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It has been around five months, give or take, since we have been living in this new normal. If you’re like me, this new way of living has you feeling pretty isolated. Not only are you being asked to shelter in place, but also to stay away from friends, family outside of your home, large groups, and businesses that bring you joy, happiness, and community.
This has kept us from our usual fitness, wellness, and beauty routines, but it’s more than that. To keep ourselves and our community healthy, we are actively staying away from others. While this is an incredible act of care and compassion, it has negative effects that aren’t comfortable to talk about.
Our beloved places where we moved our bodies, enjoyed social interaction, and practiced self-care are no longer available to us. These are real human needs, and in their absence, we are more isolated, becoming lonelier, and experiencing more mental health issues.
I noticed these issues springing up in myself, and while I did spend a day (or two... or nine) on the couch, wallowing in my lonely misery, I decided to do something about it. I began creating community in new ways—ways I am excited to share with you now.
If you’re like me and are struggling with not having as much social connection during these times, follow these 10 steps below. If you do, you will tap into connection like you never have before; connection that is rewarding, transformative, lifechanging—and virtual.
Even if you are an essential worker (we appreciate you!), you are likely experiencing more time on your hands. Use that time to discover the things that set your soul on fire. Love running? Reading non-fiction? Collecting plant pets? Building your core with Pilates? It’s time to do a little self-discovery.
Getting clear about what you love to do will make it easier to identify communities to join (or create). Once you identify those, continue.
Did you know—many businesses are providing virtual, outdoor, and socially-distanced offerings? Think HIIT cardio in the morning sun, a lunchtime meditation to break up your day, or a sweet, evening sound bath to rock you to sleep. Enter “virtual” in the search bar within the Mindbody App to discover offerings that align with your wants and needs.
If you choose to partake in virtual classes, use them to connect with others. Hop on a few minutes before class and stay on for a few minutes afterward. Use this time to introduce yourself to others on the call, including the instructor/service provider. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!
Ask others how they’re doing, what their plans are for the weekend, or how their days are going. Let your instructor know what you’re trying to get out of the class. Ask them any questions you may have.
Soon enough, you’ll start to build a community within the confines of a virtual class. From there, you can even exchange social media handles to follow the lives of those you meet. These small connections add up to help you feel less alone.
Pre-pandemic, we generally sought out fitness, wellness, and beauty businesses that were in our respective towns. Post-pandemic and out of sheer need, we’ve been able to access offerings from all over the world! What a beautiful thing, and if you haven’t expanded your reach, start today.
In the Mindbody app, you can set your location to a town or city outside of your place of residence. The world is literally at your fingertips. Casting a wider net gives you more opportunities to meet new people.
Always wanted to try meditation, but never had the time for it? Never had your hair cut at a proper barbershop? What about those runners who’d rather run longer distances than take a restorative yoga class? Sometimes we deny ourselves things that are good for us because we can think of countless other responsibilities. Well, now is the perfect time to get curious.
You want to explore Kundalini? Do it. Want to check out that barbershop on the corner that is cutting hair outside? Go for it. You never know who you will meet or what connection you’ll make. Communities are all around, even in a pandemic, waiting to be discovered by you.
Chances are, your favorite instructor and/or service provider has an online presence, and thus, an online community. You can tap into that! Find them on social media, follow them, and start engaging with their content. You would be surprised by the amount of social connection you can absorb by DM conversations, story replies, and thought-provoking comments.
Notice who seems to be responding to their posts in the comments. Follow them. Engage with what they post. And make new friends within the community of your faves! Sometimes we just want to be a part of something that makes us feel good, and this is a great way to do that.
On my Instagram, I use the hashtag follow feature to follow hashtags I love. It allows me to fill my feed with things that help me feel better. For example, I follow #radicalselflove because it fills my feed with posts that revolve around caring for myself, loving my whole being regardless of how I’m feeling that day, and just general self-love goodness. Plus, it allows me to connect with others who care about the same thing. Instant community-building opportunity!
You don’t have to follow just one. Research 10 hashtags you want to follow now—and get to scrolling. If your feed didn’t please you before, it certainly will lift your spirits now that it shows things you care about and want to see!
I know. This one sounds scary. But if you are following these steps, you are already using some form of social media. Might as well dive into this, as well!
The benefit of getting in front of your camera is that others will see you and will be more inclined to interact with you. When virtual interaction is the only social interaction you can get, it’s important to mimic face-to-face as much as possible.
