Never let anyone make you feel guilty about the backslides your fitness took in the pandemic.
In the middle of a pandemic that’s forced people around the world into survival mode, it’s totally understandable that you made physical appearances the least of your worries. After all, what use is there in having a trim body when the threat of a deadly virus looms over you every single day?
That kind of fear is paralyzing, even for the best of us.
But we try to fight that fear and strive to come out of this pandemic alive and well, anyway. Refusing to admit defeat in spite of the physical, mental, and emotional strains it’s dealt us, we’ve managed to pull through.
That’s no thanks to those who shame you for not “keeping up” with supposed “standards” for what is presentable and beautiful. But rather, all thanks to the different forms of self-care that you’ve come to learn and develop amid this calamity.
Challenging the Standards
Because whether it’s working out, or just choosing not to lace-up and run so you can rest, or falling into a black hole of K-dramas and Netflix shows; these all helped us cope. Never mind that we couldn’t keep up with activities meant to maintain appearances that people expected us to have.
In the first place, you have to ask: Are these “expectations” truly reasonable if they discriminate between one body type over the other; from color to color, or one way of grooming versus another? And is it necessary to pressure yourself to keep up with these supposed standards at such a difficult time?
A time when you’re worrying day and night about managing the stress of work or school, on top of managing your anxieties about keeping yourself and your loved ones safe from the virus? A time when many of us are just trying to stay fit to strengthen our defenses against the virus?
If your answers to those questions are ‘no’, then let me remind you of a few things to keep in mind when someone tries to guilt you into “keeping up” with these standards in the middle of a pandemic.
Four real and honest #PandemicEffect reminders you should take note of
1. Self-care is not and shouldn’t be just about maintaining outward appearances or looking a certain way.
Fact is: Not everything we do is motivated by how it makes us look to other people, nor should it be.
The notion that people do their usual self-care routines like skincare, working out, or buying that dress you like is all about keeping up appearances is false. Because what makes self-care truly rewarding is that it meets your personal wants, needs, and expectations. It makes you – not others – feel good.
So whether it’s slapping on seven, eight, nine, or ten different skin-care products morning and evening, or making sure to get a good workout in, always remember to do it for yourself. It’s not called self-care because it’s designed to meet someone else’s ideals.
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And whether the benefits can be observed through physical appearance or not, shouldn’t keep you from doing what you need to do for yourself.
2. Any and every effort to take care of yourself and others is valid.
While caring for yourself in the ways we just stated above is valid and acceptable, remember too that choosing to set aside those things to give way to prioritizing safety is also just as valid.
Remember that, in these times, worrying about your fitness is a great privilege. Many others aren’t so lucky to have such problems. Many people are still struggling to even feed themselves – what more eating healthy and worrying about their weight and figure?
So if the best you can do on any day is to just show up enough to keep you and your family safe. Even if that means working out has to take the back seat for a bit, then that’s totally okay. You’ll get to do those workouts again. You’ll have time after the priorities are taken care of.
Your effort to take care of yourself – whatever that means for you – is valid, so long as it helps you get through another rough day in this health crisis.
READ ASLO: It’s Not What You Do, It’s How You Do it
3. Try to get enough rest. But if you’re struggling, don’t be hard on yourself.
It’s absolutely exhausting to have to keep up with the demands of work, taking care of yourself and your loved ones, and your fears and worries about the uncertainty of a future that’s COVID-free.
Forgive yourself if that’s keeping you up at night, or draining you emotionally the rest of the day. If you look and feel tired, well, that’s because these days are tiresome. And you shouldn’t chalk that up as a lack on your part to take better care of your health.
When your fears and doubts are becoming difficult to manage on your own, don’t hesitate to reach out to anyone who can help you. There are concrete steps that you can take if you are not feeling well mentally and emotionally speaking.
Once you’ve managed to quiet those worries, then go ahead and take your much-deserved break from the demands of life.
4. Be an encouraging voice to others and yourself.
Leaving this as the final reminder because encouragement is ultimately what we all need right now. Not any more problems to make us feel bad. Not any more things to feel guilty about.
Times are tough enough as they are right now. Many things and people we love were lost to the pandemic. Many are still at risk for losing more, with us being in lockdown anew – and that can leave anyone feeling helpless and demoralized.
You don’t need another person, group, or what-have-you telling you that what you’re doing and how it’s upended your way of living is something to be ashamed of.
What we need are more voices of encouragement and less judgment for how we chose to cope with these tough times that have stretched on. Whenever you can, be that voice of encouragement for others and for yourself. Encouragement is also one way you can help motivate people to take charge of their health, more effectively than shaming does.
Those words or gestures of encouragement could make the difference between inspiring truly meaningful change in someone’s life.
And that, in itself, is beautiful.
How do you keep up with these trying times? Or what do you hope to see more or hear of in terms of addressing the pandemic’s effect on people?
Spark a healthy discussion in the Pinoy Fitness Community!