How to avoid post lockdown body shaming on social media
Over the last few weeks, many Australians have emerged from COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions. After months of isolation and a lack of normal routines, it’s normal to feel anxious about returning to a pre-lockdown life. But it’s important to be kind to yourself and your body.
Conversations and social media posts around weight gain, needing to lose weight, or extreme dieting are not helpful during this time.
Negative body image conversations, that might position being fat as morally bad, unacceptable or something to avoid can be triggering for people living with, or at risk of an eating disorder.
We’ve been through a lot, and like any life stage, it’s normal and okay if your body has changed during this time. Remember, your body has kept you going through a global pandemic.
Here are our top tips to avoid shaming your post-lockdown body.
Practice body gratitude and body kindness
No matter what your size, shape, weight, or gender is; the practice of body gratitude and body kindness can help to build positive thoughts and feelings about our bodies.
Consider all the ways your body helps you move throughout your day that having nothing to do with your looks. Now, think about the last couple of months and how your body has kept you going through what has been an undoubtedly stressful time.
Focusing on what your body can do and finding ways to speak and be kind to your body can help to improve body image. It’s not always easy and is tougher for some people, but regular practice can make this easier.
Be mindful of the things you post online
Share with sensitivity – not everything has to go online and making jokes about others’ appearance or body shape is never okay. Consider that, as we emerge from lockdowns, some people may be more sensitive than others.
Report and block upsetting content
If something upsets or triggers you, and you feel like it is unsafe information, you can always report the content. This will then alert the social media platform to investigate, and if it is found to go against their guidelines it will be removed. You can also block content or users, which can take immediate effect in reducing the harmful content you see.
Mute conversations or take breaks from content that is unhelpful
If you find people, who you follow online are sharing unhelpful and toxic body talk in relation to their lockdown body – mute, unfollow, snooze. Don’t worry if you have to mute friends who are posting unhelpful content – they won’t be able to tell you’ve taken a break from their content.
Though, if you feel up to it, start the conversation with them about why their posts aren’t positive or helpful during this time. Some people might not even be aware that what they are posting is triggering, so education can go a long way. By reducing what you see, read, and hear you are protecting your body image and self-esteem.
Seek further support
If you’re struggling with feelings of shame relating to your body or relationship with food or exercise, talking helps, and support is available.
Connect with Butterfly’s qualified and compassionate counsellors, 7 days a week, 8am-midnight (AEST).