These are my personal musings on our bodies, what they’re going through, that it’s ok to change & there’s no time like the present to take time and take care.
Don’t panic, they say. Easier said than done, I say.
We’re in the midst of a global pandemic. The level of uncertainty, stress and doubt in our lives is bound to increase. The world is under collective trauma right now, and when societies are hit psychologically like this, there’s bound to be en masse reaction. I’m an over thinker I’m sure, believe me I’ve thought about it. If you too are like myself you may have started to force discipline and structure into your mind and routine. This is totally normal, it’s my coping mechanism for the unknown, I’m simply planning my unemployed day with things to keep me active, mentally enriched, fuelled and happy. However there’s probably no need for a military-like schedule. Especially if you punish yourself for deviating from the course. These stresses might be inviting compulsive and disordered behaviours that it’s good to aware of. If you’ve read any of my previous Positivity Wagens you’ll know I’m in the musical theatre industry and also have struggled with controlled eating, body dysmorphia and Orthorexia. Even if you’ve never over exercised or suffered from disordered eating it’s still an important time to be aware of our isolated bodies. And what they need, and also what they want.
As we move further into the unknown kingdom of isolation, social media is engulfed by fitness videos and recipes. This is wonderful, I’m not putting them down, but there’s also a lot of diet culture and pressure alongside some of these things. A few years ago I believe I chose my worth over my weight after a desperate need to be a certain aesthetic. But that doesn’t stop me from having occasional insecurity and doubts. Thoughts like, I’m not in a show anymore, do I need to up my physical training. My whole Instagram following seem to be doing 12 HIIT workouts a week. I’ve recently started outdoor running again and seem to prefer this than slaving, lifting weights inside. I usually eat a set menu of Pret salads and sexy dried carbohydrate snacks between shows whilst on tour. But now I have time to cook lovely meals and sit and enjoy them. I’m baking. And trying them out. I got a little frazzled & guilty and then realised what’s paramount. Although I’m missing regime and stability, I’m enjoying this slower pace of living and what it’s giving me space to do. And if that comes with a slightly different body but a happy one then I’m game. Essentially it’s enforced down time. For some of us, we probably haven’t done much of this for a long while. It’s enforced. And it could do good.
Firstly, be kind, your passion & discipline isn’t going anywhere.
A coping mechanism I’ve used in the past is self sabotage, picking apart my body, judging myself and then trying to control it. If you work in a very physically judgmental industry, dancing, theatre, sports or something similar, or you may just be hard on yourself. Of course we want to stay in top condition because hopefully we love what we do and want to be raring to go when we’re out the other side and our industries get going again. But take a moment to realise that you don’t have a competition, audition or event for a little while yet. In some cases this could be crushing, financially devastating and career changing. For most of us we hope to see it through one way or another. No matter where on the spectrum, it’s ok to feel heart broken about this, and it’s also ok for you to take a breather. I trained for three years to know my body, different dance techniques and knowledge of the industry. I got a degree in it. That doesn’t just disappear. If you don’t want to practice your time steps today that’s ok. Remember why you fell in love with your dream. I’ll be watching Mary Poppins.
Tell yourself it’s ok.
We’re probably stressed. If you can say that in the last 6 weeks you haven’t felt the tiniest bit of stress you must be superhuman, or inebriated. Emotional eating isn’t ever a sustainable answer but maybe you need to eat more. Dealing with huge amounts of stress, upset and fatigue is exhausting. Maybe you want your favourite comfort food today. Maybe you want a large gin. Maybe you’ve woken up with no motivation, you feel sluggish and don’t want to go for a bike ride. That’s ok. Listen to your body. It’s going through a lot right now.
Our bodies are smart. They’ll adjust.
We’re probably all physically moving less. Simply down to the fact that all of us that are social distancing and isolating are either unemployed or working remotely. Dashing to catch your commute bus to work, and popping to Pret (I miss you) for lunch just isn’t on the agenda. We’re confined to one outing for physical exercise a day and essential shopping. And unless you’re blessed with a golf course in your back garden you’re probably restricted. Body’s are clever, we adjust to new ways of living. Our body will get used to our new rhythm of exercise, living and being. Stop worrying that you need to start counting your macros and try and stay in touch with how your body feels.
Find the food fun.
When I first started finding a better relationship with my body, movement and food, I did a lot of research into intuitive eating. There’s loads about it online for us to read. It involves principles like rejecting diet culture. We don’t have to do a lockdown diet. If you see an ad come up for a new and improved quicker weight loss and instant abs plan do not click on it. Every click continues to fuel these unrealistic, non durable plans. Essentially setting us up for set backs & guilt. Intuitive Eating implements intentions like honouring your hunger and taking time to enjoy one of our basic joys of existence; eating wonderful foods. If we refuse to eat, heavily restrict and control our portions, our bodies go into fight or flight mode. Humans are wired to survive. If we’re starving ourselves, we’ll want to eat. Learning how to accept and enjoy old fear foods and also plainly looking after and fuelling our body. Whilst also trying never to compare, everybody is genetically different. You wouldn’t ask a tiger to do his business in your kitty litter. Acceptance and love y’all. The main goal is to find joy in fuelling your unique body. Challenge yourself to take pride and find the fun when you’re nourishing your body. Plus it’s more sustainable and cost affective too.
Move for the right reasons.
It works the same with intuitive movement. If exercise had no effect on your aesthetic would you still do it? Focus on the feeling you get during or after a nice workout rather than getting your tape measure out. Move how you feel you want to. Not because you think you have to. Be mindful as to why you’re doing it. Set ambitions that are realistic and inspiring. Look up when you run. Focus on how it feels to move your body rather than an extreme end of COVID goal. Let your body recover. Enjoy it. Dancing around whilst baking is a new personal favourite.
A little perspective.
People are dying. If we gain a few pounds, don’t run a marathon each week and don’t go on a juice diet. Great. Because at this time we just want ourselves and our loved ones safe and staying home. Being physiologically and psychologically healthy is such a precious thing. And who wants to be a smaller part of this world anyway?
For your isolated body.
1. When you want to move, wear your most fabulous gym wear. I feel cute as hell.
2. Love the skin you’re in. I just got a Jade roller from Amazon. Magical.
3. When your jam comes on on the radio. Wiggle, boogie and smile. It feels good.
4. Never underestimate the power and calm of a good stretch, yoga or mediation.
5. Drink water. It’s not like you’ve got to travel far to the nearest toilet.
6. Look at and appreciate your isolated body. Thank it for getting you up each morning and staying safe.
7. Take your time.
I hope you’re happy and finding empathy and love for your body. And remember to speak out. Feel free to message me via the blog or on social media.
I’ve been there. We’re all isolating together. I’ll listen.