Entertainment: Managing your body image through the holiday season (11/6/22)

Graphic by Kate Haussman

The holidays are known to be a time of great merriment, but when stress and body image woes take over the joy of the holidays, it can become difficult to embrace the holiday spirit. SEMO’s newly formed Body Positive Alliance explains why the holidays can be difficult for some and how to embrace self-love while indulging in festivities.

The holidays can be difficult for a number of reasons, one of which is feeling the need to overeat. To add insult to injury, some family members can be insensitive about the topic of weight, making some people uncomfortable talking about their struggles with body positivity.

The newly formed Body Positive Alliance gives students struggling with self-love a place to talk about negative thoughts or actions related to their bodies.

Club president and senior psychology major Katherine Hallman, along with senior psychology major Sierra Skinner, are the co-founders of the Body Positive Alliance. The alliance started this fall and so far has hosted three monthly meetings, the next one is Dec. 1 at 8 p.m.

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Hallman pointed out that having a lot of food, especially at Thanksgiving, can be difficult for some.

Hallman said people who don’t have a good relationship with food can feel overwhelmed by the sight of so much food on the table and feel ashamed if they eat too much or not enough food.

A good way to rid your mind of negative thoughts that may arise during holiday dinners is to travel to a safe place in your mind. Hallman says building coping skills during stressful times helps take people’s attention away from what’s going on.

During the club meeting, Hallman said some examples of coping skills could be saying positive affirmations or taking deep, reassuring breaths. A positive affirmation could be saying three good things about yourself.

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Hallman said she struggles to discuss body positivity with her parents, as well as other sensitive topics. She said it has helped her to be confident and stand up when the issue comes up to make sure they know how serious the issue is.

Even if your family isn’t supportive of your body image journey, Hallman said it’s helpful to have a support system.

“Find people who can help you and then stay connected with them. Being able to have someone you can talk to openly about your struggles can really help support you,” Hallman said.

According to Hallman, body positivity means accepting yourself in all aspects: body shape and size, race and gender.

Senior applied technology major Carly Williams is on the executive board of the Body Positive Alliance, where she is the graphic designer for the club’s advertising. After a disturbing experience with her parents, starving herself of food was the only coping mechanism she felt she could offer herself.

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“I think body positivity should be something like, it doesn’t matter if you’re skinny or if you’re bigger, 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 allow people struggling with body image to have a safe place to share their experiences.

“This group is for men, women, non-binary [people] and anyone who wants to participate,” Williams said. “I would love to see it grow [during] while he is here [at] SEMO because I think it could really benefit so much,” Williams said.

Contact Katherine Hallman at [email protected] to learn more about the Body Positivity Alliance at SEMO.


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