What This Plus-Size Fashion Blogger Did to Find Her Body Confidence

Brianna McDonnell

Sundays are a day to recharge and reset by hanging with friends, turning off your phone, bathing for hours on end, or doing whatever else works for you. In this column (in conjunction with our Instagram Self-Care Sunday series), we ask editors, experts, influencers, writers, and more what a perfect self-care Sunday means to them, from tending to their mental and physical health to connecting with their community to indulging in personal joys. We want to know why Sundays are important and how people enjoy them, from morning to night.

For content producer and plus-size fashion blogger Brianna McDonnell, Sundays are the day where she takes her self-care routine seriously, especially ever since she started quarantining in her Los Angeles, California home. “I want to make sure I clean my house, do laundry, meditate, take time for myself, and prep for the week,” the 28-year-old tells HelloGiggles.

In addition to spending Sunday taking care of her house and herself, McDonnell also uses the day to try to find a balance between rest and work so she can truly reset and relax from the workweek. “I work full time, remotely, even prior to quarantine, so I have to carve out the time for myself. I have to shut my office door, turn my phone off, and take time to center myself,” the creative director explains, who has created plus-size fashion shoots for and been featured in Bustle, the Huffington Post, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.

And her work isn’t slowing down anytime soon. This August will be McDonnell’s sixth year leading her annual #BEinyourskin 31 Body Confidence Challenge on her blog and social channels. The hashtag—which has 40,458 posts tagged on Instagram—has become an online community to help people build their confidence and self-esteem through tools, events and roundtables, and workbooks.

“As a plus-size blogger, one of my audience’s most-asked questions is, ‘How can I be confident in my body now?’ All the research I found on self-esteem and body confidence, was based on weight loss. So I created the #BEinyourskin challenge based on my own experience developing my own body image,” McDonnell says. “Each year, I share parts of my own journey, and it has really helped me connect with others who have had similar experiences. The #BEinyourskin challenge fosters community, and that’s been very rewarding.”

For this week’s Self-Care Sunday, we spoke to McDonnell to learn more about her current routine and priorities. Here, in her own words, are her go-to Sunday activities, plus advice for people who want to build their body confidence.

Mental Health

Honestly, I’ve been going through it. The ups and the downs. I’m trying to continue to remind myself that there is hope, that this too will pass, and remain grateful, but it’s a very overwhelming time in American history. 

Go-to mental health practices

I like to make a gratitude list first thing when I wake up and when I go to sleep. If I find myself getting anxious, I have to take a breath. I journal if I need to get out emotions. I listen to meditation music. I light candles. I try to make my house smell, sound and look like a spa. I make a point to drink lots of water…and [watch] lots of RuPaul’s Drag Race!  

Wind-down practices to combat Sunday scaries

I have to unplug my phone for a few hours. My job is on social media, so I need a balance there. [I’ll] light my candles, diffuse my essential oils, breath, and stretch. I also love to set intentions for the week. With quarantine, days and weeks can blend together. For my mental health, I like to keep a schedule and continue making weekly intentions. 

Physical Practices

Pre-quarantine experiences

That’s been a hard part of quarantine for me. I miss moving freely and having access to different physical activities. I miss Sunday brunches, I miss going to the movies. During the summer, my friends and I would do pool days each weekend and I do really miss that.

Home upgrades

I’ve been trying to make my space as relaxing, zen, and organized as possible. I moved into a new place right before our first quarantine in March, so I’ve been slowly and deliberately decorating. It’s been really fun! 

Body rituals

I take my time outside, I take my meditation seriously, and I have to stretch. I try to do it all in the morning and I really try to do all three each Sunday, no matter what. I also try to do something fun, disconnect, cook a meal, watch a movie, read a book. 

Brianna McDonnell

Community Care

Staying connected with loved ones

My family and I have been doing Sunday Zoom calls, and that’s been a really fun way to connect. I like to stay connected to all my loved ones, even digitally. There is a balance of being too available and too connected, so I try and really take the time for myself. 

Connecting with the community

First and foremost, I’m trying to take it day by day. I work full time remotely and my business was absolutely affected by COVID-19. I hire lots of freelancers pretty regularly so that’s been affected. People are in need of entertainment and that’s something I try to provide with my IGTV weekly series, The Word. I want to remain positive, so I consistently share positive news and resources. I want to add positively to my community online and in real life, so I’m focusing on using my platforms intentionally, as well as remaining active politically and socially during these times. 

Personal Joys

Self-care routine

Candles, essential oils, and my vibrator!

Sunday must-do rituals

I’ve been having to take intentional dance breaks, haha! “Alexa, play a disco.” I dance terribly in my kitchen by myself. My body, mind, spirit needs it.

Quarantine silver linings

I am happy to give up the pressure of accomplishing a lot. I’ve enjoyed being home and really taking care of myself.

Advice for people struggling to build their body confidence and self-esteem

I would say, put some love back into yourself. Look at yourself in the mirror and tell your body that you love it. Name three things you love about your physical body. Take the time to take care of you. 

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