From being cooped up inside all of the time and practically living inside your parka, it is easy to feel the blues–especially when it comes to body image. Negative self-talk can be prominent in these winter months, especially as we approach spring break. I have heard all types of conversations in the dining halls, with the most popular tagline being,
I can’t eat this cookie because of my spring break bod.
I see people I know picking out parts of their bodies they do not like, exercising extreme amounts, and fantasizing over the sculpted and tan bodies of celebrities in magazines and on TV. With half of semester under your belt, I wanted to pose this question: How do you feel about yourself?
The real truth
It is easy to feel like you are the only one suffering from poor body image, but it is more prevalent than you thought–especially on college campuses. Here are some statistics from a body image campaign through dosomething.org:
- About 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to measures to achieve the body size they desire
- Only 5% of women are naturally born with the body type portrayed in media
- Men feel just as pressured by media and can feel inadequate about their bodies
Steps you can take today to have a better body image
The National Eating Disorders Association website has many resources on how to develop a better self-body image. Here are a few steps that you can take today to feel better about yourself:
- View yourself as a whole person. You are one complete individual, not just separate parts. Refrain from picking out certain parts of your body and realize that you are one cohesive unit.
- Find joy in all that you can do, from having the best laugh, scoring an A on your last chemistry midterm, or being a good friend. Think about the areas where you shine and make others and yourself happy.
- Surround yourself with people who make you happy. Being around people who are negative can really bring you down. Take action and be with people who boost your mood and lift you up.
- Be critical of social media. Just by scrolling through Instagram, you might think that some of your followers have perfect lives based on their social media photos. Realize that people don’t typically post about their bad days, and that photos can often be distorted. Magazines and TV shows can also display perfection and distortion of real life. Interested in learning more about the feelings behind social media? Read a great blog post.
- Write down things you love about yourself on Post-it notes and stick them on your mirror or computer for a daily reminder that you have so much to offer.
- Wear clothes that you feel comfortable and happy in. Wear your favorite color, or those shoes you feel amazing in.
- Always remember that there is something to be thankful for–whether that is being a Buckeye, having supportive friends, and the opportunity to attend such a great university!
Resources for you
Be sure to know when it is important to work with a professional. Here are some campus resources if you would like to seek additional information and help.
- Ohio State’s Student Wellness Center–This resource offers nutrition, wellness coaching, and additional links to help you learn more about body image
- Body Image screening tool–Take this short online test to see if you how feel about your body
- Ohio State’s Counseling and Consultation Services–For individual counseling, specializing in mental health
- Wilce Student Health Center–Ohio State’s student health center is here to make a doctor’s appointment