling that I began to learn about how different treatment modalities can support positive mental health and increase my confidence, just like my positive self-talk so many years earlier. As a mental-health provider, I really gravitated toward mindfulness and self-care as ways to restore myself, provide stellar treatment to my patients, and better my own mental health. I practice both mindfulness and self-care concurrently because they both involve being present. In order for me to find joy in self-care activities, I must be present. When I cultivate being present and mindful through self-care, it prevents me from being concerned with what someone might think or say about my body. Afterward, instead of getting bogged down in negative self-talk, it paves the way for confidence.
There are 6 self-care activities that, for me, help me stay present and mindful. The following are the ones I enjoy utilizing most, but your list may look different:
1. Listening to meditation podcasts
After a long day, listening to a meditation podcast or soothing music helps me decompress and release built-up tension.
2. Taking a personal day to relax and have fun
If you don’t have an abundance of time to take off, utilize personal days to create long weekends or simply take a break.
3. Reconnecting with family and friends
Sending a letter, text message, or calling to check in with your social supports is helpful in lessening feelings of loneliness and isolation.
4. Getting out in the sun
There is a plethora of supportive research that discusses the benefits of sunlight. Not only does sunlight impact mental health positively, but sunlight can also improve your sleep and heart health.
5. Developing and enforcing boundaries
It’s very important to provide and uphold boundaries for others who interact with you. Don’t check work emails if you’re off the clock or engage in activities that you don’t want to do. Remember—”No” is a complete sentence.
6. Disconnecting from social media
Most of the time, people are posting only the positive things on social media and that can take a toll on your mental health. You may be comparing yourself to your peers and feeling inadequate about where you are in life. Taking a break from social media will aid in removing possible feelings of envy, fear of missing out, and loneliness.
When utilizing healthy self-care practices like positive self-talk and mindfulness—or, enjoying what we are doing in the moment—our confidence grows. We aren’t worried about what others are possibly thinking about us simply because our energy is placed on the people and things we enjoy. So, remember, this summer and always—take care of yourself, exude confidence, and take up space. Because you belong.
Psychotherapist and Self-Care Advocate