Glowing up while locked down

April 19, 2020 — by Anouk Yeh

Codey during one of our afternoon exercise walks.

As it turns out, trying to make big self-improvements — otherwise known as a glow-up plan — might not be the best idea during a quarantine.

When Santa Clara County announced that all schools would be closing on March 13, I decided to treat myself to a weekend-long grace period of relaxation and mourning. Naturally, the weekend break quickly unraveled into a week of moping around the house.

After a full week of unproductive Netflix binging, I decided that I would try to execute my own glow-up plan, consisting of a regimented sleep and exercise schedule, a carb-free diet and an extensive hair and skin care routine.

On the first day of the glow-up plan, I was immediately faced with opposition — the  struggle of getting out of bed before noon. During my week-long grace period, my sleep schedule aligned with a completely different time zone (I think that of Taiwan’s), making me wake up at around 2 in the afternoon and go to sleep at 4 in the morning. 

So when my alarm rang at 9 a.m., it was no surprise that it took an intense 15-minute internal pep talk to peel my eyes open. 

Then came breakfast. Most days, pre glow-up, I wouldn’t even eat breakfast (since I’d still be snoozing), so I decided to go light on breakfast and have half an avocado.

I decided my next goal was time to embark on my long put-off exercise plan. Since I’m not the most athletic person in the world, I decided to opt for a light walk to the park with my equally unathletic dog, Codey.

Codey is our family’s corgi-labrador mix rescue that inherited a corgi’s stature from his dad and a labrador’s heart and ambition from his mom. As a result, he’s a living embodiment of the phrase “eyes bigger than the stomach,” in this case, meaning his athletics are always halted midway by his stubby legs and long body. Now, although dog walking is normally perceived as a low-level activity, nothing with Codey is ever half-hearted. 

As soon as we left the house, Codey, started charging at any squirrel that dared to cross our path. 

On the way to the park, his erratic charging seemed funny and endearing, but on the way back, it was another story. A third of the way back from the park, Codey, forgetting that his short leg-to-body proportion was not built for intense activity, suddenly decided that he was too worn out from his continuous running, planted himself on the ground and refused to walk any farther. As a result, I ended up having to carry him the rest of the way home. 

After I returned from my 2-mile walk (and intense dog weightlifting), I felt hungry and decided to put together a salad from a pre-made ingredient kit and spent the rest of my afternoon working on homework and replying to emails, being more productive in one day than I had in the past week.

Soon enough, it was dinner time. Since the rest of my family was having takeout, I decided to amp up my cooking game and threw together everything I could find in our near-barren fridge. I  ended up making a weird spinach-onion-cauliflower-cashew omelet, which I swear tasted a lot better than it sounds.

After dinner, I decided to embark on the beauty care portion of the glow-up plan. I ended up replicating a hair mask recipe using the remaining half of the avocado I had for breakfast and later layering my face with my mom’s prized Korean moisturizers. 

It was around 11 p.m. when I finally finished my entire self-care regimen. One of my main goals for my glow up challenge was to mold my sleeping pattern into something reasonable, so I decided to charge my phone and go straight to sleep. This was easier said than done since my quarantine “jet lag” kept me up until 2 in the morning.

I ended up cycling through variations of this same routine for the next six days. I was planning on continuing the glow-up plan, but online school took a turn for the worse, and my bad sleeping patterns and hurried lifestyle came back to haunt me.

Although the glow-up plan didn’t run for long enough to create any significant physical changes, I was able to feel myself become less stressed and more content in quarantine as a result of the schedule. Despite the plan’s lack of physical results, it was still able to teach me the importance of self-care during stressful times.


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