The summer holiday season always seems to bring with it equal amounts of excitement and stress – excitement because this is usually the time you get to go on holiday and stress because of the supposed need to get ‘bikini-ready’. And so, this month I want to remind each and every one of you that you are beautiful.
Through the summer we often become obsessed with counting calories and suddenly begin to focus on everything that is not right with our bodies. But, I’d like to encourage you to love yourself exactly how you are. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fitness goals or decide to have a healthy diet, it just means that you are shifting your focus from a place of not feeling particularly great about yourself, to a place where you accept who you are and then make the most of it. We tend to think that someone is going to notice if we are size bigger or smaller but in fact what people are attracted to is the energy and glow we bring to a place. People remember how they felt in your company and the way your personality shines. In this way, if you are putting yourself down and setting unrealistic and unhealthy goals for yourself, how are you going to be able to bring a smile to any event or holiday?
There is, in my humble opinion, nothing more attractive than someone who can fully embrace who they are and arrive in situations with a smile. Many years ago in dancing I remember my coach asking me to choose one part of my body which I loved that I would then highlight and draw attention to with my clothes choices. I chose my legs at the time, but for others it’s their arms, their eyes or anything else. Whatever it is for you, I encourage you to point it out and start loving yourself a little bit more right now! Highlight that part as often as you need to, to remind yourself that you are beautiful.
Try this now
I think it’s important to explain that meditation and mindfulness doesn’t only happen in a quiet studio specifically for moments of quiet reflection, it can happen in moments throughout the day. So, today I want to share a tool that can help you through a tough day or a challenging situation. It’s a mindfulness exercise called STOP and it can help when you are struggling with a situation – be it fitness or health related or otherwise.
S = Stop what you are doing and sit down somewhere comfortable.
T = Take a breath or a few. This may sound basic but in stressful and tense situations we often forget to breathe deeply into the belly and start shallow breathing which adds to the stress and tension in the body. My advice here is to take three deep breaths.
O = Observe and notice what feelings and thoughts are present in that moment. Are you frustrated, angry or sad? It’s important to allow whatever emotions are present to be acknowledged so that they can then be cleared from your mind and body.
P = Proceed with your day when you are ready. You will notice that you will go forward in a calmer way with greater awareness. Know that you can repeat this exercise as many times as you need to during the day.