Love Your Body Day is October 14. This important event was started by the National Organization of Women because in their words:
“Every day, in so many ways, the beauty industry (and the media in general) tell women and girls that being admired, envied and desired based on their looks is a primary function of true womanhood. The beauty template women are expected to follow is extremely narrow, unrealistic and frequently hazardous to their health. The Love Your Body campaign challenges the message that a woman’s value is best measured through her willingness and ability to embody current beauty standards.to raise awareness of the detrimental effects of media messaging on body image.”
It is important to point out that Eating Disorders are NOT caused by media pressure but the conditions described by N.O.W. sure don’t help any person in this world sustain a positive opinion about their body; and for many that impacts the choices we make about how we eat, how we exercise, and how we feel about ourselves.
Love Your Body Day is a welcomed relief from the pressures that abound in October that are partially generated by Halloween’s double message of, ” It’s okay to binge on candy…but you must also wear the sexiest costume possible.” I have dedicated a chapter in The Calmanac and written several blog posts about navigating through the month of October without relapsing into disordered eating patterns or body dissatisfaction, and you can access those resources on my website in the blog archives.
For this month I’d like to stress the fact that October contains ample opportunities to access the metaphor of change in the work we are doing with our clients or ourselves. Think of the changing of the colors, the weather, and harvesting festivals. In the Jewish religion it is the New Year and change is an option as the new book of our lives is written. But change is a tricky topic if you don’t address both sides of the coin (pun intended). What can we change and what are we not able to change? What do we want to change about ourselves and what are we being told to change in order to please others? What replaces some of the self-destructive thoughts and behaviors that we choose to change? Combining the theme of Love Your Body Day and working on healthy changes that center around self-acceptance and self-love is a way to honor both aspects of what change is all about.
Therapeutic Expressive Arts ProActivity(tm) of the Month
Title: Love Your Body Day Poster
Objective: Every day should be Love Your Body Day and can be, but change is not always easy and accepting what we can and cannot change is an integral component to healing. Create a poster that celebrates who you are right now in this moment. It is a powerful message to send to your mind and your body.
Materials: Scratch paper, pencils, markers, poster board, collage materials optional.
- Take a moment and think about the mission of LYBD. (See the Therapeutic Tidbit above).
- If you were going to create a poster representing your version of LYBD what would it be? What images would YOU use to declare to yourself that you are willing to accept yourself body and all for just one day?
- Using the art materials design your poster first on scratch paper because we all make mistakes and when you are satisfied with your design create your poster.
- Place your poster where you can see it everyday and give yourself the option to Love Your Body on another day other than October 14th.
- Optional: Share your poster with the LYBD website! They love to know that people are celebrating themselves!
Special Notes: The LYBD images included are in NO way intended to dictate what YOUR poster should look like.
This expressive arts directive is from contributing author Dr. Deah Schwartz. Once a month, Dr. Schwartz shares a therapeutic expressive arts therapy activity or idea to facilitate exploration, increased awareness and healing in the areas of body dissatisfaction and eating disorders. Some of these activities may need to be facilitated over more than one session, or modified for different ability levels, size of group, budget and size of work space. These directives may be used in individual or group therapy sessions or as self-help activities. Sometimes the activity itself is nothing new or brilliant but the OBJECTIVE of the directive is unique and specifically tailored to exploring issues related to body image and disordered eating. ENJOY! Fun is the main ingredient! You can learn more about eating disorder therapy here.