Right now, people are staying at home and practicing social distancing to flatten the curve and reduce the cases of COVID-19. During this time it's not unusual to feel alone or uneasy; it's normal to feel stressed and worried, so taking care of your mental health is as much a necessity as the Vitamin C tablet you're probably having every day. That being said, it's led me to question: why are we so fixated on gaining weight during a global health crisis?
Lately, #COVID15 has been trending all over social media - and no, (don't worry) it's not a new virus. People have been comparing putting on weight in quarantine to 'freshman 15', an expression used in America that refers to putting on weight in your first year of university.
really tried my best to avoid Freshman-15 during my first year, only to be stuck at home eating 9 meals a day during a pandemic in my third year— Sarah Khaki (@sarahkhaki_) April 6, 2020
Although we are *literally* in the middle of a pandemic, one of the main messages on social media RN is this absurd notion that you should be staying fit and becoming more productive during this period. Why not use this extra time to better yourself? Organise your beauty closet? Bake banana bread?
I also believe this pressure to take on a new hobby is unneccesary. Of course, it can be healthy, as long as you're doing it at your own pace. Why are we having a productivity competition on social media? And why are we expected to be watching our weight?
Gyms closed. So this summer gone be about personality.— Falmé D (@MottoMan_) April 4, 2020
I've heard one too many comments from friends and family about how they won't be able to wear jeans after this, or about how *I* should watch how much I'm eating throughout the day. Now, I live in an Arab household so these things don't phase me anymore. But I am worried about those who have a tough time with their body image, or those who may have eating disorders. Frankly, this is not what they need to be seeing all over their Twitter or Instagram feed.
Memes like this may seem funny at first - even I've laughed at my fair share - but in hindsight they're spreading a negative message that we should all come out of quarantine looking exactly the same or 'perfect', which is ridiculous. We need to be better at calling out these beauty standards. If you want to finish your quarantine snacks, then do it. If you feel like doing an at-home workout, then do that too. My point is, do whatever you want. You don't need to feel pressured because the internet has decided that you should become skinnier after quarantine.
Instead of stressing on how we'll look like on the outside, let's focus on if our insides are healthy first. Whether or not you've got a thigh gap or a small waist won't fight off a nasty virus like COVID-19, having a healthy and strong immune system may, though. It's time that we change our mindset and perceptions around body weight and beauty. Aren't you getting tired of it?? Because I most definitely am.
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Let’s come together and stop being judgmental on what we do with our isolated time. Whether you want to Netflix and chill, have crying sessions, dance sessions, and/or exercise, what’s most important is that you do whatever it is that you need to do to take care of your mental health.
I've come to the conclusion that I will no longer be paying attention to 'covid-15'. I'll be taking this self-isolation day-by-day. Feeling positive and productive on some days, and naturally, lazy and down on other days. My 'summer 2020 body' won't be ready post-coronavirus, but that's because 'summer bodies' don't exist.