Gelek Badheytsang, communications professional, writer, podcast host

"A part of me believes in the notion of treating your body like a temple, but I also want to resist all the puritan, moralizing baggage that comes with that"


Samuel Engelking

I’ve always been a bit of a fitness junkie, but this pandemic has underscored further the importance of taking care of your body. A part of me believes in the notion of treating your body like a temple, but I also want to resist all the puritan, moralizing baggage that tends to come along with that.

It’s important to remember that for many people, things like running, yoga or weightlifting are inaccessible. Having said that, working out has genuinely sustained me in this moment. It has helped manage my mood, appetite, sleep and energy, which in turn has helped maintain my sense of humour, curiosity and my connections to my people.

I’m turning 36 in January, and I continue to grow more attuned to the needs and quirks of my body. In a sense, I am very fortunate that the worst thing that happened to me during this pandemic was being laid off from work. There are people right now who are unhoused, freezing inside encampment tents. I am very removed from that level of precarity, and I think it’s important that we be outraged by how already vulnerable people are made more vulnerable not only by this virus but by our society.

I also believe that taking care of your body is a requirement in the work of dismantling injustices and building movements. We are bombarded everyday by the unrelenting forces of capitalism, white supremacy and colonialism. Having a strong base (weightlifting), good heart and lungs (cardio) and healthy mind (sleep, therapy, meditation) are vital in order to meet these forces head-on. In that way, being kind to, and mindful of, your body – loving your body – becomes a deeply radical and revolutionary act of love and justice.

Samuel Engelking

I would like to dedicate my participation in this feature to my mom. Like many other Tibetans, she is a personal support worker who has continued helping her clients throughout the pandemic. It’s important that we specify the different communities and groups who have shouldered the burden of this pandemic: poor and working class people of all backgrounds in frontline health care, all the warehouse labourers, migrant farm workers, cab drivers, grocery clerks, cleaners etc. who are literally putting their bodies on the line so that we may continue on with our lives.

Initially, I was afraid that being a part of this issue would affect my employability prospects, but then I said, “Fuck it.” When it feels like you’re in an actual apocalypse, and you’re not even sure what tomorrow will bring, corporate respectability is going to be the last thing I’m going to worry about.

Disclosure: Badheytsang is an occasional contributor to NOW. He can be found on Twitter at @gelekb

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@glennsumi

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