5 Steps to Combat Swimsuit Anxiety

Like many women around this time, it’s not unusual to feel a little bit anxious about the dreaded swimsuit. Exposing skin that has been happily tucked under sweaters and bulky coats is an anxious experience for women at any size.


The good news is, loving your body doesn’t come from being a size 2, but how you project what you see in the mirror. Easier said than done? Nah! Before letting stress damper your summer fun, here are 5 steps to combat swimsuit anxiety that are sure to help you make it your best season yet.


No. 1: Prioritize Function Over Form As you’re flipping through the racks determined to find that one swimsuit that “has it all”, remember one thing: function trumps form every time. What does that mean? Simple. Look for a swimsuit that’s not only good looking, but will actually do something for you. In other words, if you carry weight in your upper thigh, focus on suits that have a modern skirt or longer thigh line. If you carry weight in your midsection, look for dark, flattering colors instead of bright floral prints. When you prioritize function over form, it’s easier to let go of shopping stress and find the one suit that will enhance your assets.


No. 2: Accessorize Your Way to Fabulous Surprisingly, even if you’re less than psyched about the swimsuit you chose, there are tricks that work wonder for bathing suit anxiety. Pair a conservative, dark colored suit with some flashy bangles, dangling earings and a killer sarong, and suddenly your shape is no longer the focus. Looking good makes you feel empowered – at any size. Don’t go overboard with the flash, but do accessorize like you mean it. You’ll be amazed at how strong you feel wrapped in something gorgeous.


No 3: Project Confidence and Own Your Body When someone walks into a room or onto the beach brimming with confidence, everyone notices. Amazingly, it’s not the muscles or the string bikini, but the attitude. When you let go of stress or fear and truly own your body, suddenly, how you look isn’t an issue for anyone but you. Hold your head up high, keep your shoulders back and smile. A bright smile is inviting at any size and a key theme in successful counseling for women looking to combat anxiety. Not convinced? Think about how many times you thought someone was attractive simply because of the energy they projected? You have more control over how others perceive you than you think – make strong posture and confidence a priority, and you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to be awesome.


No. 4: Toss the Magazine Mentality and Get Real Most people don’t realize that all models on the cover of magazines are airbrushed before editors allow printing. Why is that? Well, for starters, no one, not even supermodels are perfect, and they too have imperfections. While you can’t carry “airbrush in a bottle”, you can set realistic expectations for yourself, which works wonders for relieving stress and anxiety over a bathing suit. Toss the magazine mentality and get real about how real women look.


No. 5: Know You Are Not Alone Here’s something that may be surprising. More women have swimsuit anxiety than you know. And stress about sporting a suit in front of others is not reserved for those who are overweight. In fact, just the opposite. Ponder these survey results from Fitness Magazine about how average women really feel about donning the bathing suit in public.


  • 18 percent would rather go to the dentist, or walk on hot coals than wear a bathing suit.

  • 60 percent admit to being their worst critic when asked to pick problem areas on their body.

  • 45 percent plan to wear a cover up at the beach on account of swimsuit anxiety.

  • 50 percent would turn down an invitation that requires wearing a swimsuit altogether.

In Sum A smiling, gorgeous you in a bathing suit is a reality. It’s only a matter of loving your body and projecting confidence. After all, no one needs another article on “10 ways to get beach ready” because we are all already there. Real women make up the world, and the beach – stretch marks, scars and all.

If you're struggling with body dysmorphia, body image or beach anxiety, please contact Sharon Wierenga. You can reach her by email at Sharon@pathways2wellness.com or by calling 714-432-9857 ext. 7.