Let’s go bra shopping!

In the fitting room, women often tell us that they’ve always felt uncomfortable in bras and have just resigned themselves to the idea that “that’s just the way it is”.  Not so!  A properly fitted bra should leave you feeling supported and comfortable without necessarily being conscious of wearing a bra…yes, even in a bra with underwire.

Here are a few things you should look for at your next bra-shopping trip:

The Band– The band’s function is to provide support for the weight of the breast and in order to do this well, it has to fit snugly, but comfortably, around your back. If when you move your arms your band moves, it is likely too loose.

The Underwire– All of the breast should fit comfortably inside the underwire and it should not feel as though it is poking or digging into breast tissue. Underwire is not your enemy! Underwired bras tend to provide more lift, support, and shaping than a soft bra can.

The Cups– Breasts should be encased in the cups and not spilling out the side, top, or bottom. If you have wrinkling or gaps, and all of your breast tissue is in the cup, the cup is likely too big.

The Straps-The support of a well-fitted bra should come from the band and not the straps.  Straps are primarily meant to keep the cups in place and not provide any substantial amount of support.

With this in mind you are well on your way to finding the best fitting bra for you, but we can all do with a little (ahem) support. If your bra has previously been your enemy we at Underpinnings are here to help.  Give us a call or click to book your bra intervention today!

Using Mindfulness to Navigate this Pandemic


Guest Post by Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Kaylan Bartholomew

Depending on where in the world you live, you have likely been consumed by the Covid-19 pandemic over the last few weeks or months.  It has taken over traditional media, social media and many of our daily thoughts and conversations.  How this is impacting you will be different for different people.  For some it can create fear for your physical health or those you love, anxiety about your financial security, stress from the isolation and a general unease because of the many uncertainties that we now face.  All of these emotions create a stress response in our bodies, which dampens our overall health and immunity, which is all the more important now.  Mindfulness is a great tool to help us to navigate our new reality.

Mindfulness means to pay attention, on purpose to what you are experiencing in the present moment, non-judgmentally. Sounds simple, right?  Just noticing your present moment experience.  While it may be simple, it is not necessarily easy to do, because our minds have a habit of dwelling on things that happened in the past, or in the case of this current crisis, worrying about things that may happen in the future.  Because it does not come naturally, it helps to have a formal mindfulness practice where you set aside 5 – 30 minutes a day to focus your attention for example on your breathing or a body scan where you notice sensations in your body.

In addition to a formal mindfulness practice, there are many ways you can bring mindful awareness to your day informally by trying to be fully focused on whatever task you are doing.  So if you are drinking a cup of tea instead of letting your mind wander, notice the weight of the cup in your hand and feel the temperature of the tea as you take a sip and for that moment just drink tea.

The key to managing our mental health through this time is to be able to regulate our emotions.  To do this, we first need to calm our nervous system and that is one of the benefits of the mindfulness practice.  In fact just pausing to take three deep breaths helps you to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and relax.  Mindfulness also helps you to be more in tune with other people’s emotions as well.  People will respond to the stress of this pandemic in different ways and the more we can empathize with other people’s emotions, the better our relationships will be.  In addition, mindfulness allows us to act more compassionately towards others and that is exactly what the world needs now to heal.

There are many apps such as Calm and Headspace, YouTube videos and online resources, which can help you get started on a mindfulness practice.  I love the breath meditation as a place to start, because our breath is always present – we cannot hold onto the last breath or anticipate the next.  And without even changing your breath in anyway, just by noticing your breath you are able to calm the body and the mind.  Alternatively you can try focusing on one sense at a time.  Unconsciously our brain is processing and filtering all of the information that is coming through our 5 senses.  However when we focus on one sense at a time, for example listening, we notice many sounds that are playing in the background that we may not have noticed before.  And that concentration on our sense of hearing drowns out the constant chatter of the mind.

