March 21, 2021

Pandemic Relief for those of us Feeling Bloated, Chubby & Tired.

What was I forced to give up, and what did I choose to? How did COVID-19 impact my life?

These were questions that arose as I conducted my year-at-a-glance review. 

When COVID-19 crept into our world, it was a slow, insidious process for many. We listened to scientific experts and watched the news, yet I’m not certain if we fully grasped the impact it would have on our lives.

Then in what seemed like the blink of an eye, the pandemic hit hard. Fast and furious replaced the slow and insidious. There were conflicting information and data.

Non-essential workers went home with their must-have business tools to conduct their professional lives. What we thought would be a week or maybe a month transformed into what we now refer to as “the new normal”—12+ months later.

Quarantines and lockdowns. The things we took for granted were suddenly taken away—going to the gym, meeting friends for dinner, grabbing a drink after work. Kids were homeschooled while parents juggled dual careers in tight quarters. Toilet paper, antibacterial hand wash, and disinfecting wipes became precious commodities.

City streets that once bustled with energy and activity were desolate. Home became a safe haven—or a prison—dependent on a great number of personal and professional variables that would either comfort the soul or drive one insane.

It was unsettling, to say the least. Faced with a plethora of unknowns, our basic needs had to be met, and resources were scarce. The conveniences that we were accustomed to were no longer available to us. And catching a cold was no longer a worry because we had much bigger concerns—staying alive.

The severity of COVID-19 can’t be overlooked, ignored, or forgotten. We are still very much in the throes of this pandemic even though death rates have, thankfully, declined, new cases decreased, and cities are opening up.

People died. Mental health suffered. Alcohol sales skyrocketed. This is a harsh reality.

Families grew closer. Pet shelters emptied with record adoption numbers. Daily life was simplified. Some of us were gifted in many ways. These were the positives.

We were forced to look at what was critical in our lives and what we could do without. We found new ways to come together and let go of people and things that weighed us down. Our strength, resilience, and spirit were tested. Some scored high, and some scored low. The quality of many lives was enriched, and while the quality of other lives was destroyed.

These are sad truths that we can not (and should not) lose sight of as we—a society and a world—recover and rebuild.

For me, the early months of the pandemic were tolerable, even wonderful, I dare say (with empathy and compassion for those who were negatively impacted).

Had anyone told me that we would be in the same place now than we were then, I may not have made it. Like people in recovery, I took it one day at a time, which made it manageable and achievable. I didn’t think of it as being home forever, but only for that day.

But right now? Let me tell you. It’s been one extremely long day.

As time marches on, I find myself growing irritable, dispirited, and restless. I’ve closely examined the ways in which my life has transformed. The blessings are countless, and I’m grateful for the gifts COVID-19 unexpectedly bestowed upon me. New friendships. More family time. My four-legged partner in crime has become the love of my life. No daily commute. And these are just a few.

But there has also been a downside, and I only have me to blame. Poor choices. Bad decisions. Negative consequences.

I let myself go in so many ways.

Exercise was critical to my physical and mental well-being, but I let that slide, growing lazier and lazier over time.

Good nutrition was invaluable to my functional health, but I replaced that with junk—overly processed, refined, and fried foods to sugar-laden and salty goodies—adding numbers to the scale that weigh heavily on my psyche.

The desire to dress nicely, make an effort with my hair and apply makeup quelled, and I’ve found myself in the same sweatshirt for days with my hair in a head-wrap and a pinch of the cheeks for color.

Had you asked me last year, I wouldn’t have seen this coming. Had you asked me what I would do if I had more time in my day, my answer would have been shaped quite differently.

Yet here I am, feeling bloated, chubby, and tired. I lack motivation, energy, and strength. I move from my seat at the desk in front of the laptop all day to my seat on the couch in front of the television all night.

This has become my COVID-19 life. Each day. Every day. As the months passed, I kept saying tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll workout. Tomorrow I’ll eat better. Tomorrow I’ll get back to my healthy lifestyle and change my ways.

But tomorrow never came, and this was when the questions arose as I filled with self-loathing and disgust.

What was I forced to give up, and what did I choose to? How did COVID-19 impact my life?

Life may have changed, but the commitment to my well-being didn’t have to. That was a choice. I made the decision to hide away and check out. I chose to use this time to lower my expectations of self, overindulging, and gambling with my health. Sloth and gluttony became my new norm.

What a vicious cycle I was caught in. When would it stop? Where did my willpower go? And how would I get back on track? How would I find my way back to the active, healthy, nutritious lifestyle I believed in and promoted?

At that moment, I realized that I could not change the past, but I could evaluate the wreckage and repair the damage. I was out of tomorrows. I was out of time. I was out of my mind.

Tomorrow became today, and I decided it would stop. There would be no more delays. There would be no more excuses. There would be no more tomorrows.

I may have been forced to stay home and physically distance, but it was my choice to slow, then all but stop, my self-care. COVID-19 may have given me an excuse, but my newfound irritation and restlessness were the result of pure neglect. Plain and simple.

I look like crap. I feel like crap. And the change begins with me—not tomorrow or even today, but right now, in this very moment.

Can you relate?

If this is you, please accept this invitation to join me in a 30-day journey back to health and wellness.

Put down the cookies and put on your sneakers—take a walk in the fresh air!

Turn off the television and turn up the music—now dance!

Recall what nourishes your heart, mind, and soul—now feed it wisely!

Share with us here in the comments your thoughts–what steps will you take to ensure self-care?

Do you have tips and tricks that will benefit others?

There is strength in numbers. We decreased the COVID-19 cases and stayed safe together—now let’s get fit and healthy together!

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