You had your empowerment session, you were flying high, but now some time has past and the buzz is wearing off...what now? Whether you had your session with our studio or somewhere else, this is just the empowerment boost you've been seeking!
Before we get started, I want you to know how proud I am of you for doing something so amazing for yourself!
One of the things our clients talk about is the feeling of empowerment and confidence they get after having done their session as well as after seeing their images and this is amazing!
However, after a few weeks, aside from when they take the time to look at their glorious images, they tend to fall back into old ways of thinking, feeling, and talking about themselves and their bodies!
Here at AshLyn Boudoir, I want you to leave with more than just glorious images and fleeting empowerment. It is important to me that you have a few tools to help you maintain the confidence that you got from your session for as long as possible, or at least enough to tide you over until your next session! You did an awesome thing by investing in yourself and your worthiness, so I want to ensure you get the best return on that investment possible - because, darling, YOU. ARE. WORTH IT.
1. PAY ATTENTION
The first step is just paying attention. Listen to the way you talk to yourself, the way you think about other women and their bodies, and then look for environments and people that tend to make you feel “less than”. At this point, you don’t have to take any action, just simply become aware of how you feel, think, and react to the world around you. Before you can move forward, you have to know where you are starting from!
ACTION: For the next week I want you to tally how often you say negative things to yourself (not just about your body). This includes self deprecating humor!! I want you to focus on how you reference other bodies/people and your anxiety around certain environments (the dinner table, at work, with a certain group of people).
2. BE PRESENT
Being present is incredibly important. One of the reasons you felt so “high” after your boudoir session is because you spent the entire time focused, present, and having a good time. Being present means partaking in an activity that makes you have to be focused on the task. This might mean taking part in learning a craft, playing a sport, practicing meditation, playing with your children (without distraction), reading, or journaling. Being present allows us to be grateful for what we have and it tends to leave us feeling fulfilled which means the usual negative thoughts have a harder time getting through.
ACTION: Think of an activity you used to love to do as a kid and take it up again OR practice mindfulness with guided meditations from YouTube or Spotify! Working with plants or gardening are also great ways to be mindful!
3. WHO ARE YOU FOLLWOING?
Rumor has it that you are an average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. This includes on and offline. Take a look at the social media accounts that you follow and be honest with yourself: do they make you feel worse? Do you feel jealous? Bitter? Angry? Sad? Consider the same for the people you surround yourself with. If everyone in your circle is vocal about their body image issues, you will be the same. If everyone in your circle loves to complain and talk about other people, you will be the same. Consider who you want to be, who you want to give your power (and energy!) to, and who might be having more of an effect on you than you think!!
ACTION: This week scroll through your Instagram/Facebook and unfollow 5 accounts that no longer serve you. (If you are worried that people will notice that you unfollowed, don’t. Most people who matter won’t care about trivial shit like that.) BONUS ACTION: START FOLLOWING ACCOUNTS OF PEOPLE WHO EMBRACE THE PARTS OF THEMSELVES THAT YOU STRUGGLE WITH
4. LOOK AT YOURSELF NAKED
This one might seem a bit silly at first, but looking at your naked body from head to toe will do wonders for helping you to ACCEPT what your body IS. We can want what we want, but we have what we have and the more we hide our bodies from our eyes, the more shocking it will be when we do see our naked body. Many times what we consider to be BAD about our bodies is just uncomfortable. We have been taught that if certain parts don’t measure up then they are bad - THIS IS WRONG INFO. Our body parts might be different than the ones shown in the media, but it doesn’t mean they are bad - it just means they are different. Looking at your body naked from head to toe will help you create a better relationship with your body and while it might start out a bit rocky at first (we have to get the negative stuff out first), overtime you will come to have a platonic relationship with your always-changing body.
ACTION: Set a timer for 2 minutes and look at your whole naked body in the mirror. For a few weeks, record your immediate thoughts (no matter how vile or mean) on paper or verbally to recognize just what it is you think. THEN, I want you to get curious. Ask yourself “Who taught me to think like this?” “Where did I learn this?” “Is this thought helping me be the best version of myself?” etc.
5. AIM FOR LIBERATION
There is so much talk these days about self LOVE and body POSITIVITY, but we seemed to have jumped right over neutrality or liberation. When we focus so hard on loving and trying to become body positive, we are still setting ourselves up to fail. Somedays you won’t like your body and you certainly won’t love it and that’s absolutely okay!! You are human and most of us have spent 25+ years getting to this point, we will not undo it all with 1 photoshoot or with a few bubble baths and kind words. It truly requires showing up every day! Body liberation means “I may not love my body today, but that’s not going to stop me from doing the things I want to do.” Not a fan of your tum today, but really wanna dance? Body liberation says go for it! You don’t have to love it, but don’t let it stop you from living your life. Body positivity focuses just as much on the body as negative body image does which is the problem - because at the end of the day, you are so much more than just your body. Your body is going to change from second to second, day to day, year to year, and so on - if we can learn to embrace and accept that our body is just what it is, we can then move forward to living a life full of joy and exploration!
ACTION: The next time you want to do something, wear something, be something, etc. but thoughts of “Oh I can’t do that because of my [insert body part] I want you to argue back and say ”I can do that because X body part has no impact on the joy I will feel by doing X activity!!” Your body should never be the thing that stops you from living your best life - after all, she’s along for the ride with you!
Put your glorious images to use by creating personal affirmation cards!
Put your favorite images around your house, on your phone, and then write some sweet letters to yourself using recipe cards or post it notes to remind you just how powerful and bad ass you are!
Studies have shown that by looking at photos of ourselves we not only become more used to what we are seeing, but also our brain literally recreates the same chemistry it had the day you did your amazing session!
When you trigger that beautiful memory of feeling sensual, amazing, confident, and strong while we laughed, maybe even cried, and shared the day together, your brain will give you a surge of empowerment!
I recommend looking at the photos every day, so putting them around yourself in places you frequent the most is ideal, but definitely making sure that on days when you maybe aren’t feeling yourself so much you can be reminded just how amazing you are and of the cool things that you have done with THIS amazing body!