Lasting pandemic effects of overexercising


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Lasting pandemic effects of overexercising

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DISCLAIMER: This item may have been submitted in response to a school assignment prompt. See Linked Data.

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This page from my bullet journal displays the workout I conducted each day during the month of June, 2021. The viewer should note three pertinent pieces of information to understand the necessity of this piece for the archive: the bullet journal itself, the exercise habits, and the timeline between the beginning of the pandemic to the actual entry. Primarily, I picked up the hobby of bullet journaling itself during March of 2020. I wanted a method to record my own habits – such as exercise, eating, music taste, and TV shows - in a scrapbook type format during the pandemic. Truthfully, the entire book would contribute to the archive, due to the personal detail and day-to-day routine recorded. Secondly, the workout tracker shows a slight addiction to exercise, with runs or walks every day, in addition to tens of thousands of steps I already took. These overexercising habits began for me during quarantine, with time and stress on my hands, and no healthy ways of coping. Finally, the reader should also acknowledge that I wrote this entry in June of 2021, a full 15 months after the start of lockdown in the US. That timeline shows that lingering effects of the pandemic remain, perhaps even grow with time.
This artifact expresses more about my experience with the pandemic than I can articulate due to one central reason: learning self-love through exercise. Though I’d always struggled with having time on my hands, the pandemic left me feeling more uneasy with loneliness and boredom. Without a healthy way to deal with my emotions, I turned to exercise for the release and endorphins that I needed. Before I knew it, a casual workout each day led to apple watch addiction, calorie counting obsession, and cycles of binge eating and overcompensating through exercise, etc. While this sounds like my own personal journey, quarantine kickstarted and exacerbated these issues for adolescents all over the nation. With the recent introduction of tiktok “What I eat in a day” videos and Chloe Ting’s workout videos, people grew obsessive about wellness and moving their bodies. I learned so much about my body and my brain through this struggle with overexercise and obsession – and I feel grateful for that. Still though, I notice these effects in myself and others. This small contribution of a workout tracker speaks volumes about habits of teenagers after months of loneliness and free time – whether teenagers obtained an obsession with appearance, food, or exercising. And if those issues did not resurrect for some, I’d argue that the pandemic brought many other mental health challenges to surface for my age group. While this submission does little to express my emotions or challenges surrounding my exercise routine, it conveys the lingering effects of mental health tolls and body challenges from the pandemic.

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A photo of my bullet journal workout tracker

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This item was submitted on September 16, 2021 by Caroline Lingle using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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