PERMISSION SLIP: HOW TO APPRECIATE A CHANGING BODY
From weight changes to gray hairs, here’s how one woman is appreciating her ever-changing body.
– KEYS SOULCARE
At 35 years old, I’m not as nimble as I once used to be, but I’m still running on decent energy. I’m childless, able-bodied, and living in New York City — which are all factors that contribute to my mobility and independence. (I acknowledge that I’m extremely fortunate to be able to choose this lifestyle.)
Despite my privileges, I still feel the effects of getting older. I frequently experience lower back pain and tightness around my neck and shoulders. My weight fluctuates like crazy. I see grays rudely sprouting from my brunette head. And now, with the current pandemic and all the mandatory face coverings, I’m back to experiencing acne — or “maskne” as some call it. Getting older is a reality that everyone confronts, but I think it’s safe to say we’re all aging a bit more rapidly because of lockdown living.
All of this would normally be a buzzkill, but I’m here to argue that it doesn’t have to be. In fact, I’m feeling far more grateful than I ever have in my life. Given the litany of social injustices in the world, I’m lucky to live in a home where there’s food, security, and other comforts. It’s why I’m beyond appreciative of my evolving body, even if it does nothing more than idly sit in front of a work computer all day.
Don’t get me wrong, complaining about body changes is still allowed. But what’s more important is seeing those body changes and learning to (eventually) embrace them. Here are some ways I practice gratitude for the body I have:
Try new workouts
The WFH lifestyle isn’t exactly kind to your body, which is why making more of an effort to exercise helps tremendously. To keep things interesting, I frequently try new activities — barre, dance cardio, long-distance biking, weights, and more. Take a virtual workout class you’ve never tried before, and you may be surprised at how positively your body responds to it.
Purge your closet
Get rid of the too-tight jeans, the bras that don’t support you anymore, and anything other ill-fitting items that make you uncomfortable. Once you fully own your changing body, it’s then easier to rid yourself of the clothes that don’t service you anymore. Since the beginning of lockdown, I’ve fully embraced stretchy bottoms like bike shorts and sweatpants. There’s no going back.
Take up an outdoor activity
Pick one pandemic hobby to take up. The only catch is that it has to be an outdoor activity that requires your full attention. Some people, for instance, have taken up gardening. For me, it’s skateboarding, a hobby I love — even when I wipe out. Actively working through an unfamiliar outdoor hobby means you’ll always be challenging your body in a new way.
Experiment with beauty products
As your body goes through changes, so too will your beauty routine. So go ahead and experiment with new products — it’ll let you see your body in a different way. Lockdown has been an opportune time to wild out with bold hair colors and cosmetics without fear of judgement. Apply that unexpected lip or eye color you’ve never thought to try. It just may be what your body needs.