If you are a little skeptical about the benefits of mindfulness meditation, let me remind you of a story that dominated the headlines in June 2018.  A football coach in Thailand was trapped in a cave with 12 boys from his team for 18 days. Many credit the meditation techniques the coach taught the boys while in the cave as the reason for their survival and calm despite their ordeal.  In fact many were surprised when they saw videos of the boys who sat quietly waiting to be rescued.   The coach had years of experience and was able to tap into his practice when he needed it the most.   So even if you are just beginning today, be consistent with your practice and you will reap the rewards.

While we are dealing with the very real covid-19 pandemic, we are also dealing with a pandemic of fear.  We have the opportunity to change that and create a new pandemic of calm using mindfulness techniques.  It requires us to be intentional with our self-care and consciously adopting practices that trigger the relaxation response in our bodies and put us at ease.  And then we can share that calm with those around us.

Kaylan Bartholomew is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach who incorporates her training as a Hatha Yoga instructor to help her clients transform their bodies and their minds. Graduating from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, which is the largest nutrition school in the world, Kaylan learned practical lifestyle management techniques and over 100 dietary theories. She is also a licensed instructor for the Springboard Women’s Development Programme, a revolutionary personal development programme for womenKaylan can be contacted at +1 868-332-9841.

De-clutter your way to Joy- Stay at home Covid 19 edition

If the last month or so has taught us anything is that our homes should be our refuge and our sanctuary. We have all been made to stay at home to ensure that we, and our families are safe, and we are doing our part. 
However, most of us have not spent much time at home because we were busy living our over-scheduled lives. At some point during the past couple months before this all started my life was full. Full of work that I loved doing, activities that I wanted to do, people that I wanted to spend time with, and time that I spent on personal development.
Now, while we spend our days at home working (if we have been lucky enough to keep our employment), providing schooling for our kids (those of us who have) and going about our day to day lives, comfort in our physical space has become paramount. So, I invite you to de-clutter your physical space with me. This month we can take a look at the places in your home that you spend the most time in right now –let’s start with your home office, kitchen and family room. Also, since your family will be at home with you, this is a great time to get them involved as well!
So, here’s the deal, take one physical space at a time and dedicate some time to clear the area, evaluate the items and decide what stays and what goes. If it stays it has to be useful (in that you actually use it, not that you might use it…someday) or it has to be something that you love. The point of this exercise is to keep the things that inspire us and make us feel good, but get rid of anything that triggers feelings of guilt or inadequacy…Marie Kondo style.Ask yourself:

  1. Do I have room for this? Can the item be put away in an orderly manner so that when you walk into the room the space doesn’t feel crowded and overwhelming?
  2. Is this something I use regularly? If the last time you can remember using it was more than 6 months ago it’s a candidate to be tossed.
  3. Is it something I love? For an item of clothing (like maybe a bra) do you feel good when you put it on? Or is it uncomfortable or maybe just so dowdy that it makes you feel unattractive?
  4. How do I feel when I look at this item? Sometimes we have good intentions. The yoga mat and the dumbbells hanging out in a corner of the living room might inspire you to work out today…or they might lead to feelings of guilt if they’ve been sitting there, unused for some weeks/months. If that’s the case it’s time to find a new home for them, out of the way so that negative emotions of guilt (“I really should work out”) aren’t triggered but they’re available when you’re ready to make the commitment and take the steps to get back into a workout regimen.

Once you’ve cleared the area and decided what stays and what goes it’s important to follow through. Don’t keep the giveaway or toss items around because it’s all too easy for them to creep back in and just become clutter again.

I’d love to read in the comments which room you’ll be starting with, and what feelings you experienced as you de-cluttered.

5 signs it is time to ditch that bra


We get it, you found that awesomely sexy bra in your favourite colour that goes so well with practically every outfit you own… but it’s two years old and we’re here to tell you that it is time to give it up! Yes, it is time. Chances are you are already hooking the bra on the last row, chances are you’ve tightened the straps to the tightest it can go and if the bra has any underwire (or bones as it’s not so fondly called), it has been making its presence known for a while. It is time to give it up! But, just in case you are still unconvinced, here are a few signs that you do indeed need to give that bra up.

