PSA: You don’t need to have a ‘glow up’ before the pandemic ends

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Sophie Coffey
Sophie Coffey
A self-confessed shopaholic with a severe bookshop obsession.

One of our lovely followers recently sent in a dilemma to our ‘We’re all friends here’ segment on our Instagram stories and it stuck with me. They asked for advice on ‘how to have a glow up’ before returning to school.

It is far from a ridiculous question. In fact, it is an incredible normal desire to have. That pressurised feeling of needing to have it all together has existed since long before this pandemic. It is natural to feel that you need to have improved in the intervening time since schools closed. But I promise you it is not necessary.

The last few months have not been a luxury holiday at a posh resort or even one of those intense and pricey bootcamps. Instead, we have been confronted with the worst public health crisis of our lifetimes. And I recognise that a reminder seems unnecessary considering how long the pandemic has lasted, but in truth I think the duration of the crisis is exactly why we need that reminder.

You cannot be 'over' something that is not over!

In April last year I wrote a piece entitled ‘The promotion of diet culture during the pandemic needs to stop’. Twelve months later and not only am I still shouting the very same thing, but I have no intention of stopping any time soon! 

I tackled diet culture in particular in that article, but I also referenced the idea of ‘cocooning’. At the time this was the government’s advice for the elderly or vulnerable. At no point was it the advice that we had to emerge as new, improved, prettier versions of ourselves once the country reopened. Three lockdowns later and this at least, has not changed. 

Just because it has been a year (and god knows that is a roller coaster of emotions all by itself), does not mean that we have to be ‘used to it’. I cannot imagine that there will ever be a period that I will be ‘over it’. 

Yes, some aspects of our life have returned closer to normality and perhaps we have become accustomed to other elements like wearing masks. However, the duration of the crisis in no way invalidates the impacts of the crisis itself. For as long as they call out the death toll every night, I think you can have that extra biscuit (or few). And even beyond that. Because yes there are additional allowances incurred by our current situation, but we also have allowances just for being human.

Have a break (and that kit-kat!)

Consider all of your self-made rules. Where did these personal policies come from? How many of them are based in valid points and how many based in aesthetic value? 

Theft and stealing are morally wrong and illegal. Having a bad hair day or fluctuating in weight is neither of those things. So, when it comes to what you can and can’t do – or even worse what you should and shouldn’t do – take a moment and a step back. 

So, what if you tumble into school with a creased shirt, bed head, and the faintest grasp of algebra? Go you! 

Contrary to the claims of many ‘wellness experts’ this pandemic has not been a wonderful and voluntary opportunity for you tick off a to-do list of self-improvements.

A new list of achievements

Both the traditional and digital forms of media have been flooding our feeds with lists of things we need to be or do. So, in order to balance things up a little here is a new list.

  • You don’t need to master a new language. You’re already fluent in virus-vernacular.
  • You don’t need to run a marathon. You’ve already become innately familiar with your own 5km.
  • You don’t need to lose weight. You’re already carrying an ‘unprecedented’ burden on your shoulders.
  • And if you do want to achieve some of these things? Then that’s okay too. Because we cope differently, and we respond differently, and we are different. We have all been in the same pandemic but how we have experienced it has varied.

So, if you still want to have a glow up? Go for it, but make sure that you are doing it for the right reasons.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. We have more than enough of that right now!

Have you felt pressure to have a glow-up before the end of the pandemic?

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