By Sami Schwartz ’13, Public and Community Health, Center for Health and Wellbeing Intern
What comes to mind when you think of February and love?
I’m going to guess you answered Valentine’s Day. And although many people dread this holiday, there is another thing associated with February and love: Love Your Body Month (LYBM).
LYBM is a month-long program on campus sponsored by The Center for Health and Wellbeing that aims to promote a healthy ideal about what is considered “beautiful” in our society and on our campus. Many students suffer from negative body image and eating disorders, and it is the goal that with this program, everyone can learn to love and respect their bodies!
So instead of finding that special someone to celebrate the holiday of love, why don’t you take a little time to reflect on loving yourself?
Personally, I have never been a fan of Valentine’s Day (for obvious reasons). I like to use this holiday as a reminder to reflect on the love I have for myself.
Here are a few tips I have incorporated into my daily life and my wish is that all of you take this advice and merge it with your daily routines through February and all year-long.
- Take care of your body. Extreme dieting and exercise are dangerous and harmful to your body. Instead, exercise to become strong. Eat healthfully to honor your body. Take a break from the gym and let your muscles relax. Treat yourself to one of your cravings. Everything is good in moderation.
- Don’t focus so much on your external appearance. Are you having a rough day or feeling tired? It’s okay to throw on a baseball cap and a pair of sweats. Remember that your personality that makes you a good person. Who you are at your core will take you so much further than what appears in the mirror or in your closet.
- Appreciate all your body can do for you. I have met people who aren’t as fortunate as most. Some don’t have limbs, some don’t have certain organs, some don’t even have the ability to look in the mirror and complain about what they don’t like. Understand that your body is a tool and works hard every day. Be grateful for that.
Try to imagine how different your life would be if you stopped obsessing over your body and appearance, or stopped looking at models in magazine or on television.
Well, you can have that different life you just imagined – you just need to focus on loving yourself a little more.
So, even if you do have a special someone to share your love with, try to share it with yourself.
I’ll leave you with this challenge for the month of February: Say one thing every day you love about yourself that isn’t related to your appearance. Here are a few examples to get you started: You’re amazing! You’re intelligent! You’re witty and funny! You are kind and caring.
Learn more about what’s going on for Love Your Body Month.
Check out Wellness @ Maryland’s “Love Your Body” board on Pinterest for positive affirmations on body image and self-love.