  1. It is uncomfortable: Many women enjoy walking into the house after a long day and ditching their bras post haste, but have you found that you want to ditch your bra in the middle of the day? Or, maybe it feels like it fits like a vise as soon as you put it on. Well my dear, this is one of the first signs that you need to ditch that bra!
  2. It has lost its elasticity: Are you already on the last row of hooks on your bra, or have your straps been tightened to their last? Is there no more stretch or bounce back in the elastic of your bra? Then, this is a sure-fire sign that your bra is no longer doing its job of supporting your girls. Bras need to be at their tip top elasticity in order to give you the support you need and if they are not (especially as they would be after a few years), it is not supporting you as it should. If this is your bra, then it is time to ditch it!
  3. There are lumps and bumps and it no longer holds its form:  If your favourite bra has turned lumpy and shapeless, then it is time to ditch it! If there are any lumps, bumps or unevenness in the cups it means that you are probably not getting the support you need. Ditch that shapeless bra!
  4. It is too small: This goes without saying, right? Well, you would be surprised that about 80% of women are wearing the wrong sized bra and they don’t know it. This is why we suggest that you get yourself professionally fitted; especially after gaining or losing weight or having a baby. Wearing a too-small bra can cause pain and discomfort and does not support your breasts in the way a bra should. Breasts go through many changes throughout our life, which is why having a perfectly fitting bra is important, always. So ditch that bra and make an appointment to get fitted!
  5. It is falling apart: We know, we know, it is the perfect colour, the right size and it goes so well with everything, but the lace has gotten a bit rough and there are some strings hanging out. Your favourite bra is falling apart, and you have to replace it. If it is falling apart, then chances are its ability to support your breasts adequately has also been compromised. So, make a decision, ditch that bra and go shopping!

Think about it…even if you have three great bras in your wardrobe that means you wear each one over one hundred times each year! Even the best of bras will wear out after a while. Don’t hold on to something that may be causing you pain and discomfort. Now that you know the warning signs, ditch that bra, get measured and go get some new favourite bras!

The Most Economical Way to Achieve Good Health


.This article first appeared on the Spirited Natural blog on August 8th, 2019. 

Inexpensive, no special equipment, no supplements or shakes and you can choose to participate online or in person, at work or at play, in the morning or the night.  What is this magical key to good health?  Healthy Relationships!  Scientific studies have shown that having meaningful relationships boosts our health as much as a proper diet, adequate sleep and exercise and managing stress.  In addition, research shows that conflict in relationship and social isolation is associated with increased inflammation, higher risk of heart disease, depression, cognitive decline and earlier mortality.   Here are some tools to nurture the relationships so you can live a long and happy life.
Quality not Quantity is What Matters
All relationships, not just romantic relationships, can meet our need for social connection – family gatherings, hanging out with friends or work colleagues, community or religious activities.  Having just one non-judgmental relationship is more important that having many trivial relationships.  They key is having relationships where you feel supported and that there someone is there for you, in good times and in bad times. 
Deal with Conflict
Conflict is an inevitable part of human relationships.  When we feel criticized or rejected, it can trigger a stress response in our bodies. And often, we respond by getting defensive or withdrawing emotionally, which can escalate the conflict.  Avoiding conflict is not a healthy solution for you or the relationship as unexpressed emotions fester below the surface and resentments could build up.  Furthermore, it does not create space to solve the problem at hand.  Dealing with conflict head on gives you and opportunity to repair and heal, which can ultimately strengthen the relationship.
Mindful Listening
One of my favourite quotes on communication is by Mark Nepo, he says “To listen is to lean in, softly, with a willingness to be changed by what we hear.”  We are often so focused on what we are going to say next or being right, that many of us don’t truly listen when we are in a conversation.  When people feel like they are truly listened to, they feel valued, respected and appreciated which are important foundations of a healthy relationship.
Focus on You
To nurture healthy relationships, we have to be willing to work on ourselves.  While it may be easy to find fault in our spouse, children, friends or colleagues, the reality it, there is only one person we can change. We can learn to be more loving, compassionate and understanding so our relationships will flourish.  We can choose to recognize that our personal baggage, insecurities, fears, desires and hurt feelings are impacting the quality of our relationships.  We can stop taking things personally, playing the victim and trying to control the outcome to develop a stronger emotional connections.  This work is no easy task, but opens the door to beautiful relationships and a joyful life.
Small Things Often
Quality relationships don’t require lavish gifts, but small positive actions done every day.  Whey you express your appreciation and tell people what you love about them, it helps both you and them.  People need to feel validated and it serves as a reminder to you of why this relationship is important to you.   Find out the “love language” for your important relationships and show love in ways that they can receive it.
Kaylan Bartholomew is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and a Hatha Yoga Instructor who helps busy parents make healthier choices for themselves and their families, creating a balanced and joyful life.  Kaylan can be contacted at +1 868-332-9841.

