I slouch in front of my laptop under the pressure of online school and work, my legs feeling like molasses under me. As I catch a glimpse myself in the mirror, I realize just how much I haven’t exercised due to being primarily stuck inside, and when I climb down the stairs just how much my joints hurt. I thus slowly learn to avoid mirrors, perpetually readjust my shoulders, and tuck in my stomach. I’m not the only one feeling ashamed of my body for simply learning to exist under new circumstances.
Loving our bodies pre-COVID was difficult in and of itself what with social media always telling us how to look and what impossible standard to aspire towards. I legitimately cannot remember a time when I didn’t worry about my appearance above anything else before meeting someone new, and when the outside world became suddenly inaccessible, I became afraid of confronting myself.
While for the first part of quarantine many of us took out our 2020 New Year New Me goals and dusted off our sneakers, as it stretched on it became harder to find the motivation to work on ourselves as our lives were seemingly infinitely put on pause. It was thus easier to be harder on our bodies for not transforming into impossibly idyllic versions of themselves as for many of us, we didn’t necessarily have anything else to look forward to.
While there are no cure-all ways to feel better about our bodies – though your targeted Instagram weight-loss ads may tell you differently – here are a few ways to be kinder towards your body during these unprecedented times.
- Eat when you’re hungry and don’t shame yourself for eating when you aren’t.
- If your self-care doesn’t include exercise, that’s okay. Rest is essential and a way to show your body that you care.
- Practice thanking various body parts (not necessarily out loud) for what they allow you to achieve throughout your day.
- Sleep 8 hours per night, eat three times a day, and stay hydrated.
- Take care of your hygiene – shower or take a bath, brush your teeth, try out a face mask!
- Do something physical that makes you feel good whether that’s meditating, doing yoga, stretching, running, etc.
- Do something artistic with your body – paint/draw, play an instrument, dance, etc.
- If you have a partner and you’re in the same bubble, make time for consensual intimacy with them. Being alone does not keep you from being that person for yourself either.
Add to the list if you’d like but most importantly, be kind to your body and take care of yourself during and after COVID-19’s social distanced restrictions. You deserve it. Truly.