body image body positive fall holidays outfits

being body positive during the holidays

shirt: Everyday Unicorns // sweater: Old Navy (similar) // skirt: similar leather skirt, similar green skirt // shoes: Susina via Nordstrom Rack (similar) // bandana: ASOS (similar) // purse: vintage Coach via Pieceology Vintage

photos by Chelsea Francis

The holidays are a stressful time for most everyone, so if negative thoughts about your body are heightened during this season, know you’re not alone! With flowing food, navigating family dynamics, and the addition of being away from home for some, it’s normal to feel a little off your game or out of your element as far as how you’re used to viewing or engaging with your body. If you’re entering the coming weeks feeling hyper-aware of your body or what you put in it or on it, check out these tips for being body positive during the holidays.

Wear comfy clothes you feel cute in

In the spirit of feeling good and dressing better, I encourage you to put a little more thought than you usually might into your cozy loungewear. When we feel like we look schlubby, we start feeling like we are schlubby. It may sound silly to think of sweatpants as an outfit, but putting together comfy looks you feel cute in can have a big impact on your mindset. Consider a matching set of printed pjs, a fun pair of leggings, or a statement sweater.

Exit all conversations about your body or anyone else’s

I’m not going to beat around the bush here; there is no reason why anyone should be talking about your body during the holidays. For some reason, when families get together, the body commentary seems to just flow from people’s mouths. It can be overwhelming to shut these conversations down in the moment, so here’s a few tips to keep in your pocket:

  1. Change the subject – As soon as the topic is brought up, change the subject. “Did y’all see that article about XYZ?” or “OMG I have the funniest story” can be a good jumping off point!
  2. Physically leave – This doesn’t have to be dramatic! Simply excuse yourself to the bathroom or for a wine refill. Need an emergency getaway? Have your bestie call to wish you a happy holiday so you can step away for a quick (or not so quick) phone call.
  3. Ask nicely – If the first two don’t stop the body talk, you may have to address it head on. It can be extremely vulnerable to do this, so make sure you’re feeling safe before bringing it up. Try starting with something casual like “I’d actually love if we could keep the focus of conversation away from our bodies.” If you’ve never heard of “I” statements, they can be a great tool for not making others feel defensive. Basically, try to word your sentences with an “I” at the front instead of something like “Can we not talk about bodies?” which might make someone feel attacked.

If the conversations persist, make sure you’re taking plenty of quality time for yourself to recoup and get yourself back in a positive mindset.

Moisturize during your “me” time

Speaking of taking time for yourself, make the most of your “me” time by being actively body positive. One of my favorite tricks is to spend about 10 minutes (or more!) after a shower, before bed, or when I’m getting ready in the morning just putting lotion on my body. Going slowly and cherishing every curve and crevice helps you appreciate your body in a new way. It can be a little uncomfortable at first if you’re really struggling with your image of yourself, so try to think of it as physically caring for your body so it can be its best. I like to spend extra time moisturizing the parts of me that bring me the most knee-jerk disapproval to help me see that every part is both beautiful and important.

Know that the food (and amount of food) you eat does not make you “good” or “bad”

Did you know that you need food to survive? I’m sure you do, but just a reminder that no food is inherently good or bad, and what you eat doesn’t make you less beautiful, valuable, or good either. Just think – there are plenty of bad people who eat kale and lots of awesome, wonderful, admirable people who eat pie. There is never a need to punish yourself for what you ate, so take good and bad off the plate and have another slice of pie if you want it!

Make a statement with this body posi tee from Everyday Unicorns

Maybe this is less of a tip and more of a recommendation, but I can’t help but feel awesome about all bodies – mine included – when I wear this shirt! I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to share it (actually I can, this fall has been wild), but my girl Valery and I partnered up to make this body positive tee for her shop Everyday Unicorns. In addition to spreading the good word to both yourself and others, part of the proceeds of this shirt are donated to End The Backlog, an organization I care deeply about that works to end our country’s obscene amount of untested rape kits.

What are your favorite ways to stay body positive during the holidays?

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  • Heebie Geebie

    You can also be a bit bossy-cool about nipping body talk in the bud – “hey! Ix-nay the body talk!” Sort of bark it authoritatively at people, and then smile. Or, I like to say in a friendly sing-song, “Remember, it’s rude to talk about other people’s bodies!” which only works if they were not talking about their own. Either way, you’re in the right, and so it’s okay to own it and demand compliance a little bit.

  • Justina Kenyon

    It’s so helpful to be reminded that we can just ask not to talk about bodies. I struggle with getting pulled into the body critiquing trap around the Holiday season (mine and everybody else’s). This year I’m making it a goal not to. Thanks, Chelsea!

  • abbymilly

    I love this post so much I’m going to bookmark it. So many good tips and tools in here. Thanks for sharing my lady love!