Maintaining my fitness before the nation-wide lockdown was not an easy task.
Truthfully, the only motivation I had was the fact that I was paying for a gym membership each month. I didn’t care much about my physical health at all.
Working full-time in hospitality meant my hours were long, and my shifts were demanding. Any free time I had leftover was usually dedicated to my freelance work, so my fitness was an afterthought. I usually solely relied on whether I could be bothered to go to the gym after running around a coffee shop all day.
As a result, I saw maintaining my fitness as an unpleasant task. Something that interrupted the brief moments of rest I got in-between working and freelancing instead of something to be taken seriously.
So what changed?
Lockdown came into effect, and suddenly I was forced to take time off. I was no longer running around at work, but I wasn’t allowed to go to the gym either. I had nothing to burn me out to the point of complete exhaustion, but I had no motivation to take care of myself either.
All I had was an intense need to be mentally stimulated as I sank deeper and deeper into the sofa, and that’s where social media came in.
Social media during lockdown.
Social Media, following the first lockdown announcement, was nothing short of chaos.
Anxiety levels were running high, conspiracy theories were being thrown around in every direction, and everyone was desperate for human interaction.
But as everyone else started adapting to this new way of life, interaction on social media adjusted accordingly. People began settling down into the new normal, and my engagement with the online world wasn’t purely centred around looking for distractions as I became less uncomfortable with not constantly working.
I started engaging with more posts as people discussed their new lockdown routines, which, for the first time, prioritised self-care and wellness instead of work.
Fitness, but Realistic Fitness.
Adding my physical health to my new priorities list still took a while after years of developing that toxic workaholic attitude. But it was certainly encouraging to see all these people online unlearning these bad habits along with me.
Fitness finally crossed my mind when I noticed a number of people online talking about yoga and how they feel they’ve benefitted from working it into their lockdown routine.
I never managed to see exercise as something to be enjoyed; it was always just something else I needed to cram into my already busy schedule. I loved the idea of developing a much healthier mindset towards the topic.
So I decided I was going to try yoga. I started engaging with these people more, trying to understand how to get started and what I needed to do to work it into my own lockdown routine. I’m still not sure if I’m any good at it, but that doesn’t matter because I enjoy doing it.
Previously, I mainly associated fitness on social media with those people who have it all. Those almost inhuman people who somehow can get up at 5am to go to the gym every day while juggling a career, a social life, and managing to look beautiful while doing it.
Now, I was engaging with real people with realistic goals, and I felt like this was something that I could also achieve. I was feeling confident enough to try new things, thanks to this online community.
It’s refreshing to see the benefit of looking after my body in my own home without motivating myself by paying for a gym membership.
The best part is, I actually look forward to doing it.
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As restrictions are beginning to ease, I can see myself continuing to keep fitness into my life. It’s nice being able to run up the stairs to my flat and not feel like my lungs are about to collapse afterwards.
I’m not going to pretend I’m suddenly this fitness fanatic who is obsessed with taking care of her body. I’ve got a long way to go. I still don’t really know what I’m doing, I still hate running, and I still chuck a frozen pizza on for dinner more times than I’m willing to admit.
But I have a new outlook on maintaining my health, both physical and mental. Now, I understand the importance of setting boundaries with work and finding a way to enjoy staying fit rather than seeing it as a task as I did before lockdown.
I’m not perfect, but I’m finally moving in the right direction.
As a result, I probably won’t be renewing that gym membership as restrictions begin to ease. Instead, I’ll finally be looking for new ways to enjoy looking after myself while looking after my body.