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Body Image

  • Articles, Body Image, Confidence, Health, Mental Health, Puberty

    What Body Positivity Means to Me

    Three girls smiling at the camera

    Body Positivity In Our Society

    We live in a society that claims to be “body positive’, but doesn’t accept all types of people. I always hear “every person is unique” and I get that. I don’t understand why everyone isn’t celebrated. I don’t mean that we should all get participation trophies or be praised for anything we do, but everyone deserves to be comfortable and welcome without exception. It’s true that we are all unique. We are different shapes, sizes, and colors, but we should feel the same – confident and comfortable.

    I was taught to be “body positive”. What does that even mean? Why do other peoples bodies concern me? That’s just it. Other peoples bodies don’t concern me, and my body doesn’t concern anyone else. Is that body positivity? Not really. It definitely isn’t my place to tell anyone else what to do with their body. Different things empower different people. I don’t think to be body-positive means that you can’t make observations about other people’s appearance, but I believe they do need to be empowering.

    I know that the celebration and representation of all people can be directly related to self-confidence, so why isn’t diverse representation more common? It’s because we, as a society, have become used to a particular image being showcased. Some people cannot see themselves in this image, so they begin to feel inferior. Most people’s first reaction is to be judgemental. I’ll admit it. Sometimes I see someone and think. What are they wearing? but then I remember they can wear whatever works for them. It doesn’t matter what I think. If I don’t like it, then I won’t wear it. We have to train ourselves not to be critical of others because we are constantly reminded of something that doesn’t really exist. The “ideal body” cannot be captured in one image. Everyone has a different body, and that is enough, we shouldn’t accept or strive for one type of body. 

    On the other hand, we are too harsh on ourselves. I am. You are. We are all hypocrites. We tell others they should be confident, and turn around to belittle ourselves. At the same time, we get dressed, stand in front of the mirror, and pick ourselves apart. This would look better if my stomach was flat…or if my thighs were smaller, I’d be happy. The truth is, I’ll never be 100% satisfied with my appearance, and that’s normal. It’s important to remember that body positivity is for everyone – including ourselves. 

    I decided to write about how contradictory our society is when it comes to body image, because of a song I love. “Body” by Julia Michaels begins with an apology that we should all take notes on. She is apologizing to herself. She knows that she makes herself lose confidence and feel insecure. She knows that she shouldn’t treat herself like that, but she still does. All she wants is to love her body like she loves others’ and they love hers. Why are we like that? Why can we see the beauty in others, and others can see it in us, but we can’t see it in ourselves?

    Personal Relationship With Body Positivity

    My relationship with my body is constantly changing. My entire childhood I was a gymnast. I was short, strong, and could never find jeans that fit. Around the age of 11, I got taller. I was thinner, and the strongest I had ever been. Still, I hated my body. Then came an injury that ended gymnastics forever. For the rest of middle school, I was getting zero exercises and eating terribly. I was depressed. I hated myself, and I hated my body even more. The little bit of confidence I had was gone. I wouldn’t even look anyone in the eye.

    Then high school started, and I was more comfortable with myself. I was adapting well. I was doing everything I wanted to – succeed academically and socially. Spring semester of my 9th-grade year, I got sick. I lost my appetite almost immediately, I was on a lot of medications, and the doctors were running dozens of tests that were not providing any answers. Nothing. I was also participating in swim team, so I was burning lots of calories and not eating any. Obviously, this resulted in rapid weight loss( almost 45 pounds in a few weeks). The sad part is I liked how I looked. I felt confident. Friends told me “Wow! You look great! Have you lost weight?” Yes, I did lose weight, but I was so unhealthy. I was ill. The time I felt most confident was when I was thin from illness…how twisted is that?

    Remember that how you feel is always more important than how you look. 

    We should live in an environment where every shape and size is not only welcomed but celebrated. It isn’t difficult to be kind to those around us and ourselves. We all need to stop trying to fix what we see and focus on how we make each other, and ourselves, feel.

    Want to read more about body positivity and self-love? Check it out here and here!

  • Articles, Body Image, Confidence, GirlSpring.com, Health, Lifestyle

    5 Small Tips for Loving Yourself More

    body confidence

    Everyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I’ve struggled with my body confidence throughout my whole life. My extra pounds and my acne when I was younger, being taller and bigger than everyone, maybe too muscular when I used to weightlift or having no muscles at all now that I’m recovering from an injury. There’s always something to complain about my body or the way that I look… I can never be truly satisfied. 

