body image, Uncategorized

Just Being- the COVID series

Today I’m coming at you LIVE from my kitchen with a holiday candle burning, Folklore playing, and my second glass of wine in hand.

My landlord technically doesn’t allow candles, but I simply cannot be tamed.

Today was different than a lot of days I have had lately. For the first time in a while, I have spent the whole day by myself with nothing to do. Normally, being alone is something I have a hard time with, because it leaves me, a very anxious and type-A person alone with my thoughts. If you have a personality like mine, you probably know what I mean.

That’s always been something that is really hard for me. Just being, with no agenda or tasks to accomplish. No plans to attend, and no “productive” things I need to do. It can honestly be kind of scary.

I wrote the introduction above a few weeks ago, with plans of making a post about “just being”. Little did I know, that on November 10th I would have to face a whole new level of “just being” when I tested positive for COVID.

I’m currently quarantining until the 19th, and while I feel fine, I have a lot of time to sit with my thoughts. When I got diagnosed, I wasn’t worried for my physical health as much as I was worried about mental health.

If I was Mackenzie from four years ago, I would have panicked, thinking about what these ten days of rest would do to my body. It would have caused me a lot of anxiety, out of fear that sitting at home with minimal steps and minimal energy for workouts would make me “fat”.

While my relationship with my body has improved by miles since then, I can’t lie when I say that sometimes I slip back into old patterns of fretting and over-analyzing. So I’m looking at these ten days as an opportunity to just be in my body. No thinking about what I’m eating, and no analyzing how I could still manage a workout. Just letting my body be how it is.

While I’ve talked a lot about self-love in the past, I’ve never really mentioned the concept of “Body Neutrality”, which is essentially just viewing your body as a vessel. It exists for function, and not physical appearance. Body Neutrality allows you to notice changes that occur as essentially an objective outsider. Losing or gaining weight creates no strong feelings, and while you don’t love every inch of yourself, you are working toward a sense of peace with how you look.

When I wasn’t thrilled about how I looked in this picture, I chose to switch my thinking to “body neutral” mode.

On days when I’m not feeling my best and the concept of loving myself seems a little far-fetched, I try to repeat things about my body as pure and simple facts. My current situation would be something like this:

“My body’s immune system is fighting corona virus”.

“I’m bloated today because I ate Chipotle”.

“I feel more limber after stretching”.

By trying to be more matter-of-fact about what is happening with my body instead of developing judgements has allowed me to carry on with my life (and the season of New Girl I’m currently watching). It’s amazing how allowing my body to “just be” can give me peace of mind.

My current reality

Letting my body just simply exist has also shed light on my non-physical attributes that I have no trouble loving. My sense of humor, my sass, and my intelligence, just to name a few. My body will grow and change, but these things will remain the same.

Whether you’re also battling COVID and have these same concerns, or you’ve just been having trouble with the whole “self-love” thing recently, I encourage you to take this approach when thinking about your body.

Now if you’d excuse me, this COVID Queen has to get back to Season 2, episode 18.

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