The Most Important Thing I Learned in Quarantine

Giving my body some love is my number 1 priority.

Taru Anniina Liikanen

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Photo by kike vega on Unsplash

My body turned 35 in 2020. My mind has been there for years, but my body had always felt younger.

I’ve had my issues with body dysmorphia and eating disorders, sure. There have also been tough times when I’ve been eating poorly and drinking too much, and that has definitely made me feel unbalanced in my body. In the past years, I’ve been able to leave a lot of my insecurities behind, but I’ve still been pretty obsessive at times about working out.

Sitting at my desk from March to October in 2020 changed everything.

COVID-19 made my body feel dysfunctional in a completely new way. Argentina, where I live, had a pretty brutal lockdown that lasted for months. Going outside wasn’t allowed, except for the grocery store or the pharmacy. I had also just started working as a freelance writer in January and, like many freelancers, taken on too many projects, cutting any personal time to a minimum. Then I started killing quarantine boredom by taking up smoking, years after I had quit, and eating ice cream and drinking beer.

Soon, my body started working differently. My neck started clicking, my hips popping and my muscles disappearing. I felt like I lost two inches of height because my vertebrae were getting pushed together due to pure gravity and lack of stretching. The first time I took a 2-mile walk, I was out of breath and experienced muscle soreness the next day like I had done a full workout at the gym. One day, I realized my arms got tired from washing my hair. I felt old, in a way I hadn’t anticipated would happen, especially in such a short time.

Even more than the social aspect of quarantine and living alone, I really felt the impact of sitting down for months. Our bodies aren’t designed for it, and they deteriorate incredibly quickly.

Yet, at the same time, this body has kept me healthy during a once-in-a-century pandemic. It deserves something better than me hating it for changing. It needs me to prioritize its wellbeing.

Slowly, the restrictions on moving outside started getting lifted, as did my workload. I started taking socially distanced walks outside and doing some light yoga…

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Taru Anniina Liikanen

Stand-up comedian and recovering political ghostwriter. Finnish by birth, porteña at heart. Bad jokes frequent.