I’m a major lockdown cliche. Whatever the nation seemed to be collectively doing, during all this, I’m doing it too. Everyone else is drinking more? Me too. Everyone else decides to quit for a week? And me. Women losing paid work and going bananas? Check. Zoom exercise classes on the up? Yup, here too.
And now, as we all settle down into a full-on staring-at-the-wall, mumbling, stared-eyed, no-exercise, unlimited booze, unfeeling, mindless zombie trudge, I find that this is what I am doing as well.
Something always has to give. Last time it was the remote learning. We didn’t do any of it, we just lazed around in the sunshine and occasionally played volcano Top Trumps.
This time we’re doing the learning – all of it. But what’s gone straight out the window is is self-denial or acting in any sensible fashion for the preservation of my future self. Does that make sense?
I have regressed into a have-it-now, instant gratification ruminant, unable to deal with any optional hardship. So: only tasty food that is easy to chew. Unlimited alcohol, sleeping aids, zero exercise (in fact the Heath has been so muddy that for three days I banned walks). No intellectual TV and there’s a free-for-all on TikTok videos.
Damn, those things make me laugh.
And until last week, my body held up. But now it has collapsed. My thighs are spreading, my tummy inexorably creeping, smilingly outwards.
In a way it’s good, it makes me see that the exercise I have been doing works. Worked. But the idea of starting up again, of the mountain I have to climb, of the weeks it will take, the hours I will have to put in to claw it all back… I just can’t. I can’t. I CAN’T. I know I should have been doing my Zoom barre and negotiating hard with my husband for private time so that I could go marching round the Heath in lieu of a spin class but I fucking couldn’t DO IT!
It’s all in my head, though, I know that. It won’t take that long to get back into it and once the schools are back I might even want to. But for now the thought of my even putting on exercise gear just… it just makes me cringe. My barre teacher, Nathalie, confirms that her classes are down 50% when as it’s January and February attendance ought to be through the roof. Back in May she had up to eighty participants online.
I have decided to sidle back into that sort of onerous eat-your-greens self-care, (rather than hot bath and wine self care), stealthily so that when the schools are back I can tug on those Lycra’s with 10% enthusiasm.
My build-up to this includes dry body-brushing and incorporating an 8 second cold blast whenever I shower. Dry body brushing is exactly what it sounds like, (wasn’t Bridget Jones always at it?) – my body brush was a gift from Goop but they are available all over the place. Give yourself a good brush all over (watch a YouTube video for inspo) and then shower, turning the heat gradually down from hot to warm to tepid and then finally a really cold blast, before turning it back up again.
Is it working? I don’t know. But there’s something about it that makes me feel that tiny glimmer of smugness that is basically the only reason for doing any of this crap.
How about you? If you have managed to continue your daily run/yoga/pilates through all this then please, I beg you, don’t tell me.