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Wellness
Published Wednesday Mar 18, 2020 by Sara Lesher

The Extrovert's Guide to Staying Connected While Working from Home

Motivation
Personal Growth
Renewal

Sometimes, we all have to make adjustments to what standard day-to-day life may feel like—many of us changing our statuses to WFH indefinitely, keeping to shelter-in-place (thanks COVID-19), staying under mandatory lockdown, and spending more time nurturing a friendship digitally versus IRL. While working to protect your physical well-being, you may also be searching for ways to maintain social wellness (despite the plant you talk to providing decent friendship.) Although we aren’t keeping regular office schedules, scheduling in-person happy hours with a best friend, or able to maintain that IRL relationship feel, we can still find many ways to stay connected to our loved ones, build a stronger friendship, and support one another throughout this time. We’ve rounded up a list of our favorite ideas to get you started!
 

Friends Playing Games

Connect with your housemates. 

Whether you live with your parents, spouse, significant other, or roommates, you may feel a little worried about getting sick of them in such tight quarters. Look at this time as an opportunity to connect with them in a way you may not usually get to. Learn more about their typical workday and what goes on in their lives when you’re usually apart. Go on your lunch breaks at the same time so you can chat before retreating to your individual rooms to work. Try holding your own group fitness class. Find a new series to binge-watch together for that "I'm not crying, you're crying," personal touch. Kick it old school and work on some puzzles or play board games. The opportunities for a new friendship are endless. And if you don’t have a human housemate to talk to, spend some quality time with your pets! We’re sure they appreciate your extra hours at home. 
 

Laptop and Noodles

Host a virtual hangout (AKA digital dinner party)

If you live alone or want to spend quality time with a person outside of your housemates and get in touch with those long-distance friends, try taking your next hangout online. You can schedule a dinner (think of it as a potluck—everyone cooks, but you only eat what you prepared). Sit at the table and turn on your webcam for that face-to-face feel, so you can all share a meal (almost) IRL. Don’t feel like chewing into the mic? Just have everyone sip on some wine and call it a happy hour! Want to make it even more entertaining? Try playing games or sharing stories, anything you’d usually do if you were together in person (thanks, technology!). 
 

Woman Journaling

Find time to write. 

Writing is both an art form and a means of expression in life. Even if you don’t think you’re a “good writer,” you should never be intimidated to put your thoughts on paper. If you don’t want your work to be seen by others, you can write to your past self, your future self, or anything in between. Although it’s a solitary act, writing is still communicating and will give you an outlet for sharing ideas, thoughts, and feelings, even if it’s just with yourself as a means to talk internally.  

If you’d rather have a small audience for your writing, try sending letters or emails to your loved ones. Friendship relies so much on that personal touch we often forget in life with so much digital influence. Right now, many people are feeling afraid and experiencing a loss of control, and looking for any semblance of a normal relationship. A comforting note from a friend or family member may be exactly what they need. Plus, getting a response from them in your inbox will be equally exciting! 

If you want to take it one step further and share your thoughts with the world, try blogging or writing a book. Maybe this is something you’ve always wanted to do but never had time to pursue. There are plenty of blogging sites online (Squarespace, WordPress, Wix, etc.) where you can create a space to share your work. And for shorter form writing, you can even leverage social media as a sharing platform.  

 

Woman FaceTiming with Coffee

Have lunch (or coffee) with coworkers.  

If you routinely have lunch or coffee with the same people at work, there’s no need to stop just because you’re remote now. Schedule virtual video calls as you would for regular meetings at work during your lunch or coffee hour and enjoy each other’s company. Not only will this help you maintain relationships with coworkers, but it will keep you in a steady routine and help you adjust to your new WFH status.  

 

Netflix on Laptop

Host a movie or book night.  

I’m sure many of you have already been using this time as an opportunity to binge all the shows and movies you just didn’t have time for before. But there’s something a little more fun about watching with friends. Trying to watch someone else’s TV over FaceTime doesn’t work out too well (trust me, I tried watching The Bachelor this way in college when I didn’t have cable). But luckily, there’s a super cool Chrome extension called Netflix Party, where you can play a show at the same time as your friends and discuss it in a little chat box in real-time!  

Hint: If you’re a little burnt out on TV, you could also consider hosting a virtual book club! 

 

Man Playing Video Games with Headset

Game on!  

If you’re a fan of multiplayer video games (or even if you’re not), now might be the time to hop on and start gaming. Whether you’re on an Xbox with a headset, GamePigeon on your iPhone, or even playing checkers over FaceTime, there are tons of options for playing games with your friends! Think back to your favorite gaming app trend (remember Words with Friends and Draw Something?!) and tell your friends to reignite the fun—because nothing kills time like a little friendly competition.  

 

As we’re all adjusting to this new reality, we must remember to stay connected to those we love and keep in mind that we’re all in this together. So, get creative! These tips are just to get you started. 

Have a tip of your own? Share the love by posting it on your Instagram story, and don’t forget to tag @mindbody!  