Finding a bra for your teen-back to school edition


The school term is fast approaching and as you fill your cart with the necessary books and stationery, you may need to start thinking of going bra shopping for your teen. Yes, girls are maturing a lot faster these days and it may seem as if overnight your little girl has developed the need for a bra. However, this does not have to be a daunting task! Oftentimes many parents opt for the camisole or bralette under the school uniform as a form of ‘training’ bra for their budding teens, however, many girls now are developing way faster than one may expect and a camisole or bralette won’t be enough support. So, today we are going to help you by giving you tips on how to find the best bras for your well-endowed little lady for back to school. Any bra you choose should be comfortable, supportive and modest enough to fit perfectly under a school uniform.First, get her measured
Yes, do your daughter a favour and get her measured by a professional so you both can get off on the right foot. Knowing her true size would make the rest of the shopping experience very easy. A typical department store/mall branch bra outlet may try to sell you whatever sizes they have, but these common sizes don’t fit every body type. So, make an appointment soon at your favourite bra expert location *hint, hint* and get fitted!

Make a decision
Of course, this is a back to school post, but do you also need to purchase a bra for your teen for use in sports, or for a particular special occasion? Do your research and know what types of outfits each bra would be worn underneath. This would inform your choices of style, fabric, and level of support needed.

No padding, no problem
At this stage your teen does not need any form of padding. Most teens who are well-endowed simply need a bra that would provide the needed support and comfort to take them throughout their school day.

Get professional help
If your teen has already progressed to a B, C or even D cup, the best option is to find an independent bra shop and opt out of the bra boutique chains or department store locations. An independent bra shop, like Underpinnings, will offer many different selections in a body-positive atmosphere – just the environment needed for any teen (and parent) who are going on this journey together.

Take it easy
Start early so neither you, nor your teen, feel like the process has been rushed. A great tip is to take the school shirt that your teen would be wearing to try each style underneath to make sure the fit and style are correct. While lace is cute and girly, it may not be appropriate for under a school shirt, so stick to solid colours and fabrics that are breathable.

All in all, bra shopping with your well-endowed teen should not be stressful at all once you follow these few tips. Remember, we at Underpinnings are here for you, so don’t hesitate to make that appointment and let’s chat and get you guys fitted!

What to do if you think you are not producing enough milk


World Breastfeeding week is celebrated August 1st to 7th every year. This year we at Underpinnings are even more aware as our founder recently became a new mom for the second time and is once again experiencing the joys, and lets be real, the frustrations that can come along with attempting to breastfeed successfully. ​

In our last blog we talked about how you can enhance your nursing experience. We shared some tips on what you can do to make your experience a more positive one. In this post we speak about a topic that some mothers experience in their breastfeeding journey: worries about supply.  At the start, many new moms may be worried that we don’t have a good enough supply to satisfy our child, but often we may just need to settle into a routine, consult our doctors, or break out of certain habits which may be sabotaging our attempt at breastfeeding.

