Ah swimsuit season. We anticipate the promise of sunny days but dread the anxiety of finding, fitting and flaunting our swimwear don’t we?
I’m not even going to pretend I’m cool about shopping for, let alone trying on a swimsuit. In fact I’ve managed to avoid hitting the dressing rooms for the past few years. There’s something so completely humiliating about seeing yourself naked in a 360 degree view mirror lit by spotlights from above. If you had any illusions whatsoever about the state of your head to toe wrinkles, they’re shed by the time you put your clothes back on.
Don’t get me wrong. I love myself and have a begrudging respect for my body. It’s served me well for decades and I’ve come to realize and accept my DNA. I belong in the apple category so I’ve always struggled to maintain that flat bikini belly you pear shaped ladies can rock without blinking. Actually I finally realized I was never going to have a flat bikini tummy – ever. Hello tankini!
How can we conquer the anxiety that rolls around this time of year when the promise of spring is in the air and sun, sand and surf are beckoning? What makes us so freaked out about wearing a swimsuit?
Part of controlling anxiety about how we look is mindset. You have to accept your body with all it’s jiggles and rolls. Literally love what your body does for you. Appreciate the decades of pleasure like love making or dancing your socks off.
Managing mindset is one way to control body anxiety; the other is taking care of your body. When we take care of the physical, the mindset doesn’t have to do all the heavy lifting.
Somewhere at the intersection of mindset and body image, we have acceptance. That’s the state we want to reach. Accepting our imperfections and limitations while stretching; literally and figuratively. Do the best you can with what you have. At this stage of the game, I’m going to be happy with some toning, because quite frankly my body isn’t going to reinvent itself overnight. I’ll always be an apple shape, but baring my tummy isn’t in the plan. I’m working on acceptance of what I’ve got. With a little prayer the perfect swimsuit is the first one I try on!
Here’s a Plan to Conquer Swimsuit Season Anxiety:
- Start stretching now. As soon as you wake up, reach overhead and stretch. Fit a short yoga routine into your day. A regular practice of yoga will stretch your spine, elongate your posture and keep you limber. Those slo mo Baywatch runs down the beach are easier when you’ve practiced your breath. Goes without saying good posture rocks a one piece. Who needs a miracle suit?
- Pick up your workout pace. Whatever your current workout, push yourself just a little more. Don’t go full Jane Fonda right from the gate, but slowly increase pace or time. Walking for 10 minutes a day? Up it to 30 or more. Head for the hills or a hilly walking path to boost the cardio. Head to a class after work. Zumba, Pilates or yoga help you de-stress and unwind after a long day. Better than hitting the pub.
- Practice meditation. If you’ve never meditated before it’s time to start. You’re probably wondering, how can meditating help me find a swimsuit? Meditation is going to help with the anxiety of perfection. We want to be perfect when we look in that changing room mirror, but we’re not. Meditating will help you accept being less than perfect. Try it.
- Start shaving calories. What’s your weakness? Mine is dessert. I need a sweet fix after each meal. If I have just a bite of dark chocolate or a small single portion of fruity yogurt I can skip the mega calorie dessert. Have one less glass of wine. Pass on the chips. Change to nonfat milk in your coffee or tea. Consciously choose smaller portions and resist going back for seconds.
- Shop or browse online before you hit the shops. Pinterest is great for this. Research different styles until you find a few to fit your unique shape. The tankini is great for those of us who like a two piece swimsuit but want tummy coverage. Short legs? Stay away from the boy short look and instead go for a high cut. Prints are great camouflage. I may try the high waisted bikini this year. One piece swimsuits can do smokin hot too.
- Shop for your swimwear at retailers that cater to a certain age. The dressing rooms should be relaxing and well lit without making you feel you’re in a lineup. Do a dry run and try on some clothing before you strip down for your swimwear session. Some stores do a great job of choosing a flattering bulb color, others don’t seem to have got the memo. Your dressing room should feel utterly private, no curtains flapping please!
Ok honey, I promise if you try these tips to minimize swimsuit anxiety you’ll be well on your way to acing the pool!