City Lit Blog

Mental health: how to be kinder to your body

Story added 17th May 2019


It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and the theme in 2019 is all about being kinder to your body. The Mental Health Foundation says that how you feel about your body –  and how comfortable you are with your body image – can affect your emotional wellbeing and mental health.

Mental Health Foundation research found that a third of people had ever felt anxious or depressed because of concerns they have about their body image. A big cause of these concerns is the impact of being surrounded by people with ‘perfect’ bodies in the media. A fifth of people in the survey said they were affected negatively by images used in advertising and on social media. Many felt pressure to look a certain way and felt bad about themselves because they could never reach those unrealistic ‘ideals’ anyway.

The campaign hashtag for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is #BeBodyKind. With that in mind, we’re offering some tips to help you think about being kinder to yourself and your own body…

Review your social media

Do you find that you compare yourself unfavourably with others on social media? And feel bad about yourself when you do this? Ask yourself how you’re really benefiting from looking at other people’s pics that have filtered and Photoshopped? Much of the social media world isn’t real. Note how you feel – and remember you always have the choice to unfollow.

Stay active

One of the most effective ways of being kinder to your body is to stay active. You don’t have to run a triathlon to achieve wellbeing. There are loads of ways you can stay fitter and healthier. Why not try one of our fitness & relaxation courses at City Lit? And then treat yourself to some pampering as well! 

Speak nicely to yourself

If you find you call yourself ‘fat’ or ‘lazy’ or ‘stupid’ then this won’t help with your body image. Try to catch yourself next time you do it and substitute a nasty word for a kinder word. Would you allow a friend to speak to you that way? No. So imagine what a kind friend would say to you instead.

Talk to someone

If you have concerns about your body image – or unhealthy behaviours related to your feelings about your body – then you don’t need to suffer alone. Talk to someone. The City Lit Counselling Service offers counselling to support students on courses at City Lit, and they can also signpost you to specialist support if you need it. You can reach the counselling service on 020 7492 2539. The Samaritans (call 116 123) are available 24 hours a day if you need to speak to someone quickly. And mental health charity Mind (call 0300 123 3393) will be able to let you know of support services in your area.