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Over the past five years, social media creators have used the catchphrase ‘Hot Girl Summer’ to refer to a mindset of confidence and empowerment that encourages individuals--especially women--to embrace and celebrate their appearance.  

However, as with any phenomenon, there are drawbacks to this concept. These include feeling pressure to conform to unrealistic standards of beauty or behavior that aren’t attainable or healthy for everyone, which in turn causes insecurity. 

Robert Vergin, life transformation expert at MindWings, says: “Wanting to prioritize our happiness, appreciate our bodies, and improve our mental wellbeing during the summer months is a wonderful reminder that societal judgments or expectations shouldn’t dictate our self-worth, but not everybody takes it that way. 

“The term has become a self-love mindset on social media, as influencers share their experiences of feeling confident in their skin. Thanks to the visual nature of social media, especially TikTok and Instagram,  the ‘Hot Girl Summer’ trend has shifted from focusing on mental and physical well-being to external appearance.  

“Unfortunately, this can reinforce the idea that a person’s worth and happiness are primarily based on their looks rather than their character. Those who don’t look like the influencers promoting this message through curated images can feel inadequate as a result, as they don’t measure up to this perceived standard of fulfillment. 

“The negative self-talk that can result from these feelings of inadequacy are heightened when there’s a deadline to ‘change’ by, as there is with ‘Hot Girl Summer.’ As we get closer to summer, many people feel ‘less-than’ and may ramp up any unhealthy behaviors they’ve developed in pursuing this ‘fulfillment.’ 

“This creates a vicious cycle where people become overly critical of themselves and only focus on shortcomings over progress, which makes their unattainable end goal seem further away, and they start to make more drastic changes to catch up.” 

As well as explaining the drawbacks to ‘Hot Girl Summer,’ the life transformation expert highlights the five warning signs to look out for, which may indicate you (or your team members or clients) need to reevaluate your approach to physical and mental well-being.  

  • You can’t stop comparing and criticizing your appearance. Constantly comparing yourself to others - whether in person, on social media, or in media - and feeling inferior or ‘less than’ as a result can indicate poor body image. If you find that you’re always highlighting flaws or insecurities with your appearance rather than appreciating your perfections, you may need to seek support with addressing this negative self-thinking before it escalates. 
  • You’re obsessed with the way that you look. Caring about your appearance is one thing, but if you find yourself frequently checking your reflection in mirrors, scrutinizing your body, or adjusting your make-up or outfit rather than engaging with others in a social situation or concentrating at work, you’re likely dedicating too much headspace to your negative body image.   
  • You’re avoiding social plans as you feel insecure. If you find yourself obsessively analyzing your appearance, you may start avoiding social plans or activities that involve being around others or exposing your body due to fears that they’ll judge you or criticize you.  This may include attending a party with friends, participating in physical activities, or even going out for food. 
  • You’re engaging in extreme eating or exercise habits. An indication that you need to reevaluate your self-image is that you’ve started skipping meals consistently, avoiding eating healthy foods for you in fear of gaining weight, working out more than is recommended, or putting off your work or family responsibilities in favor of exercising. These behaviors may impact your physical health and contribute to disordered eating or body dysmorphia. 
  • You’re struggling to keep up with hobbies or routines. If you spend an extended period of time in a negative headspace, you’re at risk of disorders like depression. Indicators of this include a persistent low mood, loss of energy, sudden changes in appetite or weight, a loss of interest in your hobbies, guilt, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, feeling agitated or restless, and difficulty falling or staying asleep.  

Finally, MindWings expert Robert Vergin says: “If you do embrace the spirit of ‘Hot Girl Summer,’ make sure to do so with confidence, self-care, and positivity. True empowerment comes from prioritizing your well-being, and your worth does not stem from your appearance, so don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to heavily curated snapshots on social media. If you do feel you’re starting to develop a negative body image or struggle with self-worth, please seek professional support.” 

 

 

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Originally posted on Salon Today