Body Image - Mental Health Awareness Week 2019

Friday, May 17, 2019

For Mental Health Awareness Week 2019, the theme set by the Mental Health Foundation is Body Image. At the Five Everydayisms it's a topic that has always been important to all of us within this community. Whilst we were still only a blog, our Founder's essay on self and body image was the most highly read and commented article on our site.

This Mental Health Awareness Week, we re-opened the conversation for you to share your experiences and tips on body image. We've centralised your comments from Instagram and Twitter here in the Community Journal so you can refresh your ideas whenever you would like to.

Body Image is how you see, think, and feel about your body.
How would you describe Body Image?
Body image is often described as positive or healthy, or poor or unhealthy. This refers to the sort of impact a person's body image has on their mental health and wellbeing.

People who report positive body image tend to have good mental health and wellbeing, whilst people who have an unhealthy body image are more likely to suffer from mental health issues or struggle with wellbeing.

Some people think about body image as a problem or something that only affects certain groups of people, for example women or people who are severely over or underweight. However, everyone has a body image: it includes people of all ages, colours, sizes, shapes, genders, and abilities.

Body image is simply how you see, think, and feel about your body.

A Few Questions To Ask
What affects body image?

How can you be aware of your body image?

How can you look after your body image?

What can you do if you are struggling?

What affects body image?
Community Member Xhakaed shares how clothing affects body image for her.

What you wear has an impact on body confidence, mood, and self esteem. That's why we made 'Ensemble' one of the Five Es, a simple way to take care of your wellbeing every day.

Other people can affect your body image. 
Other people's opinions can affect our own perceptions and emotions about our bodies. Whilst we cannot control what other people say, we can control our level of exposure to their opinions and our reaction. Is it possible to spend less time interacting with certain voices in mainstream and social media? If there is a friend, colleague, or family member who makes uncomfortable comments on your appearance is it possible to talk with them to set a boundary or express why the comments make you uncomfortable?

What is one way to look after your body image? 
Gratitude helps.
Community Member Siziwe C. shares a tip for looking after your body image. "A good place to start with having a positive body image is simply thanking your body for carrying you today."

Model your mood!
A tip from us.
One way to take care of your body image is to treat your body like it belongs to somebody you love.  For different people this can mean different things. It could be saying no to glossy magazines, attending a therapy appointment, or making it to the gym, or all of the above and more.

From what you put inside or on your body, to how you speak about it and what opinions or treatment you expose it to, handling your body with care can help you maintain a healthy body image and experience improved wellbeing.

If you're struggling with body image there is support available for you. One initial option is to talk to trusted family or friends. Share what you are going through to see if there are ways they can support you.

We recommend that you consult professionals such as your GP or a licensed occupational therapist. If you aren't sure where to begin or need more specific support, here are a few quick links:

BEAT, a UK based charity that can support with Eating Disorders
Young Minds,  a UK based charity that can support with mental health issues in young people
Counselling Directory, a platform to connect you with professional counselling support

Body Image will always be important to us at the Five Es so we are currently building a list of Mental Health Resources in our Library. Please check back for updates, or send us an email for suggestions or support. 

Beyond Mental Health Awareness Week, we're here to help you live well and be well every day. Check out our Library for more wellbeing resources or our Programme to join us offline.


The Community Journal is a central space where we publish the everyday gems our community has shared across our online channels and at offline events. Ideas and recommendations included here are not a substitute for medical advice. Please always consult a licensed professional. Be well.

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