When you’re wrapped up in stress and social media, it can be easy to slip into a negative mindset and start comparing yourself to others. Whether this manifests as poor body image, an eating disorder, or you just need a little boost of self-confidence, Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) is here to inject a little positivity, support, and self-love into your week with Body Acceptance Week, February 19 – 23.
“Body image is something that everyone thinks about and struggles with,” CAPS counsellor Monika Gutkowska said. “Being able to celebrate your body for what it does instead of what it looks like is important. We want to create conversations on campus that aren’t body shaming or fat shaming but about acceptance and celebration.”
In past years, Body Acceptance Week has done that through hosting keynote speakers and screening movies, but this year Body Acceptance Week coordinator Eileen Biagi, CAPS psychologist and Eating Concerns Assessment and Treatment Team coordinator, is taking a different approach.
With hectic Northwestern schedules, she said that time constraints can prevent students from attending events during the week. “We want Body Acceptance Week to reach as many students as possible,” Biagi said. “This year we were really trying to think of ways to reach students where they don't necessarily have to take out two or three hours on a weekday night to go to a program.”
Instead of hosting activities, CAPS is partnering with Health Service, the Women’s Center, Northwestern Recreation, Northwestern Dining, and the Pritzker School of Law to provide information and support for students dealing with body image issues. Throughout the week, there will be tables around campus with informational flyers and You Are Beautiful stickers. The Breathe app will be expanding in honor of Body Acceptance Week too, with a new section called the “Positive Body Scan.”
CAPS has also launched the use of the #LoveYourSelfie social media campaign. Anyone is welcome to use the hashtag on photos that show what they love about their bodies, ways they take care of their bodies, or ways their bodies take care of them. Through the campaign, Biagi hopes students will “tap into some of those more positive thoughts and feelings about the body and share those with others too,” she said.
In addition to Body Acceptance Week, CAPS is working to promote self-love and eating disorder awareness throughout February on their Facebook and Instagram accounts. If you or someone you love has been affected by disordered eating or poor body image, you can find more resources on the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) website or make an appointment at CAPS.