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All around the world, in millions of houses, billions of long-ignored to-dos are suddenly getting some love now that everyone’s trying to wait out COVID at home.
Those dressers that had been disorganized since they first held your drawers?
Sorted on day two.
The yucky grey glop formerly known as crispy green broccoli lurking in the crisper?
Evicted from its flophouse on the bad side of the fridge.
That cycling class you’d meant to try way back in the days when you could go places and do stuff and the world wasn’t ending?
Wait, you’ve never taken a cycling class?
Seriously? It’s literally never been easier to do from home.
For one thing, it’s literally only been possible for a little while, and there hasn’t been much variety to the offerings. That’s changing now, especially with so many studios starting to offer virtual classes on Mindbody.
Even better, there’s no room full of strangers at home to judge if you fall down your first time up on the bike—just rooms full of (possibly strange, probably bored) family members.
One place where rookie riders can run into difficulty is with the special cleats people wear in spin studios. “If you’ve never used clip-in cleats, it’s great to get comfortable with them at home before trying them in class,” says Libby Acquafresca, an instructor at Cycletribe cycling studio.
If you already have a bike of your own, all you really need to purchase is something called a bike trainer. It holds your bike in place but offers resistance to the rear wheel as if you were riding on the free road.
(If you’ve never played around with a bike trainer, it might be worth setting up a video consultation with your local bike shop. Lots of them are still open, even if it’s only for service calls and contactless sales, like Foothill Cyclery in San Luis Obispo, California.)
Don’t have a bicycle of your own? A smart option is to rent a spin bike locally. Since most spin studios can’t hold classes in person, some are renting out their equipment—an arrangement where everybody wins in the interim until the pandemic passes.
Once you have the equipment you need, the most important thing is to make sure it’s set up the right way.
“Bike setup is key,” says Libby, the Cycletribe instructor. In fact, she says, people riding at home have a certain setup advantage. “A lot of times people don’t show up to class with enough time to set up—or even learn how to setup.”
She recommends new riders “try out different seat and handlebar heights to find their perfect match,” something they can do at their own pace without the pressure of class start time looming. To get the seat dialed in, Libby suggests you “stand next to the seat. Hip height is a good place to start.”
All that’s left at that point is the easiest part: browse virtual cycling classes on Mindbody!
If you try a couple classes that you don’t enjoy, you still have a perfectly good exercise bike. Plus, with everyone adjusting to life with COVID, more and more fitness studios are moving online to stay open. Even if cycling isn’t for you, you’re sure to find something else you love.
You find another healthy hobby you love—AND you return to society with quads and glutes strong enough to crack walnuts.
Not only that, once the world opens up again and you’re able to try out your first live class, you’ll already be a grizzled veteran.
“The experience would be almost the same working out at home,” even if you lose the feeling of being among your teammates,” Libby says. She points out that by starting out at home, you can “work on certain moves we do a lot in class, like tap backs, handlebar presses, and figure 8's.”
When you think of self-love what do you think of? Bubble baths, walks on the beach, facemasks, or what? Self-love can mean so many different things but when we think about self-love, we have to acknowledge loving ourselves both on the outside and on the inside. The way that we show ourselves love is one of the most important things we will ever do.
How do we treat ourselves? How do we talk to ourselves? What foods are we putting into our bodies? How are we thinking about our overall well-being when practicing self-love?
As self-love defines and redefined itself for you over the years, here are a few foundational tips to think about when easing into your self-love journey.
Don’t we love this one? Loving ourselves has a lot to do with the boundaries that we have for ourselves, with others, and for others. Take time to think about your own emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs when setting boundaries that reflect your personal needs. Boundaries don’t have to be big and scary; they are here to remind us that you get to have your lived experience and still have expectations about how you’d like to be treated and what you’d like to feel.
When thinking about your boundaries, ask yourself:
In a world where perfectionism and curated existences have been rewarded, begin to cultivate compassion for yourself. You are a soul having a human experience and it’s totally okay if things are not perfect.
Mindfulness exercises such as Breathwork, self-care activities, and self-compassion, all help train the mind, emotions, and even the body’s stress chemicals to be able to deal with undesired situations. Self-compassion means, can you be nice to yourself? Can you find empathy and kindness for yourself in the middle of what feels chaotic, stressful, or unwanted? Self-compassion means that we get to make mistakes, have our plans not work out the way that we wanted, and we still get to celebrate that we are doing the best that we can and it is enough.
When thinking about self-compassion, ask yourself:
In every sense of the word “nourishment”, begin to learn what nourishes you and what depletes you. Nourishment doesn’t just mean food for yourself; it means that whatever you are consuming whether it be media, podcasts, people, energy, information, etc. all impact the way that we think, feel, and experience life.
Nourishing yourself definitely goes right along the lines of having your boundaries intact and practicing self-compassion.
When thinking about nourishment, ask yourself:
That’s it. Those are the foundational steps to cultivating a self-love practice that you can ease into your daily routine. Come back to these questions often, because like anything else, self-love is a practice and it takes effort, time, and intention to maintain.