First, let us talk about what are the signs we must look for that indicate that our supply is indeed low. One of the major indicators of low supply is a lack of weight gain. Typically, most infants lose weight after birth; in fact, full term babies may lose over 7% of their birth weight! However, within two weeks babies should at least return to their birth weight and begin to gain an average of 4 to 7 ounces each week. Once you are keeping up with your wellness checks for your baby, your doctor would make a note of if this is in fact occurring. This is also a great opportunity to obtain tips on ensuring that your latch is correct and your nutrition is on point. Many doctors may even suggest that you work with a lactation specialist. If you are in Trinidad and Tobago a great resource for assistance with latching problems or nursing issues for new moms is the Breastfeeding Association of Trinidad and Tobago.

What may cause low supply you may ask? Here are the top reasons:
Supplementing: Initially you may think that the colostrum is not enough, and your baby is constantly wanting to be fed. You may see this as an indicator of low supply (which it is not) and be encouraged to supplement. However, supplementing will cause your baby to breastfeed less frequently if formula has been introduced. Babies’ stomachs are quite small during the first few months of life and therefore they need to be constantly fed; be patient with your young one.
Infrequent feeding: When the time between feedings is too long (upwards of 4 hours for example), the breasts are not stimulated as they should be. This is a signal that the demand for milk is low and the end result is that you would not produce enough milk to adequately nourish your baby.
Short feedings: Feeding for less than 5 mins on each breast would cause the baby to not get the nutritious hind milk and prevents your breasts from being sufficiently drained. When they aren’t drained, they won’t be stimulated to produce more milk.
Pacifiers: The act of sucking on a pacifier may cause some babies to have less inclination to suckle at the breast. Less suckling means less stimulation and therefore low milk supply.

So, what can you do to boost your supply? Here are some easy to follow tips:
Feed on demand:  Let your baby set the pace! Feed as often as they wish to feed within the first few months of their lives. This act will sufficiently establish your supply and get you on your way to being able to feed your baby well!
Avoid supplementing: Unless there is a medical reason indicated by your doctor to supplement, if you want to expressly breastfeed, avoid supplementing with formula. Many people suggest supplementing to get babies to sleep, or to fatten them up, however breastfed babies sleep and gain weight just as well as formula-fed babies. Be patient with your babe and follow their lead.
Limit pacifier use: As stated above, pacifiers mimic the act of suckling. This act is a soothing act for babies and if the breast is replaced with a pacifier then they are not stimulated enough to increase the milk supply.
Pump between feedings: Even stay at home mommies can pump! Pumping is an amazing advancement and addition to breastfeeding. It allows you to increase milk production, gives other family members an opportunity to bond with baby, as well as allows you to have a back up supply.
Get rest, eat well and stay hydrated: As we stated in our previous post this is very important. When you are well-fed, well-rested and well-hydrated the milk production increases.

However, if all else fails please talk to your doctor or a lactation specialist. A specialist will give you the support you need to ensure your latch and overall breastfeeding routine is right. Low supply is indeed a concern, but don’t think that you are alone. If it is indeed bothersome, talk to your doctor. In the meantime mama, remember that you are doing fine and are a great mom!

Tips for Nursing mothers


As an expectant or new mother, you may have made the decision to breastfeed your precious child, but you may also be wondering if you would have the ability and tools to do it well. In this blog, I give six tips on how to make breastfeeding a beautiful bonding experience that is as stress-free as possible.

1. Find the Right bra
While not usually thought about, the correct nursing bras will make your breastfeeding journey that much easier. You will appreciate bras that unclasp one-handed, and that accommodate the fluctuation in size that you may experience during the course of the day. In my last blog post I discussed the difference between nursing bras and maternity bras and when is the perfect time to purchase each. Do not skimp on the purchase of good nursing bras because it would be an item of clothing you would be wearing almost 24/7. We suggest buying in two phases: before the baby is born, and after your milk has come in and you and baby have settled into a breastfeeding rhythm. Your bra should fit comfortably on the slackest hook and the cups should fit with no wrinkling or bulging.

