COVID and Body Image Issues: Study Finds Distressing Connection

As if the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic isn’t enough to worry about, a new study suggests that COVID is hurting your body image. At first blush, you might think, ‘why would that be?’—but then when you reflect on the hand-weight shortage or the impact of self-isolation on your body weight (some lose, others gain) and the findings don’t come as much of a surprise.

The new study done by the journal Personality and Individual Differences adds body image dissatisfaction to the growing list of COVID-associated mental health issues. A sampling of over 500 UK residents found that men and women predisposed to anxiety were more likely to experience body dissatisfaction thanks to the stress caused by the pandemic. 

How COVID-Related Stress is Affecting Body Image

At the start of the pandemic, when lockdown measures and self-isolation were imposed, people found themselves suddenly in a strange new world, sequestered, anxious, and perhaps at a loss of what to do. The added stress and fear of the virus, coupled with being isolated from friends and family, put a strain on our coping mechanisms, leading to a surge in mental health issues. defines coping mechanisms as: “...the strategies people often use in the face of stress and/or trauma to help manage painful or difficult emotions. Coping mechanisms can help people adjust to stressful events while helping them maintain their emotional well-being.”

Since COVID-19 is emotionally taxing, it’s important to have some healthy coping strategies or self-care measures in place, like exercise, meditation, mantras, getting creative, talking to your support system, or reading to relax your mind during these uncertain times. However, even if you’ve taken sufficient time for yourself, if you have a low self-image then it’s going to make coping with the unfolding global pandemic all the more difficult.

Throw in the increase in screen time that exemplifies model-thin Hollywood actors and social media—the wild west at the best of times—and it’s clear how those of us with anxious dispositions would become more self-conscious. The study highlighted that traditional gender images — women want to be thinner, while men want to be bulker—are exacerbated due to COVID-19. 

So What Can You Do?

Although you can’t change the world, you have the power to change the way you look and feel about yourself. When it comes to altering the negative opinion of yourself, there are a few things you can do: turn off all unnecessary social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter) so you can focus on rebuilding your emotional stability, seek mental health help if needed, limit your television consumption, meditate, talk to your tribe and share how your feeling, find a support group (become a member of our BodyRock family and join in on the discussions) and use positive affirmations.

Read more: 11 Daily Tips to Stress Less.

Now, when it comes to your physical health, if you’re unhappy in your skin, you don’t need a home gym or fancy gym equipment to pick up exercising—all you need is a can-do attitude.

You can join BodyRock+ and tune into many different series, like Stay Safe, where bodyweight or soup cans are all the resistance you need. Another thing you can do is read up on eating healthy (BodyRock Meal Plan and Nutrition Guide), don’t late-night binge on Doritos (BodyRock Late Night Eating Guide) as this will only feed into the negative self-image of yourself. Change the narrative by doing a dietary overhaul (nix the junk food) and portion control (How to Portion Control to Lose Fat) if you’d like to lose weight, so you feel better about yourself.

One of the best activities to bolster your body image is working out. By tapping into your physical strength and immersing yourself in the healing benefits of movement, even short exercise routines have been shown to help you feel better about your body and your life in general.

This is undoubtedly why our new series Bethercize, has been such a popular pick on BodyRock+. These classes are around 20 minutes each and will teach you how to level up gradually and


Sign up for BodyRock+ for FREE for 30 Day! Get ALL the Bethercize classes with your free trial of BodyRock+ now. No risk! You can cancel any time if it's not for you.

COVID and Body Image

Don’t let COVID affect your body image. You may not be able to change the world, but you can take charge of how you see yourself by implementing some good coping mechanisms. Part of staying safe and staying strong (in body and in mind) is taking care of yourself and reaching out to your support system when things get tough.

Stay safe. Stay strong.



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