    These past few months, after a guy that I was seeing decided to end our relationship because he “couldn’t love me if I didn’t love me”, I’ve decided to change the pattern. See, since I had been feeling the same thing for almost 22 years and it wasn’t helping me at all. Maybe it was time to try something else! And I still don’t know how, but I’ve managed to make huge changes in my confidence. So what better way to celebrate these changes than to share them with everyone else?

    Here are 5 small tips that I’ve used to accept and care for myself more:

    1. Tell the voice in your head to shut up. I know… It’s like every time I look at myself in the mirror, or I see myself in a picture, there’s an instant voice yelling “ugh… disgusting!” Well, it’s time to make a conscious effort to shut it down. I understand it will be hard, but try covering it up with positive thoughts such as “I look amazing!” “I feel great!” At first, it might seem unnatural, but after a while, you can revert the habit.
    2. Take a look at your beautiful self in the mirror. If you feel uncomfortable with yourself, it’s highly likely that you avoid seeing yourself in a mirror. I used to close my eyes a lot when I had to see myself in some sort of reflection. I didn’t want to face what was in front of me. It’s time to quit that: see yourself carefully, every little part of you. Look at yourself in the eyes and get to know who you are. 
    3. Make a list of all the wonderful things you’ve done in your life and what you’re capable of doing. When I feel sad, I remember something amazing that I did a while ago: maybe that time that I did stand-up comedy on TV, or how strong I was in a sports competition. I also take time to be grateful for what’s to come, for the many things that I am capable of doing. Body confidence to me is not about how I look, but about what I am able to do. When you take some time to remember what you’re good at and the things you’re passionate about, you accept your own self more.
    4. Be careful with social media! Social media can be very toxic. When your feed is full of pictures of what beauty is supposed to feel like, or hurtful tips about “how you should achieve your summer body” (ALL bodies are summer bodies!) it’s very hard to get out of the negative spiral. We spend lots of hours surfing through social media, so my suggestion is to clean up your following list. Be careful with who you take advice from, and try to find other inspiring things rather than just pictures of other people. 
    5. Get out. Go for a walk! Work out! Play the piano! Do whatever makes you happy. Appreciate time with yourself, do things that are healthy for you, follow your passions. I find that when I have an amazing day just with myself, I am the happiest when I go to sleep.

    Learning to love yourself can be a long journey, here are some tips on self-care that can help you along the way!

  • Articles, Body Image, Confidence, GirlSpring.com, Makeup

    The Blessing and Curse of Make-Up

    make up

    Every girl comes to a point when she must decide if she wants to begin the journey of wearing and using make-up or not. Some girls don’t see the point or hate the feeling of practically painting their faces. Others enjoy the whole process and have fun with it. Then there are those who wear it because they are expected to. She might think she can’t impress her crush unless she’s dolled up, or she doesn’t look professional without it on in a workspace. There are also girls who feel like they don’t look good without it. Not everyone is blessed with genes that give them the looks society likes to see.

    Everyone has insecurities about something.

    Some people can hide them well while others become easily uncomfortable because of them. Make-up does a good job of how hiding the things you hate and enhancing what you love. It can give people confidence when they appear in public where they might not be without it. Make-up even covers those pesky blemishes that everyone hates. It does so many different things: give you a smaller nose, the illusion of cheekbone, well-maintained eyebrows. However, not everyone wants these things. They might not know how to do these things, but the more common these things become, the more they want to figure it out.

    With more commonalities in using make-up, expectations are changing. The main trend right now is having perfect eyebrows. Many different products have been made just for this use. There are pencils, gels, brushes, and stencils all dedicated to eyebrow shaping. But even with all this, does it truly matter if eyebrows are rectangular going in and thin out? They are just hairs on your face. Making your eyebrows look nice is something that some enjoy doing, but you shouldn’t feel like you have to do it. It can be hard to accomplish the perfect brows as well.

    Make-up is a tool to help make people appear nice and well put together. However, it also could make people afraid to ever go out without it.

    Any time you go out, you might be afraid of running into someone you know or you could meet someone. Also trying to look your best makes it hard to know when it’s okay to dress down and not worry about it. This only leads to more insecurities. Never feeling your best unless your face is covered doesn’t make you feel better about yourself as a whole. It could embarrass you more to be without it.

    Beck Lomas got over the fear of having to look good all the time, check out our post about loving our own imperfections.

    For some people, make-up just feeds into the idea that you’re not good enough. If the only way to get a job is based on whether or not you look put together or not and the only way to do that is to wear some make-up then what are credentials or experience even for? The way you look won’t tell an employer the type of worker you are. This also feeds into the idea that women have to wear make-up. It can make something fun become a chore instead.

