I have been thinking a lot about body image and how many people are struggling with old patterns of ways of speaking to themselves and treating themselves over this time of turbulence.
During lockdown we had a lot of time to reflect inwards at ourselves and fall back into old patterns as safety mechanisms we had built up to look after our mental health ad wellbeing new all stripped bare. One of the things I have noticed most is how quick people are to criticise or apologise for their own appearance. It is like the progress we made on feeling like there could be space for all of us flipped back ten years. People apologise for weight gain, for not being at the gym enough, for not dressing in a way they think is appropriate… there seems to be a cloud of apology surrounding people as they exit their homes and start reconnecting with people back in the outside world.
I am sure a lot of is due to old coping mechanisms being freshly presented as defence techniques, and there are a lot of anxieties about going out and being around other people, having been apart from each other for so long, but I also wonder how much screen time has impacted this.
Not one have we spent a lot of time with only our own thoughts for company, but we have also seen more of ourselves than we have, probably at any other time in history. Most of us have been sat in meetings day in day out on our computers staring a little rectangle of our face. Yes it may be in a sea of other faces, but it is still there, staring back at you, and you get to watch you respond to things, how your emotions display, how other people react to you - and all of them - at the same time. I don’t think our brains were designed to cope with this much feedback about presumed judgement and certainly not judgement of ourselves. Especially under circumstance which are already testing and adding pressure to many other areas of our lives. Can you imagine sitting in front of the mirror for hours and hours every day? What might that do to the walk you think about yourself or judge your physicality? These last few years have mimicked this to an extraordinary level.
A few months ago. I discovered on zoom that you can click the top three dots on the top right of your frame and “hide self view” - meaning you do not have to stare at yourself all day. It is not an ultimate solution to anything that may have come up for you over this period, but it could serve as a way to reduce the impact form here on in.
If you have been struggling with this, or trying to logic your way out of it on your own, I hope this helps.
And if you do not want to try and logic your way out of it on your own and would like a bit of extra support, I offer one to one coaching sessions on body image and your brain, and how we see and speak to ourselves. If you are interested in more support, please do reach out.