So, get the nervous wiggles out, and get on camera! Talk about your day, ask questions, do whatever. It will get easier each time.
Did you know The Enso features things like learning to love your at-home yoga practice, revamping your mental health routine, and breathing exercises for anxiety and depression?
We are here for you to provide support, and we are committed to publishing articles that support all seven dimensions of wellness, including emotional wellness. Use this blog as a resource to aid in your mental health.
Remember how clear you got about your passions, thanks to step one? Why not make your own community? Create a social media page and start posting things that revolve around your passion! Use hashtags so others can find your community. Create things you love and want to see. Research others who are in the same niche, follow them, and interact with them.
I am a yoga teacher and did this with Instagram, and it has been so fulfilling. I’ve met people from all over the world who share my love of yoga and body acceptance. And thankfully, it has made me feel less alone.
What do you think about these steps? Are we missing anything? What do you do to connect with others during this time? Let us know by tagging us on Instagram at @mindbody!
That’s something I never expected to hear. Think about it: we join gyms and studios because of their equipment, instructors, space, community (and AC, of course). But who’s to say we can’t get all that—or at least most of it—with virtual and online classes, too? In this new wave of wellness, we’re all switching up our fitness routines as we switch up our everyday schedules and habits. It’s not just in-studio or at-home anymore. It’s in-studio, at-home, at the park, beach, parking lot, rooftop...virtual, hybrid, Instagram Live, online, on-demand, and so much more. As we’re adapting, adjusting, finding our groove, etc., online gym memberships enter the fray. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
There are tons of benefits to an online gym membership, especially right now.
Let’s break this down:
1. Scheduling convenience
A virtual/online gym fitness membership is a monthly subscription that gives you access to tons of live stream fitness classes you can take anywhere, from studios across the globe. These fitness studios offer tons of at-home workouts, group exercise, and one-on-one training sessions to choose from, no matter your exercise program or fitness level. With so many options, it’s easy to find one that fits your schedule. Whether you want to fit in a morning flow before work, combat that afternoon slump with some cardio, squeeze in some strength training before dinner, or wind down with an evening barre class, you can pick and choose classes to fit your fitness routine.
2. Minimizing exposure to COVID-19
And because they’re online, you can take these classes from the comfort of your home (or wherever you are), thus minimizing your exposure to COVID-19 and eliminating your commute to the gym or studio. By now, many of us have our designated “workout spot,” whether it’s an actual weight room, a quick scooch of the coffee table, or a grassy area in the backyard. Maybe you’re comfortable here... maybe you’ve even learned to love it.
With an online gym membership, you can stay in your safe space/comfy workout spot. Or, you can go somewhere new (local park, beach spot, a different area of the house, you know). You can access these virtual, live stream fitness classes from any device, so you can prop up your phone, laptop, or tablet wherever you want to go, or roll out your mat in front of the big screen TV in your living room.
We all have our favorite, go-to workouts. But sometimes, it feels good to switch it up (especially right now). Working from home all day, many of us are craving some variety and excitement, and an online gym membership can definitely help with that. According to our recent poll about COVID’s effect on our fitness routines, 64% of you have tried new online workouts since the start of the pandemic—I know I have. Maybe it’s because trying new things is easier in the comfort of our homes, maybe we’re finally able to try some classes we normally can’t find locally, or maybe we’re all just bored out of our minds...I don’t know. But I’m excited about it.
With an online gym membership, you can get that spice you’re looking for easily. Start out your Monday by hitting some HIIT, ease your sore muscles with some Restorative Yoga, and end the week with some dance cardio to pretend you’re at the club. The world is yours.
4. Working out without a commute
My favorite part? No commute. There are literally no more excuses when it comes to skipping workouts. No traffic, no schedule conflicts, no fear of returning to the studio. You don’t even have to worry about packing a gym bag with a change of clothes and shower supplies or prepping a snack or protein shake to bring to work. Just shut your computer, throw on some leggings, and get to work.
Community—the element of online fitness memberships we don’t often think of. When we go into studios, we understand the beauty of a fitness community. We’re greeted by our instructors, we chat with others in the class, and we all sweat together and encourage each other throughout. But working out at home is different... or is it?
We can do workouts on our own at home all we want, but we’re definitely going to miss out on the community aspect we all know and love. But, with live stream classes, we can create a different kind of community. The beauty of it? It’s not just your neighbors anymore. Anyone with an online fitness membership can join these classes, regardless of where they’re located in relation to the studio, so you can be working out alongside people from all over the world—now that’s something I can get behind.