I’ve always liked arts. As a kid, I used to spend hours in my room, drawing and painting whilst listening to some audiobooks or music. That’s how I managed to relax most – I totally forgot about kindergarten or school or any other everyday struggles. Now as an adult, I still enjoy doing arts a lot. Whenever I do it, it allows me to spend a little bit of precious and much needed „me time“ and to think about nothing but my creative flow. It helps me to express myself, but also to relax. And this is how body image came to my mind. I started wondering how arts could help me (and others of course) to develop and sustain a positive body image. So I tried to come up with some #bopo (i.e. body positive) arts projects. Some of them, I will share in this blog category.
My first project is this body positive advent calendar!
I don’t know whether advent calendars are a thing in your country, but they definitely are in Germany! That’s not really surprising as they were invented here. What advent calendars are there for is to count the days of Advent in anticipation of Christmas. As in Germany we celebrate Christmas Eve on 24 December, there are 24 days to count down. Each day, the owner of an advent calendar is allowed to open one „window“ (if it is the paper or post card version of an advent calendar) or one small gift (especially in reusable advent calendars, which can be filled with little items). The range of advent calendars is huge nowadays reaching from traditional chocolate advent calendars to Whiskey or coffee advent calendars, Lego toys, perfumes or even sex toys advent calendars. No doubt, advent calendars are not just for kids. Sadly, there are some that offer weight loss products, too, as I discovered last week. I will probably dedicate a separate blog post about the potentially detrimental effect of those at some point…
But enough, we don’t need any toxic weight loss or dieting thoughts here. Back to my body positive advent calendar, which is probably more of an adult-version, but the messages it contains are easily adjustable. Knowing that children aged 5 already suffer from negative body image, it is more than thinkable to create 24 little messages tailored for kids, for instance with a little story line of a teddy bear who learns to embrace his cuddliness and softness during the time of advent (I might think of something and then share it, watch this space). But now back to my first version of a #bopo advent calendar:
What you need:
- 24 envelopes (I really liked craft paper ones, so I chose those, but you’re really free to take whatever you like and have available)
- 24 body positive messages – I tried to make a mix out of #bopo quotes, tips to relax/ feel good/ enjoy life without regret, and little exercises to learn and embrace the body (e.g. make a list of 10 things you like about yourself; reflect upon all the amazing things that your body can do).
- Decoration materials, e.g. 24 number stickers, handicraft paper, glue etc.
- Something to keep the envelopes in, e.g. a nice box or bag. Alternatively, you can also try and hang the envelopes together up with a string, so you can fix it on a wall.
How you do it:
- You best start with the messages – you can either design and print them with a computer programme (as did I) or simply do handwritten ones, which gives every art project a very personal touch. For inspiration, you can download one exemplary A4 paper of my advent calendar here for free: Bopo advent calendar page 1 Make sure the messages fit the size of your envelopes.
- If you decide to print your messages and fix them directly inside the envelopes (as I did), you can think about using self-adhesive paper, which is easy to fix. Else, you could put little cards or messages into each envelope.
- Now it’s all about your creativity: Make the little envelopes look beautiful and festive and attach 24 numbers to them. I always have a good collection of different craft papers, stickers and stuff in my personal fund, but you can make use of many different things to make each envelope look nice.
- Finally, put all messages into a container, such as a box or a Christmas bag.
The little messages are supposed to make the recipient feel good during Christmas, help them enjoy this festive season to the fullest without restrictions, self-loathe and concerns. They may help them understand that they are LOVED and PRECIOUS just the way they are. But they can also encourage them to include little feel good rituals into their everyday life, such as listening to their favourite music, going out for a walk to enjoy nature, meeting friends, taking a bath or a shower etc. Remember, body image is a central part of our mental health and the best thing we can do is to include as many things as we can into our everyday life that make our soul happy.
Enjoy the creativity and let me know how it went 🙂
Big love and have a merry #bopo Christmas season!!