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Body image can suffer in a pandemic

Daisy Wigg/YJI

Dartford, UK – Living in such turbulent times with no clear idea of when self-isolation will come to an end, it is understandable to feel the need to find some control over our lives. But for some, this control is not simply a daily routine or choosing when you wake up, but is a bigger problem of body dysmorphia and a need to control or change how you look.

At the simplest of times, mental health is at the forefront of social problems, with multiple charities set up to aid people both online and in-person and government reforms taking place in recent years to update the 1983 Mental Health Act in the UK.

However, these are far from simple times. In such isolated conditions, one can easily find pre-existing conditions worsening and new ones arising. Being unable to go out to meet friends and family and not being able to go to school or work takes a toll.

With the closure of gyms, we are not afforded any escape from ourselves, or the calming of an outside perspective. Instead, we are forced to sit with and mull over our own thoughts, until they multiply in size and strength, at some point becoming unbearable.

Much of the advice out there includes taking a break from social media, but when the boredom hits, it seems to be our animal instinct to swipe and scroll.

Seeing all the celebrities enjoy quarantine snacks and yet still maintain an impeccable physique gives rise to unrealistic expectations of ourselves. What you don’t see are the swimming pools in their gardens, the fully equipped gym in their garages or the celebrity nutritionist providing meal plans.

Everyday people should not be held to the same standard as millionaire celebrities who are funded on their looks.

Millionaire celebrities, however, should maintain a standard of honesty and transparency.

We do not have to completely switch off social media, but instead we can filter what we see to promote a positive mindset. For example, Malin Andersson – “Love Island” contestant-turned body-positivity-activist – not only shares her personal and deeply emotional life experiences with others in an honest and relatable way, but provides women with an uplifting example of a realistic, happy, healthy and strong body.

In what can be a lonely and stressful time, we should try to celebrate the health we hold and appreciate all that our bodies do for us, be that just getting us out of bed in the morning. We should also not focus our point of view solely from the perspective of a mirror, but look at the good within us and others.

Daisy Wigg is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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