I love how everyone is raising their voice against all these absurd productivity goals in quarantine. But I wish I saw the same enthusiasm regarding impossible body / attractiveness goals. I see my own friends and family making passive-aggressive comments about how we’re eating more and moving less and posting fat shaming memes; and I can’t help but wonder if they’re going for the oldest trick in the book: disguising insecurities as humor.

So if you already know that putting on a little weight is not only NOT a big deal; it’s hardly even a deal, in any context, let along a global pandemic, that’s great! Thumbs up! But in case you do need a little help with this, you’re in luck, because I need to write this. I need to say this constantly to myself. Will you join me here? Inhale, exhale, have a snack, smile, and read on: a quick checklist for self-love.  

#1: You don’t need to stay fit in quarantine, whatever that means.

I don’t know what you’ve been hearing from your acquaintances, from that voice in your head, from those Instagram accounts, but NO: you don’t have to do push ups in the living room or jump around when you actually just feel like watching a movie. 

✓  Yes, you are allowed to snack at 3 AM. And you don’t need to do the walk of shame to the fridge every time you do.

✓  Yes you’re allowed to sit around all day if you feel like it. 

✓  Yes of course you’re allowed to dance, move, and do yoga if that’s what you truly desire.

✓  No you don’t need to triple-check your reasons to indulge your cravings, it’s a weird moment in your life, so your reasons might be complicated, and that’s fine. 

✓  Yes you can (and should) unfollow any account that’s making you doubt yourself. 

✓  Don’t listen to old-school dieters demonizing “emotional” eating. You are not a robot. You have emotions and you’re allowed to act and react to these emotions! It’s actually expected of you as a human being! 

Tell yourself: My body and feelings will fluctuate and that is natural, it is normal, and it is more than ok.

Pair with: Agnolotti + pomarola from @estoessoma 

#2: You don’t have to come out of quarantine looking perfect; just alive and healthy.

If you’re having a hard time with body image these days, trust me, you’re not the only one. Some people might be more discreet than others, but the truth is: we all have to live in this society, with its impossible standards and oversold fantasies. If you’re feeling anxious about your looks and body (among other reasons) don’t worry. You don’t have to force positivity and optimism all the time. Just try to acknowledge and observe these feelings in the first place; and in the second place, practice self-compassion.

Every time you have a negative thought; balance it with a small dose of self-kindness. Don’t waste energy trying to replace thoughts – just find some balance. I read once that you should always talk to yourself as you would to your best friend. It works.

Tell yourself: Whatever I am feeling right now, I won’t feel like this forever. I will be kind to myself as I wait to hang out and have fun with my loved ones again.

Pair with: Maracuyá Cheesecake from @yedracocina

#3: The world is going through an unprecedented crisis. Remember that.

Your feelings and your problems are as valid as anyone else’s, and I don’t mean to underestimate them by stating “there are bigger problems.” That being said: There are bigger problems. In the past, getting out of my head for a while and committing to the bigger picture has helped me A LOT. Look around and try to place yourself in the context. How can you help others? From sharing positive news and wholesome memes, to helping your +65 neighbor grocery shop, kindness comes in many forms, and usually attracts more kindness.

Ask yourself: What is my role in the bigger picture? How can I help?

Pair with: Lamb stuffed parathas from Gran Dabbang

One last thought….

Please don’t take joy away from food!

Especially now, when we can use all the joy we can get. If you need extra inspiration, I recommend following: @recipesforselflove, @i_weigh, @thebodylovesociety and @wetheurban. And if you need to read this in Spanish, or just need to talk about it in a judgment-free zone – I’m here 🙂