Graphic by Kate Haussman
The holidays are known to be a time of great merriment, but when stress and body image discomfort overwhelms the joy of the holidays, it can be difficult to embrace the holiday spirit. SEMO’s newly formed Body Positive Alliance explains why the holidays can be hard for some and how to love yourself while indulging in the holidays.
Vacations can be difficult for a number of reasons, one of which is the need to overeat. To add insult to injury, some family members may be insensitive to the topic of weight, making some people uncomfortable talking about their struggles with body positivity.
The newly formed Body Positive Alliance offers students struggling with self-love a place to share negative thoughts or actions related to their bodies.
Club President Katherine Hallman, a psychology major, and Sierra Skinner, a psychology major, are co-founders of the Body Positive Alliance. The Alliance began this fall and has held three monthly meetings so far, with the next taking place on December 1st at 8pm
Hallman pointed out that being around a lot of food can be difficult for some, especially around Thanksgiving.
Hallman said people who don’t have a good relationship with food may feel overwhelmed by the sight of so much food on the table and feel embarrassed if they eat too much or too little.
A good way to ward off the mind against negative thoughts that may arise during a holiday meal is to travel to a safe place in your mind. Hallman says that having developed coping skills for stressful times helps distract people from what’s going on.
During the club meeting, Hallman said some examples of coping skills could be positive affirmations or deep, calming breaths. A positive affirmation might consist of saying three good things about yourself.
Hallman said she had a hard time talking to her parents about body positivity and other sensitive topics. She said it helped her to be confident and assert herself when the issue came up, to make sure they knew how serious the issue is.
Even if your family doesn’t support your body image journey, Hallman said it helps to have a support system that does.
“Find people who can support you and then keep in touch with them. Having someone to talk openly about your issues with can really help you,” Hallman said.
According to Hallman, body positivity means accepting yourself in all aspects: body shape and size, race and gender.
Junior Applied Technology Major Carly Williams is a board member of the Body Positive Alliance where she is the graphic designer for the club’s advertising. After a disturbing experience with her parents, starving for food was the only coping mechanism she could offer herself.
“I believe that body positivity should be something, whether you’re skinny or fat, you should be able to look in the mirror and absolutely love what you see,” Williams said.
Williams said she wants the Body Positive Alliance to reach more people and provide a safe place for people struggling with their body image to share their experiences.
“This group is male, female, non-binary [people] and anyone who wants to get involved,” Williams said. “I would really like to see it grow [during] the time it is here [at] SEMO because I think it could really do that much good,” Williams said.
Contact Katherine Hallman at [email protected] to learn more about the Body Positivity Alliance at SEMO.