As I sit here typing this and cuddling my puppy, we are on day 56 of COVID-19 shutdown.
In less than a week it will have been two months since I saw the inside of my office, since my children went to school with their friends, since my husband commuted to work.
Since we are “enjoying” at home school these days, my son just informed me that two months makes one thousand four hundred and forty hours since we could get together with friends. He’s working out the seconds now, but I’ll spare you.
Despite the distance we have put between ourselves and basically all other elements of human interaction, there is one thing I have gotten intimately closer to – my refrigerator.
I always wanted to be one of those people who lost their appetite during stressful times. But, unfortunately, that’s not my jam and, instead, I am that girl who hoards boxes of Oreo cookies to eat in secret when the going gets tough.
Ask me how many boxes of Oreos I have stashed under my bed right now? Because the tough is going hard as we continue to be mostly hunkered down in our homes, avoiding the people, places, and things that once motivated us to get up and go live our best lives.
The stress caused by quarantine life can only be mitigated, ignored, and pushed aside by binge watching shows on Netflix and day drinking on your porch for so long before it starts to catch up to you. And how it catches up to you is going to look different for each of us.
For me, it looks like little sleep thanks to late nights and early mornings.
It looks like long, stressful days accentuated by bickering kids, confusing distance learning expectations, and hours sitting at my makeshift office/dining room table since my husband overtook our home office.
All of these are things that lead to weight gain: lack of sleep, stress, eating more energy dense foods, like those high in sugar and fat (did someone say OREOS?), over nutrient dense foods like fruits and veggies.
Which is also why my quarantine life looks like 15 extra pounds of unwanted, unwieldy weight that I am making every effort to forgive myself for.
Because that’s what crisis living requires –forgiveness.
And grace. And flexibility as we attempt to adapt to a new way of life.
As we all continue to make sacrifices for our physical well being, it’s important that we also attend to our mental and emotional health. And, in times of crisis and chaos like those we are living with now, we need to be diligent, intentional, and creative about how we accomplish that.
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Quarantine Life: How I Maintain My Mental, Emotional and Physical Well Being During Quarantine
Avoid negative self-talk.
Whether you’re unhappy with recent weight gain or feeling unproductive with work, it’s important that you prevent negative self-talk from becoming a part of your personal dialogue.
How we talk to and about ourselves greatly effects how we think about ourselves which has a direct impact on how we treat ourselves and allow others to treat us.
Be kind to yourself during this time. Forgiveness and understanding need to be a part of your day as you attempt to make good food choices, fit in fitness, and not actually swing on your husband when he comes up and asks you what you’re making for lunch (NOTHING! IT’S YOUR TURN!).
One of the things my partnership with Med-IQ has taught me is the importance of how you speak about things like obesity. Obesity is an chronic condition and, like any other medical condition, it does not define the person who has it. We all need to stop labeling anyone, especially ourselves, based on perceived body fat composition. And having obesity definitely doesn’t determine things like how fun someone is, how smart someone is, or how awesome they are to be around.
As hard as it can be to remember sometimes, your weight and outside appearance don’t define who you are.
It’s important to note that obesity has been identified as a risk factor for experiencing more severe COVID-19 if you catch coronavirus and staying healthy is even more important for those individuals who are at risk of suffering severe complications. Please take some time to care for yourself and maintain your personal health and safety during this time.
Learn more about how you can proactively advocate for yourself here: Obesity Action
Didn’t eat pie for breakfast? Go you!
Did a couple of TikTok dances and broke a sweat? Get it girl!
Small wins are still wins and deserve to be celebrated particularly when they are so tough to come by.
Make small food and activity adjustments.
Let me just tell you, TikTok dances are legit.
I sweated like an MMA fighter in the cage when I was trying to learn the Savage dance and things hurt that haven’t hurt in years.
You don’t have to sign up for five virtual fitness classes, buy a Peleton bike, and commit yourself to a kale based diet to feel good or be healthy—a daily walk, working in your garden, or breaking a sweat scrubbing your kids’ bathroom will do.
If you’re looking for more ideas on how you can stay active at home, here are some tips from WHO: Staying Physically Active During Self Quarantine
Give up the guilt.
These days all of us are failing at things we used to easily win at and that’s okay.
Everyone can’t make color coded school calendars, teach their kids chemistry, make three course meals three times a day, grocery shop with a mask on without fogging up their glasses, lose weight, host zoom happy hours, and meet all of their work deadlines while on quarantine with their three TEENAGERS, husband, and two dogs.
Maybe you can, but this girl can’t and I don’t have the energy to take a self-inflicted beating about it each day.
Give yourself a break. In fact, maybe give yourself several.
Take brain breaks.
It’s what my kid calls it when he needs an excuse to ignore his distance learning assignments and run around the living room like a maniac for 15 minutes or until I scream at him to stop it, whichever comes first.
I use them as a way to just step back from everything that vexes me—work, family stuff, anxiety about the virus, how come my belly won’t fit into nonelastic waist pants anymore, people posting crazy stuff on Facebook that makes me question the ultimate viability humanity.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed during a crisis and it sneaks up on you if you let it. Allowing your brain to just take a beat regularly helps.
Take the Med-IQ Survey and Enter to Win
Med-IQ is conducting an anonymous survey and would appreciate your input. The survey, which includes additional education on this topic, will take less than 15 minutes to complete. Survey responses are shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide Med-IQ with important information about your experiences with obesity and your care team, which will help us develop future educational initiatives. Once you’ve completed the survey, you will have the option of providing your email address to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 10 $100 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will be used only to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize and to send a follow-up survey as part of this same initiative.
Take the survey here: Med-IQ Survey
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