    Make-up should be something that women actually get a choice in using.

    Make-up can become expensive and start to feel like a necessity. Women shouldn’t be expected to have product on their face to look nice. They shouldn’t be under the impression that the only way to get someone else’s attention is by wearing eyeliner and having boxy brows. Make-up needs to be something that women want to wear because they feel like it not to meet society’s expectations of what a woman looks like. If you despise wearing make-up then don’t put it on. Don’t feel like make-up is something that you absolutely need to have. It is okay to be bare-faced in public. Guys don’t need make-up, and they still can look good. Guys can wear make-up if they want to. Girls should be the same. Do what you’re comfortable with.

  • Articles, Birth Control, Body Image, GirlSpring.com, Health, Puberty

    Glowing Up While Growing Up: Normalizing Hormonal Changes During Puberty & Beyond

    puberty

    Guest Post

    Do you have a habit of putting your body down? Maybe you spend hours picking at blemishes in the mirror or comparing yourself to other girls around you or online. It’s possible that self-criticism has become so normalized you may not even realize that you’re doing it.

    Beginning at puberty, we experience dozens of physical changes from head to toe. When we notice these changes in others, we tend to draw comparisons. That being said, each female body was designed to blossom differently. Nonetheless, we become inclined to scrutinize and criticize every detail of our bodies. Accordingly, as our bodies change, so can our self-image.

    But our formative years are when we’re just starting to figure out who we are and who we want to be. It’s with great hope that we all strive to be happy and healthy through good self-esteem and self-worth. This is only possible if we recognize, understand, and accept our different features. Much like plants, each body grows in its own unique way but is still beautiful and worth celebrating and admiring. We’re here to let you in on what you need to know about hormonal body changes during this time in your life and how you can love and accept your body through it all.

    Acne

    The first thing we typically observe in the mirror is our face – especially if we have acne. Acne is the most common skin condition in the nation. Almost everyone experiences some breakouts in the course of their lives. Acne comes in many forms: blackheads and whiteheads, papules and pustules, as well as nodules and cysts. These blemishes can pop up in more places than just our face. They can appear on our neck, chest, shoulders, and back too. It’s extremely common for girls to encounter acne breakouts due to hormonal changes, like beginning their menstrual cycle

    However, it’s easy to forget just how normal blemishes are when we see pictures all around us of girls with “flawless” and “clear” skin. Although acne isn’t harmful to our physical health, it can most certainly take its toll on our mental and emotional health. Instead of trying to conceal or hide your acne, embrace it! Start by making positive changes to the things you surround yourself with regularly, like social media. Delete photo retouching apps on your phone and avoid using filters on your photos that give a false sense of what normal skin is. Your self-esteem will thank you! If you find that you’re still comparing yourself to others, unfollow any social media accounts that make you feel “less than” and replace them with body-positive accounts that promote self-love.

    Body Hair

    When exploring the different changes that come along with puberty, body hair is one that can cause some unsettling feelings. As you develop, you will likely notice more hair growing in new places, like your legs, underarms, and pubic area. Despite its taboo connotation, body hair is a good thing – it’s a sign that puberty is right on track! Not to mention that pubic hair, in particular, acts as the first line of defense against UTIs and yeast infections by preventing the transmission of bacteria

    Body hair might be concerning still for some girls, especially if it’s excessive or growing in less conventional areas such as your face, chest, and stomach. In this case, it may be a sign of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is a common condition of females that can cause other health problems, including irregular or missed menstrual periods. So it’s important to express these concerns to a doctor who may suggest you try hormonal birth control pills (also known as combination pills). Our ovaries make the hormones estrogen and progesterone. These regulate our menstrual cycle. Our ovaries also make androgens, which can be responsible for unwanted hair growth. Hormonal birth control pills containing estrogen and progestin can balance out your hormones to reduce hair growth and regulate your period.

    In any case, body hair can serve as a reminder to take care of your body for you and your health. Not for the approval or acceptance from anyone else! Whether you choose to let it grow or let it go, good hygiene and health precautions should be at the forefront. If you embrace your body hair, keeping your skin clean can prevent the buildup of oil, dead skin cells, and other things that can clog hair follicles and cause ingrown hairs. Likewise, if you decide to shave, talk to a trusted adult about the best shaving practices to avoid any “bumps in the road,” like ingrown hairs that can lead to infections.

