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As of publication of this article, it has been a full year since we were forced to re-vamp our workout routines to rolling out our mats at home instead of visiting our beloved yoga studio several times a week.
Throughout this time, we’ve seen our favorite studios get creative to continue to provide an exceptional wellness experience for their clients. Some studios have taken the route of going completely virtual to protect their communities while others have opted to hold socially distanced classes outdoors. And while some studios have reopened, the people have spoken: virtual is here to stay.
This is precisely why it’s the perfect time to try out Mindbody Flex—an online gym membership that allows you to take virtual classes anytime and anywhere.
Here are the actual benefits of signing up for Mindbody Flex:
Before COVID hit, our online options for working out at home were minimal—and dare I say—a tad bit boring. However, in this new wave of wellness, studios all over the world have adopted a hybrid business model and have made their classes available online to anyone who wants to break a sweat at home. With so many options, it’s now easier than ever to find a workout class that fits your schedule.
With Mindbody Flex, you can get up to 20 fitness classes per month to use virtually at different studios, all bookable right from your Mindbody account. Whether you want to fit in a calorie-torching HIIT class before work, energize your afternoons with a virtual barre class, or find your moment of Zen with an evening yoga class, you can pick and choose classes that cater to your lifestyle.
Aside from the occasional trip to the grocery store or a last-minute toilet paper run, this entire year has forced us all to isolate ourselves from the outside world. One of the things that helped me thrive during this time is by switching up my usual workout routine. Pre-COVID, you could find me at my favorite spin studio at least six days a week—but given our current circumstances (and the fact that my at-home spin bike’s handlebars are so wobbly that I’m scared to use it), I’ve been experimenting with new types of workout classes throughout the week.
Maybe you’ve seen my blog about trying out virtual Barre or my post about taking a virtual meditation class from the comfort of my living room. Needless to say, having the option of taking these different types of classes has kept life at home interesting and fun. Who knows what’s next? Maybe I’ll finally be brave enough to take that HIIT class my colleague Sara has been raving about.
While we’re on the topic of variety, Mindbody Flex also gives you the ability to take classes from different studios and teachers. I’m talking locally and not-so-locally. Have you been wanting to try that Vinyasa class at that uber-popular yoga studio that’s all the way across town? Well, now you can! Or maybe you’re just a small-town gal that wants to check out what the yoga scene is like in New York City—we got you. With a virtual membership, you can transport yourself to a studio in a location of your choice anytime, anywhere—literally.
And guess what? Some of your favorite fitness studios are already on Mindbody Flex including barre3, Class UFC Gym, exhale, WundaBar, The Dailey Method, Modo Yoga, Jabz Boxing, I Love Kickboxing, and more! Sign up to see who else is on Mindbody Flex.
The COVID-19 pandemic turned our day-to-day routines upside down—even our work schedules changed with folks now working from home instead of going into an office. On top of that, with the slew of lockdowns triggered by the coronavirus, childcare, work, and our fitness routines are all now happening in the same place. With so much going on at home at any given time, we're forced to get a sweat sesh in whatever little free time we have. That’s where bite-size fitness classes come into play. More and more fitness studios are hosting classes that last 30 minutes or less to help accommodate your busy schedule. If you’ve got a half-hour to spare, then Mindbody Flex has a class for you.
Another way Flex helps you fit in a workout? Instead of hopping into your car to drive to class, all you have to do is walk to your living room. Think about it—how many times have you missed a workout class because you couldn’t make it in time? I know I’m guilty of it. Maybe that 4pm meeting ran a little bit longer than you anticipated, or maybe you didn’t quite expect that traffic jam on your way to Pilates, or maybe you totally forgot to pack your yoga pants in your gym bag (whoops—also guilty). Since virtual classes take your commute (and potential wardrobe malfunctions) out of the mix, there’s nothing standing in your way of getting that workout in.
As I’ve mentioned before, one of the toughest parts about sheltering-in-place is the lack of human interaction. One of the things I miss the most is the handful of friends I made from going to spin so often—the energy that camaraderie brought to the class is really what made that experience something I was willing to miss happy hour for. And that's saying a lot—my love of Rosé is well-documented on this blog.
