While the country is gradually opening, most of us are still stuck at home. Unless you have superhuman self-control snacking has become the most popular way of breaking the monotony of everyday life. Unfortunately, while you are innocently snacking away, the gremlins are busy sewing your pants smaller. If you, like me and many other women are constantly aware of how their bodies look you might be feeling slightly anxious about whether your pre lockdown pants will still fit.
Here is a tip. Do not let the pandemic worsen how you feel about your body. They say that those who can’t do, teach. To say that I have somehow managed to love my body as it changes would be a boldfaced lie. But I am working on it. The coronavirus has somehow made something I have found manageable profoundly difficult.
It doesn’t help that recently, multi-award-winning singer songwriter Adele’s newly svelte body has been splashed across the internet and the whole world remarking on how much better she looks now
Not everyone has a diagnosed eating disorder, however come people have what is called disordered eating. According to an article in the Eating Disorders, Compulsions, and Addictions Service (EDCAS) of the William Alanson White Institute “disordered eating might also include: Self-worth based highly, or even exclusively, on body shape and weight, a disturbance in the way one experiences their body, i.e., a person who falls in a healthy weight range but continues to feel that they are overweight, excessive or rigid exercise routine, obsessive calorie counting, anxiety about certain foods or food groups and a rigid approach to eating, such as only eating certain foods, inflexible meal times, refusal to eat in restaurants or outside of one’s own home.”
While these may be present during “normal times” the stress that comes with living in times of global upheaval has made things worse. It is more important now to be kind you yourself an monitor your mental health.
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“The covid-19 pandemic is reminding us once again that mental health is just as important as physical health. As the pandemic expands, we can expect to see a rise in mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders,” said World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
There first thing to remember is that we are going through a global pandemic. There is nothing normal about what we are going through. The feeling of helplessness can acerbate the need for control, and this can be meted out on your bodies. Practicing self-compassion as you learn to deal with the new reality is vital at this time.
Here are somethings that I have found helpful for me.
Sometimes the thoughts we have in our heads are so loud and overpowering. Taking time out to meditate and express gratitude to your body for carrying you through this rough time is important.
Connect with your body
It’s often said that our bodies are nothing more than meat suits that we wear as we go through life. This negative outlook can lead to us talking disparagingly about them because we assume, they don’t have much value. Taking time out to rub your growing tummy and thighs and speaking lovingly to the parts of you, you don’t like very much can break the pattern of negativity.
Curate your social media so that it’s not upsetting
Now that we don’t have our usual distractions like going out and meeting our friend’s we can turn to social media to keep us occupied. Sometimes, seeing other people who you think look better than you can lead to a shame spiral and amplify the negative thoughts we have about ourselves. If you find that the people you follow on social media trigger a negative response, either mute them or unfollow until you are feeling better about yourself.
Don’t use exercise and food as a reward or punishment
Working out is excellent for our health. It can heal our bodies. Food is there to nurture us and keep us strong and healthy. Using these things to punish yourself for being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ does more harm than good. When working out, perhaps think of it as a way of enjoying what your body can do and celebrating it. When eating, think of it as a way of nourishing yourself and fuelling this amazing machine that does so much to keep us alive.