    Growth and Development

    Speaking of estrogen, it’s also the hormone behind the growth and development of your breasts, which is one of the first signs of puberty. Because of our unique genetic makeup, breast size varies between every girl. Keep in mind that everyone’s body develops at a different rate, and all size breasts are perfectly acceptable! It’s also normal to experience growing pains while your breasts are developing. Protecting and supporting your breasts with a good first bra can help with discomfort. Girls whose breasts are less developed may consider a training bra or sports bra. Those who have developed further may choose a bra with a soft cup. It’s important that your bra is comfortable and fits correctly to allow your breasts to grow properly!

    Along with breast development, you will also notice growth spurts in both your height and weight, as well as a curvier shape to your body. Not only are these changes normal, but they are also a healthy sign of development! Your body is producing more fat to allow for fuller hips, thighs in order to support your body as it grows. Because of this sudden growth, it’s also quite common to have stretch marks. As the name implies, your skin stretched quickly to accommodate your body’s changes.

    You may even notice the development of cellulite. Cellulite is just fat storage underneath our skin that can create the appearance of a lumpy, uneven surface. Everyone has some fat under their skin, and cellulite during puberty is, like all other changes, normal and healthy! Despite what society leads us to believe, cellulite isn’t extra fat; but rather a shift in how and where our bodies store fat now that we’re growing

    Let’s be honest; it can be challenging to welcome these changes to our bodies at first. The most beneficial thing you can do for yourself is to find the good in all of it! Focus on all of the things you appreciate and like about your body. You might say things like, “I love that my body is growing because it means I’m getting stronger, which lets me run faster, jump higher, and dance more!” Don’t let comparisons put a damper on your body-image or cause you to neglect your body’s needs. It can help to remind yourself: “I will fuel my body with the love and nutrients it needs. I deserve a healthy body and no one’s going to take care of it except for me!”

  • Articles, Body Image, GirlSpring.com, Health

    Love the Skin You’re in

    Is there really such a thing as the “perfect body?” Even models and actresses who are deemed to be the pinnacle of beauty are judged and insulted on the covers of magazines, the Internet, and entertainment TV shows. Most of the pictures we see are airbrushed or photoshopped, anyways.

    We See the Infatuation with Our Bodies Everywhere… Since Before We Can Remember

    If even our idols are body-shamed, is there any hope for us “normal” people? If stars have to alter their bodies to feel comfortable in their own skin, how are we expected to?

    Allow me to let you in on a little secret: the perfect body doesn’t exist. It’s a myth. It’s a fabrication.

    Nowadays, Instagram models, fitness gurus and everyone in between strives to achieve body perfection with a small waist and big butt. But guess what? The nineties were all about big boobs, long legs, and thigh gaps. Before then, especially during the fifties, the “hourglass figure” was all the rage. Dating all the way back to the Renaissance, you exhibited your status and wealth through your weight; being well-fed was the ultimate test of beauty.

    Marilyn Monroe, one of the most well-known sex symbols, would be considered “fat” by today’s model standards. Let that sink in.

    Marilyn Monroe

    Need help keeping up a positive body image? Look at some ideas here!

    Just because We See what’s ‘Ideal’ doesn’t mean We Have to Be That

    Although society always seems to have its own opinion on beauty, none of it really matters. Loving yourself and embracing the body you’re in is the highest form of perfection.

    Some girls are always going to carry a little extra weight on their stomach, regardless of how much cardio or toning they do. Some girls will have cellulite and stretch marks their whole life, but others might devote their energy towards gaining weight, forever unable to do so. Girls with naturally bigger boobs might save all their money to receive a breast reduction, while others dream of buying implants their whole life.

    No matter the body type, every girl spends years and years trying to come to terms with how they look; some never reach clarity and acceptance. In this era of social media, body-shaming and comparison worsen the issue.

    It may take some time, but we all need to make more of an effort to embrace not only our bodies but everyone else’s as well, supporting other girls whenever we get the chance. There will be some difficult days, but we all need to accept the same mantra: every body is the perfect body.

    body positive

    Everyone’s journey to being healthy is different, check out one girl’s story here.

  • Articles, Body Image, Confidence, Fashion, Home Life, Mental Health

    How to Turn a Bad Day Around

    Girl down in the dumps

    There are lots of ways for a day to go bad: school, bad break ups, and even family drama can turn a standard day into a nightmare. Sometimes life can get really frustrating to the point where you just want to stay in bed for the rest of the day. Through self-care, like this routine on www.girlspring.com, you can feel good in the long run, sometimes all you need is an instant pick-me-up to straighten out the day. 

