Sarah Nicole Landry knows how tough bikini season can be.
The model, writer, speaker and body confidence activist, also known as The Birds Papaya, used to miss out on her fair share of beach and pool days because of how she felt about her body. However these days, the mother-of-four refuses to let her insecurities get in the way of enjoying life.
Over the years, Landry has made great strides in her body confidence journey. The Guelph, Ont.-based content creator encourages her more than 2 million Instagram followers not to let how they feel about their body hold them back from being a fully engaged participant in life.
That doesn’t necessarily mean feeling like you look your best at all times, Landry tells Yahoo Canada. It simply means paying less attention to your body and focusing on more important things—like being at the beach with loved ones.
“Sometimes you feel incredibly liberated and you want to just rock that bikini and other times I'm so grateful that there are cover-ups because I'm feeling too distracted by my body and I want to focus on what's going on around me,” Landry says.
The 37-year-old recently collaborated with Canadian intimates brand Knix for their new inclusive swimwear collection. Landry says the brand's commitment to prioritizing both style and comfort is exactly what she's been searching for as a consumer for years.
“Oftentimes I'm looking for something that's comfortable, that’s making me not think about my body so much,” she explains. “Something that just lets me show up and get that warm sun on my skin, but also lets me go play with my kids and live.”
But even with more inclusive products becoming available, Landry knows the feeling of dreading swimsuit shopping all too well. Even today, with her self-confidence at an all-time high, she doesn’t always feel like trying on a million pieces just for very few to fit properly.
“Clothing was made to fit our bodies—not the other way around,” she says. “We’re not here to try and conform ourselves into something. And so when we shop with that mindset, like this doesn't work for me and that's not a me problem, that just isn't the right fit, and kind of move forward, it makes the whole shopping experience a little bit easier on our hearts and bodies and minds.”
According to Landry, changing your perspective is one of the best ways to feel better in your own skin She says it's important to remember that the thoughts and feelings leading up to the stressful event—whether it be the shopping spree or the pool party—are usually much worse than the event itself.
The mother-of-four thinks we spend far too much time assuming what other people are thinking about us and judging our body.
Landry says whenever she feels overwhelmed by those kinds of thoughts, it helps to ask yourself who you're really showing up for.
“I'm here for myself, I’m here for my kids, I'm here for my husband, I’m here for my family," she tells herself.
Although she's able to push her body fears aside and tries to live in the moment, she has regrets about missing out on opportunities to make memories with her children when they were small.
“I just really want to remind everybody that we really only get one shot at all of this,” she says “We sometimes live as if we have so much time, and what I often do for myself is I imagine if I make it to 80 years-old, where will my regrets lie? Will my regrets lie in showing up, or will my regrets lie in staying at home?”
“When I think about 80 year-old-me’s needs, I know that she wants me to go and show up no matter what I look like that day, no matter what experiences I was showing up for or who I was doing it with, she continues. "I know that she would want me to be there.”