3,2, 1, Say Quarantine!

Nicole McEvoy

#QUARANTINE

I’ve been scrolling through my phone for the past half hour. What to do? What to do? I have so much on my plate at the moment. And I’m not talking about the fresh-out-of-the-oven frozen pepperoni pizza with sweetcorn on top. Or the slowly melting tub of Magnum. I have been in quarantine for the past three weeks, and my days have become blurred. Quarantine this, quarantine that. Not a single soul hasn’t been present online since the outbreak. I, for example, have binge-watched all of The Handmaid’s Tale. My finger hovers over Game of Thrones now and again, but I know very well that that would be a slippery slope down another binge-watch-marathon dragon hole I wouldn’t get out of until the quarantine was over. 

Since the majority of people are at home, I decided I’d like to jump on the band-wagon of some things people do these days. And where is the best place to start?

#INSTAMOTIVATED

Instagram. The holy grail of celebrities, personal trainers, models, cooks and many more inspirational people. I decided I’d go to the gurus of the internet for inspiration.

All the influencers I follow online have started home workouts. You name it. From HIIT workouts to yoga sessions, Instagram, and YouTube, for that matter, are your oyster when it comes to accessible fitness. All my favourite American dancers are offering free dance classes online. It would almost be disrespectful not to use this opportunity to try them all out. All excuses are off the table at this point. There is no reason why you can’t grab this opportunity by the balls and completely change your life. And I can’t not mention the thousands of people suddenly training for marathons… If a guy who hasn’t seen his running shoes since 1998 has been able to get them out just to get outside, there’s no reason why I can’t manage a little jog out with my dogs. There are no social events that make you skip that workout or order an extra ice cream shake with your burger. Which brings me to health.

Men and women all over the world are starting diets, juice cleanses, intermittent fasting or going vegan. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with all that. I just feel extra stressed digging into my third schnitzel of the day. And working an arm’s length away from my bed and eight steps from the kitchen (yes, I’ve counted it), it’s getting a bit harder to stick to snacking on celery sticks.

 Oh, and let’s not forget the time-lapses of models ‘spring cleaning’. To be honest, I have a few of those in my gallery myself, but mostly time-lapses cleaning up a hell of a mess I should’ve cleaned up last Christmas. 

Celebrities are recommending social distancing and promoting life at home as ‘not that bad’. Well, of course. Good for you. I wouldn’t feel quite as isolated as I do in a million-dollar mansion, but go on. You do you. And let’s not forget all the families suddenly adopting puppies on every corner. I’ve also been tempted. But I think doggie number 4 would be pushing it.

It seems to me as if everyone has got a grip during this time. Everyone knows where they’re going. It almost seems as if people are happier this way. Amy has started baking and will probably start writing an e-book soon. Joe is making videos of him challenging his mates to a workout during his #instalive streams. Sarah has started her own YouTube channel. Dave is suddenly into something called the WimHof method. And did you hear? My classmate Natasha is expecting again. I just don’t get how everyone does it. Is getting out of bed in the morning too much to expect of myself?

Where was I? Oh yes, scraping the bottom of the barrel as I look for motivation.

Instagram is a wonderland full of fun, enjoyment and communities to lean on when you’re alone in this time of uncertainty. But how can they be all so damn positive? If someone’s selling a pill that will make me motivated and they have a discount code to go with it, that would be lovely. Possibly with free international shipping, thanks.

Back to the point. I have come to a conclusion. Something must change during my time at home. I have to make the most of my time. Not to do anything would be downright disrespectful to myself. Can you imagine? Not doing anything? I would be an embarrassment to myself and others.

#MYQUARANTINETRANSFORMATION

I think these thoughts are going through everyone’s head. Who am I and what am I learning from this experience? Will I continue to be the same person? Am I happy with who I am becoming? What will I do differently when everything goes back to normal? Can I get a six-pack in a month? 

Not to sound like I’ve fallen off the wagon, but sometimes I hear different questions in my head. How cold is too cold ice cream? How long should I leave it out before it is just right to eat? How many packets of cookies will last me a week? Why is everyone buying so much flour? Have you all learnt how to bake? But these questions won’t bake me a six-pack, I’m afraid. 

I have decided that I, too, will be one of the cool ones. I will transform my life from the comfort of my bum sitting on my uncomfortable chair in my childhood bedroom.

One disclaimer before we start:

I am one of the lucky ones. I have work and school, though I still manage to find the time to procrastinate. I live in a ‘mummy hotel’. The only thing I worry about is meeting my deadlines and what’s for dinner. Here’s the thing though. I feel like I’m not doing enough. This should be ‘my time’. This will be the time when I finally realise I should work on myself, start eating healthy, start a business, lose 50 pounds (that would be great).  Maybe I should go vegan. I could start a minimalist lifestyle. Start meditating. Plan a gap year to travel (okay, maybe not that one). Go running three times a week. Start using the gym we have downstairs…

But back to business.

My goal is simple and easy to accomplish – Six-Pack Athletic Beach Babe. All I’m missing is the six-pack, the shredded body and the beach. But I’m quite a babe. And I’m sure I’ll be able to get to the beach once the borders open up. But no, really. Let’s get physical here, shall we? Okay, maybe theoretical. 

I have made a few alterations to my lifestyle to help me reach my dream goals in a matter of weeks.

I took a ‘BEFORE’ body picture, that’s for sure. I’m scared that my ‘AFTER’ picture will come out worse. Worst scenario? I’ll just swap the before and after when I show them to my relatives. Nobody will suspect a thing.

I purchased an eight-week transformation workout e-book by a YouTuber from Australia. I’ve been watching her videos for over three years now. During that time she’s managed to find a boyfriend, get engaged, have a baby and look as shredded as she did before her pregnancy. I have lost a boyfriend in that period and look like I’ve had three children with another one on the way. So, I assume she must be doing something I’m not. It must be the location. Just kidding! But I hope this book will help me to become a better version of myself.

Cutting down on the tubs of Magnum and packets of K-Klasik cheese popcorn during my evening scrolls (I can’t stroll, so don’t judge me) should also do the trick. And I’ve heard cold showers really do the trick when it comes to immunity. To be honest. I don’t even know where to start…. 

Where are you guys finding the motivation? Is it at the bottom of however many glasses of celery juice you’ve had? Because I had just one carrot juice and it made me too sick to work from home the next day. Can you imagine? To have such a tummyache that I couldn’t even do ‘home office’? If I’d nibbled on the carrots all day instead of juicing them, I may have been better off. As it was, I bit off more than I could chew of course (pun intended). But I stand by the nibbling.

#SELFLOVE

But d’you know what? If you are holding a tub of Magnum as I am, you go, girl! Cheers to you! I am proud of you for coping during this difficult time. I am ranting on about first-world problems, yet there is nothing I’d rather do at the moment. If you are happy and satisfied with yourself, there’s no reason you can’t rock up to the beach this summer with a six-pack of beer and be as happy, even if you have shredded cheese tuna sandwiches rather than a shredded body.

I hope we will all soon be able to celebrate the fresh air, summer breeze, evening air, open cinemas and Italian ice cream. That we will all enjoy the sunset and kissing in the rain. In the end, the most important thing is that the sky is blue, the flowers grow, the water flows and the blood pumps through our veins. And that we all have the strength to live another day.

Because what is really important at the end of the day is not the big quarantine transformation, the muscle gain, the weight loss or the diet. It’s how we express our gratitude for the things we have had all along. A home. A family. Health. So please, I raise my almost empty tub and ask you to #staysafe #stayhome.