June 10, 2020

The Impact of Lockdown Life On Body Confidence

How to love your body during lockdown.

I hope everyone has been surviving lockdown and managing to keep well. I am sure I’m not the only that has found this experience to be a real rollercoaster of emotions but what I hadn’t anticipated was the effect it would have on my body confidence.

In normal circumstances I consider myself to be very body confident, it’s something I’ve worked hard on and I guess it’s become part of my personal branding. I’ve modelled swimwear with Ashely Graham and represented older women in several lingerie campaigns, so I’d like to think I had the body confidence issue covered!

During the first few weeks I found myself joining every online exercise class that was thrown at me, some of which I really enjoyed, others began to feel like a chore. After a few weeks, life settled into a new normal routine and I’ve thrown myself into working on projects and recording Out of the Bubble podcasts, so I've had less time available. That’s when the guilt set in, I started feeling bad about myself because I wasn’t doing as much exercise or healthy living as friends and others on social media seemed to be. The saying “Comparison is the thief of joy’ is so true and this was another reminder of that.

I’ve continued to shoot from home and recently completed my first paid home shoot since lockdown began, for a lingerie brand. Whilst I am really happy with the final images it took much longer to shoot as I found myself being super critical and really harsh about my body and the fact that I’d put a few pounds on. For the first time in years I even weighed myself. In normal circumstances I wouldn’t have stressed about this but during lockdown it’s caught me off guard and I admit to having a small meltdown about it. I quickly remembered it's ok not to love your body every single day but you have to accept it, that's much more manageable and realistic.

I am happy to say this blip didn’t last long and I managed to get myself out of those negative thoughts, but it did stop me in my tracks and make me analyse why I reacted this way.

We have been bombarded by social media posts and advertising selling exercise classes and telling us that we should be all improving our lives during lockdown. How many times have you heard someone tell you’ve they’re learning a new language or attending every yoga class they can find? Whilst all this self-improvement is amazing if that is right for you how about those people that are just trying to survive and get through each day in their own way. There is no right or wrong way. Add this to the glib remarks added to articles and posts about weight gain it’s no wonder peoples' body confidence can be knocked.

Here are some tips that have helped me.

Unfollow/Mute accounts that have made you feel negative about yourself. Social media can be such a positive place if you carefully curate it to suit you and can be changed depending on your own state of mind.

If you are wanting to be more active, make sure you do the activities that you genuinely enjoy. I’ve started dance classes with The School of Strutt which I love and it doesn’t feel like exercise.

Don’t be camera shy. Start taking selfies and really look at yourself. Look at your face and recognise the person looking back at you. I found this really therapeutic and it was like reuniting with a stranger. It makes you stop and remember who you are and what you’ve achieved to get to this point, it helps put life and body insecurities into perspective.

Start a gratitude diary. I’ve used this lots of times over the years and began it again during lockdown, it helps remind you of all the positive, often small things each day to be grateful for.

Start the day thinking of one thing that you like about your body and make it your daily mantra, one of mine is ‘I love my smile’ other examples could be “I love how strong my legs feel’ or “I love the colour of my eyes’.

Keep repeating it to yourself throughout the day and you will be surprised how quickly it can make a positive difference. Once it becomes a routine you can then add more body parts and keep adding to your list.

Lastly, be kind to yourself and accept that your body is a vessel that has carried you through so many different experiences in life and is always there for you, so it deserves your love. We don't have to love our bodies every single moment of the day but body acceptance is much more important and realistic. Once we gain acceptance it frees up space in our minds to get on with life and keeps everything in perspective.

Keep being fabulous x

 

 

February 1, 2020

Body confidence on camera.