Sara Lesher
Written by
Sara Lesher
Marketing Content Associate
About the author
Spoiled by the San Diego sunshine, Sara’s hobbies include beaching, hiking, concert-going, and brewery-hopping. As Mindbody’s marketing content associate, she naturally loves reading and writing… so if you have any book recommendations, let her know. And just between us: she’s committed to health and wellness but loves a good taco (shoutout TJ Tacos in Escondido).
man working out
Fitness
Published Wednesday Sep 23, 2020 by Sara Lesher

5 Things Instructors Are Doing to Improve Their Virtual Fitness Classes

Fitness
Virtual Classes
Mindbody Community

By now, we all know the benefits of virtual and online fitness classes, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about some of the struggles. To adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, studios and instructors all over the world had to get crafty, many with little-to-no experience with live streaming or recording workouts at home (so, if you haven’t, make sure you send your instructors a quick thank you—because they deserve it). Now that we’ve realized virtual fitness is here to stay—and we’ve all had lots of practice—the virtual experience is getting a whole lot better. 

Here’s what your favorite studios and instructors are doing to improve their virtual fitness classes right now: 


1.    Making classes easy to access 


Everything seems harder than it must be right now...which is why jumping through hoops to get into a class should be the last thing on your mind. As with most things, the simpler, the better (unless we’re talking about the actual workout). Studios are working on creating a one-button experience to join a class. You sign up, get an email, press ‘join,’ and you’re in. And if something happens with your WiFi and you end up getting kicked out, no worries. One button click and you’re back in, without even missing a circuit. 


2.    Quality video, quality workouts 


If there's one thing more annoying than not having easy access to classes, it’s bad quality and connection. We’ve all found ourselves in online classes where you literally can’t follow along due to poor connectivity causing instructors to freeze every five seconds. Or if it’s an on-demand class that doesn’t buffer, you’re stuck looking at a spinning wheel as your heart rate decreases at the worst possible time. Not fun.  

Now, studios and instructors are doing their absolute best to make sure they have top-notch WiFi and streaming services so we can work out without delays. Better cameras, lighting, and space setups are just a few of the investments instructors and studios are making to make virtual workouts as close to the in-studio experience as possible. 

3.    The sound of music... and the instructor’s voice 


For most, working out with music is a must. But figuring out how to balance tunes with the instructor’s voice can be a challenge. In the studio, they have state-of-the-art speakers blasting playlists throughout class, and oftentimes they have headset mics—all adjusted to the perfect volume so you can sweat to the beat, without missing a beat.  

But at home, it’s a little more difficult. Now that instructors have had some time to work on it, they’re figuring it out. Some instructors suggest playlists for you, others have mastered the perfect music to voice volume ratio, and some have invested in some high-quality mic setups for their home studios. In yoga instructor, Dani Schenone’s words, “Instructors are Jedi masters at the music-to-voice volume ratio at this point. When necessary, external microphones offer an amazingly clear experience. I record my classes and listen back, noticing any audio issues I need to address the next time around.” We’re getting there together, and again, thank your instructors. This isn’t easy. 
 

quality video quote


4.    Setup and prep 


With instructors improving their own spaces for filming workouts, we need to be doing the same as attendees. An instructor’s key to creating a good virtual experience is making it all replicable—creating a space and using equipment that’s realistic for anyone to mimic at home. If they're using weights, they should let you know ahead of time, and maybe even give some household items you can use as alternatives.  

Instructors are people too, and they know this. They’re coming up with tons of creative ways to make the experience easier for you, whether it’s propping up their cameras so you can see their entire setup and body, notifying you of equipment needs early in the booking process, or teaching classes that can realistically fit in most spaces. 
 

props quote


5.    Keeping us engaged—and motivated 


Have you seen the videos of teachers trying to keep their kindergarteners engaged over Zoom? Fitness classes are not much different. Signing up for group fitness classes means more motivation and encouragement, so we can’t skip out on the hard moves and cut our workouts short when we’re feeling tired. Instructors, though, have an interesting challenge—keeping that spirit up through a computer or phone screen. And right now (as always), they’re stepping up in several ways: 
    •    They’re always on time, beginning and ending class right when they say they will. 

    •    They talk through all the moves, so you don’t constantly have to be looking at the screen, and demo them at least twice in case you missed the first one.  

    •    They shout out words of encouragement and call people out by name, just as they would at an in-studio class.  

    •    They give tips and pointers for perfecting your form, even if they can’t always see you. 

    •    They have a positive attitude throughout the class and are consistent with their delivery, so we always know what to expect.  

    •    They’re our superstars, and we love them for it. 

 

mcalister quote


Shifting from IRL to virtual fitness has not come without its own set of complications, but let’s not forget about the struggles of the people on the other side of that screen. Our instructors are working hard out here to make these classes better because they genuinely care about our health, well-being, and sense of community.  

Virtual classes are here to stay, and they’re just going to keep getting better and better. Thank you, instructors. 

Sara Lesher
Written by
Sara Lesher
Marketing Content Associate
About the author
Spoiled by the San Diego sunshine, Sara’s hobbies include beaching, hiking, concert-going, and brewery-hopping. As Mindbody’s marketing content associate, she naturally loves reading and writing… so if you have any book recommendations, let her know. And just between us: she’s committed to health and wellness but loves a good taco (shoutout TJ Tacos in Escondido).