    Here’s a list of things you can do to get your bad day back on track.

    Have a good laugh

    Laughing is hard, especially if you’re not in the mood for it – but sometimes that’s all you need to drive the negative vibes away. There is even scientific evidence to back this up, with NBC News reporting that smiling can trick the brain into happiness. The news site reported that smiling “spurs a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing certain hormones including dopamine and serotonin.” The hormones you need to make you happy. If you feel like you need a quick chuckle, Buzzfeed is full of jokes, as is Tumblr, Reddit and Twitter. There are many ways to pick yourself up and a quick internet search could put a smile back on your face in no time.

    Exercise

    We know what you’re thinking: who needs exercise? It’s tedious, sweaty and an absolute chore. Well, who said anything about push-ups? Exercise can be something as fun as ice skating, swimming or biking around the neighborhood. Exercise is a refreshing way to boost your mood. Very Well Health explains that you only need to do 30 minutes a day to get the benefits, particularly when it comes to improving your mood. It can even be something as simple as walking the dog.

    Wear your favorite clothes

    Clothes are like a second skin, and can affect or even reflect your mood for the day. A study by the University of Queensland showed that we either dress how we’d like to feel, or, more often than not, how we’d like others to think we’re feeling. This is why going out can be such a chore, especially if you’re having a bad day. The trick is to have go-to clothes for going out and clothes for staying at home. If you are at home, relax in the comfiest clothes you can. Sometimes all you need to do is put on your favorite comfy pants to lift your mood. The stretchy bootcut yoga pants on Woman Within are made from a soft knit material and have an elastic waist in order to provide maximum comfort – the definition of home relaxation. The clothes you wear at home should be easy to slip into and you shouldn’t have to worry about how they will fit your body.

    Meet friends

    On the other hand you could go out. And why do it alone when you can invite a couple of friends? Go out and see a movie – or invite them over for some pizza. This isn’t about forgetting what ruined your day, but creating new memories that will top any bad experience. That way when you look back, the first thing you’ll remember is how much of a good day it was.

    Treat yourself

    Craving for some sugar? Get a tub of ice cream. Something greasy? Order pizza. Or maybe it’s been a while since you did your nails. Treating yourself doesn’t have to be expensive. There are plenty of things to do at home, like a skin-care routine, watch TV or take a long nap that will help lift your mood. In the chaos of the life, sometimes the best thing you can do is find some quality time for yourself. It is a good way to recharge your batteries, especially after a really bad day.

  • Body Image, GirlSpring.com, Music

    A Perfect Spring Playlist

    spring playlist

    A Perfect Spring Playlist!

    Spring is here and what better way to welcome this flowery season than with good music! A link to a homemade spring playlist is available below. This playlist consists of forty songs, a short motivational speech, and over two hours of music to make this spring a good one!

    Spotify Spring Playlist

    If Spotify does not work for you, below is a list of the songs included 🙂

    The Weekend –
    SZA, Calvin Harris
    Spring Vacation – The Beach Boys
    Just A Dream – NellyLove is Mystical – Cold War Kids
    A Sky Full of Stars – ColdplayThe Bones – Maren Morris
    Magic In The Hamptons – Social HouseNever Go Back – Dennis Lloyd
    Peach – Broods365 – Zedd, Katy Perry
    Don’t You Give Up – DansuGeneration Why – Conan Gray
    I’ll Be There – King Henry, Sasha SloanNew Light – John Mayer
    Above The Clouds –
    SYDE, Olivia Reid
    High Hopes – Panic! At The Disco
    Bet on Yourself –
    Fearless Motivation
    Fly – Marshmello, Leah Culver
    Big Plans – Why Don’t weSunflower – Post Malone, Swae Lee
    Beautiful – Bazzi, Camilla CabelloYou Seemed So Happy – The Japanese House
    Polaroid –
    Jonas Blue, Liam Payne
    Better Not – Louis The Child, Wafia
    Saturday Sun – Vance JoyBecause I Had You – Shawn Mendes
    Spirits – The StrumbellasTwo of Us – Louis Tomlinson
    Crush Culture – Conan GrayJust Hold On –
    Steve Aoki, Louis Tomlinson
    Watch – Billie EilishComethru – Jeremy Zucker
    Kings & Queens – Mat KearneyConnection – OneRepublic
    Sucker – Jonas BrothersCity of Stars –
    Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone
    Talk – Khalid, DisclosureHere With Me –
    Marshmello, CHVRCHES
    No Sleep – Martin Garrix, Bonn