Body Talk exhibition with Shy Burham photography & poet Sharena Lee Sattit

Many women still feel very uncomfortable talking about their bodies, particularly in a positive manner. We are all so good at complimenting others but often struggle to show self love and appreciation of our own bodies. Photographer Shy Burhan and Poet Sharena Lee Satti came together to create an exhibition breaking this taboo and celebrating body confidence. Women from diverse backgrounds were invited to submit three words describing what they love about their bodies before being photographed by Shy. Sharena then wrote a beautiful poem called 'She is a goddess' inspired by those photographs.

Opening night was a sell out and it so lovely to see the women showing friends and family their photographs proudly hanging on the walls at Kala Sangram in Bradford. Shy ended up with 58 women, she originally asked for 52 to represent each week of the year but had such a positive response she didn't want to turn anyone down. I love that all the women were truly diverse and different, a true reflection on women in society today. Wouldn't it be great if those people who organise fashion and beauty advertising came to events like to see what true representation looks like.

There is something very moving about seeing women embracing their bodies coming together to celebrate. It's so important that we have creative people bringing projects like this to life to help break down body confidence issues and improve our mental wellbeing.

The exhibition will run until 3rd April and I'm looking forward to then buying my own art installation cylinder, it's going to become our new wine cooler and certainly a new topic of conversation!

The word joy sums up the art installations as part of the exhibition, the 58 women all look so different but so happy and free to express themselves. It was such fun shooting with Shy for this project, lots of movement and laughter.

I'll leave you with this beautiful poem "She is a goddess' written and performed by poet Sarena Lee Sattit. The opening night performance saw this poem accompanied by a beautiful dancer, it was a very moving moment.

 

What three words would you use to describe why you love your body?

Mine were.

Gratitude, Strength and Acceptance.

Rachel x

August 28, 2019

Body confidence after 40

Let them stare

I spent so many years dreading the summer holidays, stressing myself out months before with fad diets and manic exercise to reach the unobtainable perfect bikini body. I can't tell you how liberating it is to be free from this now and I really want to inspire other women, particularly over 40 to stop worrying and start enjoying the summer more, just as they are.

What better way to make that statement and continue to challenge my own body confidence by doing a shoot in a lingerie shop window!

Rachel Peru, wearing Empriente swimwear, photographed by Silverymoon Photography

If we saw more women over represented with swimwear brands in advertising perhaps we would all feel a lot more positive about our own bodies. One lady recently left a comment on my social media saying, "I will be 45 soon and I don't feel represented in anyway. I feel women in their forties are invisible". I hear these kind of comments from women all the time and it drives me mad that advertising is making us feel this way. That's my driving force in doing what I am doing.

River Island swimwear, model Rachel Peru, Silverymoon Photography

I think it's important to acknowledge I wasn't always this body confident, infact it has taken me until I reached my forties to feel this way. It's been a gradual process, gained by constantly challenging my insecurities and it's ongoing.

A massive thank you to Debbie at The Fitting Rooms, Ilkley for letting me take over her shop window for the afternoon. https://www.facebook.com/TheFittingRoomIlkley

Boo Hoo swimsuit, Rachel Peru, Trudy Beau Stylist, Silverymoon Photography.

Let them stare, it's time to stop worrying about what other people think and enjoy life right now.

Pour Moi bikini, Rachel Peru, SilveryMoon photography

"Despite knowing they won't be here for long, they still choose to live their brightest lives"

#rupikaur This sums up my thought on life perfectly, no more wasting time on worrying about my imperfections and lumps and bumps. This is me!

Top New Look, Bottoms Miss.Guided, Rachel Peru, Trudy Beau Stylist, Silverymoon Photography
I can't thank the team that worked on this with me enough #dreamteam

Photographer Mya Fawcett https://www.silverymoonphotography.co.uk/about.html

Videographer https://en-gb.facebook.com/aFletcherFilm/

Stylist https://www.facebook.com/trudybeaustylist/

Pour Moi bikini. Rachel Peru, Fletcher Films

"I alone can not change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples" #mothertheresa

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Out of the Bubble champions women who are embracing life and leaving a trail of inspiration along the way. Inspiring others to become more confident in body and mind.

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