The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘body image.’ More specially, how we feel and think about our bodies. Last year, the Mental Health Foundation found that 30% of all adults (almost 1 in 3) have felt so stressed by body image and appearance, that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. . Body image issues can affect us all, even those who we might assume to be confident or happy in their own skin, and these anxieties can directly impact on mental health. We asked influencers @marilynetran and Fay Doyle about their own self-image, and how they endeavour to achieve a more positive perception of themselves through the ‘five things I like about myself’ challenge that we are pushing everyone to embrace this Mental Health Awareness week, and going forward. As an exercise in self-care, regularly reminding yourself of what you LIKE about yourself can be an effective means to achieve a healthier self-image, and a greater sense of confidence and wellbeing as a result. Mari Tran ‘I cannot count how many times I’ve been told I was too skinny, or how many times I’ve been asked if I eat or if I was sick. Body shaming comes in all shapes and forms unfortunately. I used to cover up and wear long sleeves, even in the summer, as I felt ashamed of the way I look. Now, I’ve come to the realization that we are all born different. We have different body shape and sizes and that’s what makes us all unique and beautiful. Here’s 5 things I like about my body. 1. My freckles are bold. 2. My dimples are cute. 3. My skin is soft. 4. My smile makes me approachable and friendly. 5. My long legs can walk very very fast and that’s practical when I’m late. Take some time to remind yourself everyday you are unique and beautiful.’
Fay Doyle ’My relationship with my body hasn’t always been where it is today, and it has certainly taken work to get to a place where I feel comfortable in my own skin. Working on myself image has been one of the main ways I’ve arrived at this place, but I think the majority of my self-confidence has come from getting into the outdoors and travel, because I now rely on my body for pretty much everything I do, I have such a huge amount of respect for her. The five things I’d say I love about my body the most are: 1. My ability to be kind to her and work with her intuitively – when I’m hungry, I eat, when I’m full I stop. When I’m tired, I rest. 2. Her constant ability to show me that my limitations were mainly in my mind – my body constantly surpasses physically where I think she can go 3. That I genuinely believe that she has a place in the world – when I struggled with my self image, I felt like I needed to hide away. Getting into what I do now has allowed me to be much more open and relaxed 4. I love my legs, feet and hands – they have allowed me to go to so many places and see so many wonderful things, my hands because they allow me to communicate through photography 5. I love that I have curves – in the past, all I wanted was a boyish, athletic body and it never happened, I was unhappy dieting, and felt miserable. Since I’ve embraced my curves, I’ve gotten on a lot further with my life. Your body does not need to look a certain way to do the things you maybe want to do. I’ve loved working so far with brands who really celebrate the fact that women all look different, and that is what makes us so amazing, our uniqueness!