You've spent all winter (and spring) saying you were going to get back in the gym to ensure you could show off your body all summer... yet here we are... a few days away from Summer, and the only workout you've done was 15 reps of lifting that spoonful of ice cream to your mouth.  

It's ok! Don't be so hard on yourself. Life has changed drastically for all of us over the past year. We were thrown into a world of social isolation, remote working, and future uncertainty resulting from the unexpected pandemic caused by COVID. All year you binged on snacks and unhealthy eating habits that pulled you further and further away from #bodygoals. You were adamant that you would get it together "soon" because you have so many cute outfits and swimsuits you didn't get to wear last year that you HAVE to show off this year. And with more people getting vaccinated daily, we knew the world would open up again by summertime. Now that time has come, you've got your vacation getaways all lined up, and you and your friends are ready to catch flights and not feelings all hot girl summer... BUT... now you're feeling a little conscious about your body, and you're trying to figure out how to lose weight and whip your body into shape like yesterday, right? 

You aren't alone.

Body confidence may be difficult to achieve, regardless of size. It's so simple to compare ourselves to others while becoming progressively dissatisfied with the portions of our bodies we despise the most. Of course, this lowers our self-esteem even further and might influence our closest relationships while also ruining vacation mood. 

Stop sweating yourself! You do NOT have to be a "Negative Nancy" or "Bitter Betty," I've got you covered.

Here are 6 tips boost your confidence this summer:

1) Get to know, love, and appreciate your body. Avoiding the mirror and trying not to glance down in the shower will just make the situation worse down the line. Instead, spend some time looking in the mirror at your naked self. Really take a good, long look at your body. Take your time exploring and admiring every curve and crevice in the mirror. Every day, mention something good about a part of your body. Begin by verbally emphasizing what you love and appreciate. When you get to the sections you don't like, try to think of anything positive about them. If you can't think of anything, you'll need to figure out why you dislike that area so much and make a note of it so you can start acting to change your thoughts on those parts. This will begin to alter the way your mind perceives your body. Remember that you are your own worst critic, and things aren't always as bad as they appear to you.

2) Dress the part. You will gain confidence by putting effort into your appearance. When you're happy, it shows in the way you carry yourself. Wear lingerie or clothing that makes you feel sexy. Not sure how to find something sexy you're confident wearing? Trying to focus on pieces that flatter your figure or highlight the parts that you do love. 

 3) Get up and get moving. Health is wealth. What are you doing for your health? Exercising for as little as 30 minutes a day builds endurance, improves stamina, and -- you guessed it, can improve your mood, energy, make you feel lighter. If you have gym anxiety, you can dance around the house, walk through your neighborhood, play outdoors with the kids, or indoors with your partner (wink). Overall, you will not only feel better, but you will also begin to feel more confident.

 4) Celebrate more than your physical self. It's difficult to remove yourself from judgment in a society when looking like an IG model and being shaped like a coke bottle appears to be the new standard, and photo likes on social media are how popularity is calculated. This is why we should also focus on the non-physical aspects of ourselves. Are you artistic or crafty? Do you know how to yodel? Are you excellent with money? What about style? Maybe you're incredibly hilarious. Whatever you are or can achieve, remember that you are more than a physical body, and your value extends far beyond a scale (or that skimpy 2-piece bikini you've been holding on to as motivation). Whether we realize it or not, these factors have a significant impact on our level of confidence.

5) Talk to your friends. It's easy to believe that we're the only ones who are unhappy with our bodies. However, you'd be amazed how many of your friends struggle with body image issues as well. You would also be surprised at where their insecurities lie, especially if it's something you believed they were fully confident about. Connecting with your friends on such intimate topics can strengthen your relationship with them, and just talking about these matters can help boost your confidence.

6) Stop comparing yourself to others. When we look at others, we often compare their best traits to our worst. We focus on their accomplishments while overlooking our own, leaving us feeling inferior. This is an unrealistic comparison that might exacerbate your anxieties and lack of self-confidence. When you start comparing yourself to others, you take away your joy and confidence. Because of human nature, I realize this is easier said than done. Don't be concerned with how others appear or what they own. Instead, concentrate on your self-worth and strive to improve yourself every day. Don't hold yourself to the standards of others; rather, set your own. Be true to yourself. Accept yourself for who you are.

There is no such thing as a "perfect" summer body. In reality, the notion of a summer body was created as a way for  advertising companies to sell weight-loss products, cosmetic surgeries, fashion and beauty items.

Rise beyond the desire for self-criticism and accept yourself as the amazing person that you are.