2. Eat healthy
When we breastfeed, our baby eats what we eat. So, pay attention to what you are putting into your body. Don’t smoke or drink alcohol and try to stay away from fast food as much as possible. Plenty of water, and a diet that incorporates whole, unprocessed foods and many vegetables and fruits is best. You can still take your prenatal vitamins at this time as well as any additional supplements your doctor recommends.

3. Get comfortable while feeding
When baby is here, and you are ready to get into the groove of breastfeeding, finding a comfortable spot is paramount to a positive experience for everyone. So, when it is time for a feeding, gather your snacks, the remote, tablet or phone and relax in your favourite chair or in bed. You are going to be in that position for quite some time, so make sure it is a position where you have access to as many things as possible to make you comfortable.

4. Get your baby in a comfortable position
Once you are in a comfortable position, then make sure baby’s head is supported and they are in the appropriate nursing position. You don’t want them squirming and being too uncomfortable or the nursing experience would not be a pleasant one.

5. Breastfeed at your convenience
When the baby is hungry is the best time to feed them—don’t be ashamed to feed your baby wherever you are! Once you are comfortable, your baby can eat. Breastfeeding is a natural bonding experience that should happen once mommy can produce milk and baby is able to latch. Don’t give up, but also don’t feel too pressured if circumstances arise that prevent a smooth transition to breastfeeding.

6. Relax: your baby can feel it
Yes, a lot of times we find that comfortable nursing position, baby is comfortable, but we are thinking about all the things that need to be done. Breastfeeding is a wonderful opportunity to bond with your baby, as well as to take a break of sorts. Put up your feet, look at your beautiful baby and marvel at them and stop thinking about the dishes and laundry to be done. When you are stressed it can hamper let-down and then baby is unsatisfied. So, if you are having a hard time, maybe put on some relaxing music or utilise aromatherapy (check with your doctor on what scents and oils are safe to use around baby)…and Relax!

What to expect when you are expecting (Bra edition)


When we are pregnant we often are so focused on the impending baby, we sometimes forget that we are also part of the equation. While our precious child is growing and developing, our body is also changing in ways we may not expect. Oftentimes, we tend to neglect the process of finding the correct maternity bra or nursing bra. In this blog post we’ll break down the importance of when to get a fitting and how to choose the right one.

Nursing Bras vs. Maternity Bra
Nursing bras and maternity bras share many of the same features, especially regarding enhanced support.  In many circles the terms nursing bra and maternity bra are therefore used interchangeably, however one of the main distinguishing features of a nursing bra is that the cups are designed to provide easy access to the breast for feeding the baby.  This is usually accomplished by having the cups drop down from a clip.

I. Maternity Bras
When should I buy a maternity bra?

Wearing a bra that fits correctly is always beneficial, but it is especially important during pregnancy. During this time your breasts will become not only fuller, but also heavier due to increased blood supply, fatty tissue and the development of milk glands. As soon as your old bras no longer fit you should consider purchasing maternity bras; for most women this occurs near the end of the third month of pregnancy. Note: limit your initial purchase to two bras to manage expenses since your breasts will continue to grow throughout your pregnancy.

When trying on maternity bras look for the following:

Ensure that your whole breast is encased in the cup.  It is very important that the band, seams and underwire (if applicable) do not press into breast tissue.  Note that many experts advise against wearing an underwired bra during pregnancy and nursing.  An ill-fitting underwired bra is much less forgiving than an ill-fitting soft cup bra as underwire that presses into breast tissue could lead to a painful infection.

The band should be wide and supportive, and the shoulder straps should not be overly narrow. It should also fit snugly but comfortably on the TIGHTEST hook.  This is the opposite guidance to buying a bra any other time in a woman’s life and is to allow room to loosen the band as your ribcage expands during pregnancy.

The inside of the cup should be smooth, with no exposed seams.  With all those hormones coursing through your body your breasts are likely to be very sensitive and seams that may not irritate at any other time may feel like sandpaper against your tender nipples. This is one of the best measure for preventing nipple pain.

