Image: My beach gear — sun hat, sun glasses, compression socks under compression leggings, supportive sneakers with inserts, ice pack strapped to my torso, fan and water bottle around my neck, spray bottle, and cooling towel.
We are living in an historical moment in which we are encouraged to go out, be ourselves, and show off our beach bodies, without feeling societal pressure to be perfect. Yet, what does it really mean to be a “beach body?” For many spoonies, physically being on a beach does not feel inclusive. We may not be able to swim due to a PICC line, or bask in the sun due to Lupus. We may not be able to wear trendy beach clothes.
It is important to love your body. Body positivity is so difficult when feeling resentful due to illness, but it can make such an impact to see your body as an ally in the fight, rather than the enemy itself. The visual reminders of our fight — whether weight fluctuations, rashes, medical devices, or literal battle scars — can also make it difficult to feel body positivity. It is so important to move towards being comfortable with your body, to love it in all its flawed glory.
But it’s also important to respect your body’s boundaries. Find ways to push through shame or discomfort to enjoy the activities you love. Make sure, though, to be aware of what the consequences are. Find the balance for yourself of how much you’re willing to risk. If going to the beach may knock you out for a week or land you in the hospital, is it worth it? These types of decisions are for you to decide, but should be made with intention. Strive to find supports that allow you to push the boundaries without too much risk.
So, this beach season, we hope you feel empowered to love your body no matter what it looks like, and not be ashamed! But also, learn your limits and take care of yourself in the process!
Need a little inspiration? Here are some amazing Friends in the Fight who are rocking their beach bodies!