Since coming home a few months ago for what I thought would be a few short weeks with my family has quickly turned into staying put for the foreseeable future—with a scary, unknown situation unfolding in every which way around us. I am lucky enough to have a remote job that is not (currently) affected by this, but I know there are many people in less fortunate situations than me, or even working on the front lines of this pandemic. I absolutely feel for and empathize with everyone in the world fighting their own battles right now, and I can’t say that enough.
I’ve contemplated what to write on my blog—if anything at all—during this time. And while I can’t provide answers to you on the pandemic, jobs, or anything else for that matter, what I think I can provide is a little realness about my own struggles with my body image during this time and how I’m working on being positive—in hopes it resonates with anyone else out there struggling. It’s fricken’ hard.
We’ve all heard the jokes (or joked ourselves) about the impact this situation is having on our bodies. We are eating differently than normal—and if you’re like me, more frequently—and we are stressed AF in addition. There is no doubt our bodies can—and will—see fluctuations, and it feels hard not to fixate on that at times. Or at least for me it does.
In my eyes, I can’t control a lot of things in this situation, but I do have control over how I talk to and treat myself. These are some things I’m trying to focus on in each day:
- Saying my positive affirmations aloud everyday. The mornings can sometimes be the worst. I wake up and might think, “Welp, here we go again.” So when I wake up, I’m trying to head straight into my bathroom to look at myself in the mirror and tell myself my positive affirmations, whatever those are. “You are smart, beautiful, and strong.” What do you need to tell yourself everyday? Make a list of whatever it is you need and say it out loud. Every day. I know I always preach about this—but right now, I think doing this for ourselves is more important than ever.
- Watching out for negative talk about food, and trying to turn it positive (if I can). Food is one of the things that brings us joy in these days, but there’s no question it’s bringing each one of us a different layer of guilt or shame. How many times have you said something negative about how much you’re eating, or how you’re going to “roll out of quarantine?” Yep, I’m guilty too. But we are in a stressful time and I’m really trying to watch out for this negativity. Instead of focusing on what I’m eating, the amount, whatever it is—why not focus on how grateful I am for positive things in my life right now? Like the fact that I’m home with my family, safe, etc. The food I’m eating or even how I’m spending my days doesn’t need to be a source of negativity. We’re all just doing our best, and we’re more than allowed to eat. I’m trying to stop shaming myself for doing so.
- Keeping things on my list every single day that make me happy and bring me joy, even on days when I don’t want to do them. Some days are harder than others. Some days I wake up with a more positive attitude and some days I just don’t. It’s a lonely, isolating feeling, and it’s unknown. I’ve learned that there are many things in my days that do make me happy—exercise (even if most of the time I don’t want to do it), calling friends and family to check in (even though there are seldom updates), writing (now’s a good time for me to finish my novel, right?), and other things that may even change as this goes on. Whatever those things are, I’m trying to constantly evaluate and find small ways to make myself happy in every day, which extends to my body both directly and indirectly. This week it might be TikTok-ing and reading, next week it might be painting—who really knows—but I will continue to look for what gives me joy each day and make my best effort to make it happen.
- Skipping stepping on the scale and trying on my jeans. It’s tempting, but focusing on our weight and appearances is the last thing we need to be doing right now (in my humble opinion). We are trying to survive, so we have to forgive ourselves if our goals aren’t on the fast track right now and our jeans are a little snug after all this (darn it, I didn’t even bring jeans home!). As tempting as it is to get caught up in our weight and what we “should” be doing with our bodies, to me it’s more helpful to focus on somehow incorporating movement into my day and staying as mentally positive as I can. My weight has nothing to do with that right now, so I’m trying my best not to let it.
This list is by no means here to tell you I’m doing all of these perfectly—I’m certainly not. But I am trying to work on them every single day, and thought sharing with you all might resonate with someone out there.
If you have your own strategies for staying positive during this time, please tell me! I’d love to hear from you.
Stay safe, healthy, and don’t forget to show yourself the love and care you deserve during these crazy times. I know I’m trying, too!