II. Nursing Bra
When should I buy a nursing bra?
Many women find that their cup size fluctuates widely in the first few weeks and months of breastfeeding before the baby and their bodies settle into a breastfeeding rhythm.  We therefore suggest buying nursing bras in at least two phases:

Early Phase
We suggest having at least 2 nursing bras on hand before the baby is born.  Yes, it is true that you won’t know exactly what size you will be when your milk comes in but shopping for nursing bras in the first weeks of motherhood will most likely not be high on your list of priorities.  The bra should fit on the middle row of hooks.  This allows both room for expansion in the last few weeks of pregnancy, as well as for tightening as your ribcage shrinks after the baby is born.  Many quality nursing bras have four rows of hooks and eyes instead of the usual three rows to give even more room for adjustment of the band.   Buy one cup size larger than the size you are in the 8th month, as this will allow for the increase you will experience when your milk comes in.  As a practical matter, look for nursing bras with clips that are easy to open and close one-handed. It is best that these early nursing bras are wireless since wireless bras are more forgiving than underwired bras to the fluctuations in breast size that occur in newly nursing moms.  Any underwired bra that does not fit properly poses a risk of clogged ducts and mastitis.

Later Phase

Once you and baby have settled into a comfortable breastfeeding rhythm it may be time to get fitted for additional nursing bras.  At this point the fitting becomes more like a traditional bra fitting. The nursing bra should fit comfortably on the slackest hook and the cups should fit your current size, with no wrinkling or bulging.  If you are used to underwired bras you may return to them at this point but bear in mind that as your baby goes through changes in feeding cycles breast size fluctuations may continue.  To avoid any potential issues, pay attention to fit and ensure that the underwire lays flat against your ribcage all the way around and does not press against any breast tissue.

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Ignore Social Media and live by your own beauty standards

Retweet! Like! Share! Subscribe! We hear this all day everyday while we consume social media. These are the measurements used for our life in the 21st Century. We are living in the age where we let our social media profiles define who we are, who we decide we can be, and how we feel about ourselves. We may have fallen trap to this ‘filter’ generation and found ourselves continuously comparing our lives to the curated ones online. Constantly asking ‘am I doing something wrong?’, ‘am I good enough?’ or ‘am I beautiful enough?’ are the results of this comparison. Social media has become a contest, where the more followers and likes you have equal the more beautiful or exciting a person is. This is far from the truth. 

Unrealistic beauty standards have always existed in the media, and now, with the prevalence of social media it has entered our lives in a way that many of us cannot deny. Social media would have you believing the ideal beauty looks one specific way ignoring the diversity of beauty that exists within the human race.

You are more than your online profile: The majority of people online don’t even look like their online persona; many are fulfilling the unrealistic and sometimes unattainable standards that exist currently. This is why Photoshop and photo editing software apps are very popular, allowing the poster to manipulate their body in any way they wish to fit this standard. Many only ever post that one selfie that came out just right—after taking 500 pictures overall— and is manipulated by numerous filters. Kylie Jenner herself has admitted to this, even as she has been viewed as an effortless beauty by many. You do not need to compete with that because being you is not a competition. There is no need to change who you are to get more likes; true engagement occurs when you show the real you. You are more than your online profile and  your beauty stands out because it is unique.

Likes do not define you, You are enough: Your face, body, skin and hair are unique to you and as cliché as it may sound, you need to love the skin that you are in, because it is the only one you get. Why spend your life bemoaning how you don’t like one aspect of your physique, when you can spend the time finding all the things that make you beautiful? Show this off, find the love from within, without looking for external validation which often comes at a negative cost to mental health.

Live your life offline: Why let current online trends dictate whether you can wear those skinny jeans this season? If those jeans make you feel beautiful; wear them honey! Do what makes you happy and makes you feel the most you! Ditch the ridiculous expectations and live your life offline.

So next time you start comparing yourself to an online persona, make a conscious effort to value yourself; value the very part of you that you are comparing. Make a conscious effort to love yourself, and if all else fails remove yourself from the platform that gives you great anxiety. Beauty is only skin deep, and it cannot be defined.