Mental Health Awareness Week takes place on 13-19 May 2019. The theme from the Mental Health Foundation this year is Body Image – How we think and feel about our bodies, #BeBodyKind.
This is everybody’s business but is especially challenging for young people. How we feel about our body can impact on our self-esteem and mental health. As a result, what are the most recent statistics:
According to a recent study from the Mental Health Foundation:
Last year we found that 30% of all adults have felt so stressed by body image and appearance that they felt overwhelmed or unable to copehttps://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/stress-are-we-coping
That’s 1 out 3 of us, however, the reality is 90% of us will never be able to attain the perfection that mirrored to us from the media. This often leads to feelings of failure, not being good enough and further concerns:
There is so much pressure from the media to be thin, hot, sexy, well endowed, being smart is not enough anymore. It is not limited to young woman, more importantly, young men feel an increasing need to be ” ripped” have a great body full of muscles and look good. What can you do as a parent during these challenging times, here are some ideas for you now!
Ideas on how you can support your Children and Promote Health
In short, we need to help our children to be realistic and put into perspective appearance is not who we are! So lets:
1.Model Body Love and Self Care
Here are some questions to reflect on :
- What does your body mean to you, do you feel comfortable in your own skin?
- Do you feel your body and mind work well together, or are they in conflict?
- How much time do you spend nurturing your body?
- If you become ill, do you push and drive through it or can you give yourself time to heal?
- How do you talk about your body to your children?
- What language do you model?
- Do you or other family make derogatory or mocking remarks about various body parts?
- Do you participate in a healthy amount of exercise?
Unfortunately, mothers do influence their daughters, if you are anxious regarding your self-image, then they might be too. Above all, try to use appreciative language when talking about your body
2. Take the Heat out of Mealtimes and Food
Mealtimes need to be a time for coming together, sharing and enjoying. In addition, promoting healthy eating and nutrition. What is the language you use around food?
- Do you have ” good” and “bad” foods?
- Do you express your worry about putting on weight?
- Are mealtimes stressful?
In short, we have an influence too, so model nutrition. There are some FREE informative leaflets on Healthy Eating at the >> British Dietetics Association<<
3. Empathise rather than Minimise
There is a lot of pressure for young people and adults and it is real. Listen to your children’s /teens concerns. You may need to ensure that you have ” special time” to foster the connection. During those moments, let them know your experience and how you’ve managed to change. We’ve all been in conflict with our body image!
4. Build Self Coping Skills
Life can be unfair and we may not look how we want too. Assist your child to build internal ways of coping such as self-acceptance, compassion and self-talk such as:
- This is going to change in time
- I am more than my appearance
- I am strong enough to deal with it.
So very often, it is our thoughts about ourselves/the situation that creates the suffering
5. Encourage them to be in their Body
Being human means the capacity to think and sometimes our thoughts take over! We are not our thoughts! Encourage your child to “feel” and ” be “in their body. Anything that resonates, dance, yoga, rugby, table tennis, mindfulness, and meditation. Whatever they choose, it’s going to promote all those endorphins!
6. Dont just have appearance as the attainment in life.
This is a challenge given all the current culture. I feel there is an increasing focus on the sexualisation of children. Although it very important for girls to feel good about their sexuality and equal to men, I am not sure it is balanced right now. I think we need to also encourage and promote meaning, purpose and being in life too!
To summerise, raising happy, confident children is a real pressure for parents right now. I wish you all the support, I will be changing the post throughout the week, so keep dipping in. Support the Mental Health Foundation:
#BeBodyKind campaign or follow me at m Facebook page, so contact me for a consultation if you are struggling. With Love Catherine