We can do workouts on our own at home all we want, but it's safe to say that we probably all miss that community aspect we all know and love. But, with live stream classes, we can create a different kind of community. Enter the virtual workout buddy. Now, the folks you’re working out with aren’t just your neighbors. 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.
Last but certainly not least—the other great thing about online fitness memberships is you can get more bang for your buck. With three different tiers available for purchase in Mindbody Flex—you can choose from 5 classes for $39, 10 classes for $59, or 20 classes for $99—you could potentially spend less than $5 per class. At that price, you can keep heading into your favorite studios when you feel comfortable going back for in-person classes and add in some virtual on the side to keep things fresh. Even better? If you’re new to Mindbody Flex, you can try it for free for two weeks. So, what do you have to lose? Nothing—literally.
Now’s the time to experience Mindbody Flex so you can enjoy new live streaming workouts right from home, whenever is best for you.
When was the last time you stopped to evaluate your mental strength? It’s an important part of your overall wellness—one we often neglect, especially as young Black men. It’s time to take a closer look at what it means to be mentally strong and what you can do to get there. When you begin taking steps to improve your mental fortitude, you’ll see for yourself just how valuable it is.
First things first: mental strength is an enormous component of mental health, but it isn’t the only part of being mentally healthy. You can have a mental illness diagnosis, like depression or anxiety, while also being mentally strong (especially when your condition is well controlled). Your mental toughness is all about self-awareness and self-confidence, resilience, and the ability to handle whatever challenges life throws your way. It’s also about practicing self-acceptance and being kind to yourself even when things don’t go as planned.
Does all this sound like you—or is this unfamiliar territory? Unfortunately, even in 2021, talking about our mental and emotional health is stigmatized. As a society, we’re overdue for an attitude adjustment about mental wellness and self-care. It’s high time we learned to speak more openly about our thoughts, feelings, and moods and how we can improve our mental strength. Knowledge is power, and in this case, it can help us to improve our self-esteem, work toward building resilience, and enjoy positive emotions more frequently.
I feel like I need to be honest, and speak candidly here—or else it wouldn’t be authentically me. As young Black men, we’re especially reticent to discuss our mental states. This is due in large part to us believing that others will perceive us as weak if we talk openly about our emotions. If we can be brave enough to speak up and make vulnerability commonplace, we can make it safer and easier for others to do the same. As a united community, we can end the shame surrounding mental and emotional health issues by making these conversations the nucleus of true change. We’re all in this together, and no one should ever feel alone. Vulnerability, in this instance, is the ultimate strength.
It’s easier to navigate life when you find someone who is in the same place you are—but finding that person can be a challenge. That’s why I want to encourage anyone reading this to be brave in revealing what’s going on inside of your mind. When you have the guts to speak up, you’ll be amazed at how quickly other people will empathize with your experiences and share their own.
Changing your outlook requires more than merely thinking positive thoughts. Let’s explore the habits of mentally strong people and how those behaviors can improve our own mental and emotional wellness.
1. Practice mindfulness
If you’ve never experienced mindfulness meditation before, now is a great time to give it a try. Mindfulness exercises are simple behaviors that quiet your brain and bring you back to the present moment. If you struggle with persistent negative thoughts, meditating can help you to learn to direct your attention to calmer and happier places. Its benefits include reduced stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as better sleep and lower blood pressure. Do you want to get started? Check out these helpful mindfulness tips, which you can incorporate into your life as soon as today.
2. Stay physically healthy
Your physical and mental health go hand-in-hand. That’s why it’s so important to eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and get a good night’s sleep. Aim for at least five days of exercise per week, with a minimum of thirty minutes per day. If you’re pressed for time or aren’t a gym person, try going for a brisk walk on your lunch hour or after work. When you’re exercising for mental health, it’s important that you find an activity you really enjoy. You might also ask your doctor if using a mood-boosting supplement, like Onnit New Mood, is a good choice for you.
3. Write in a journal
Here’s another way to boost your mental strength: try writing in a self-affirmation journal. A self-affirmation journal is a safe place to reflect on who you are, what you’re all about, and where you want to go. It’s a great way to practice speaking kindly about yourself and to remember all the good you bring to the world around you. You can purchase a journal with helpful self-esteem prompts or use a plain notebook and these free prompts. Keep in mind that there’s no right or wrong way to do this—whatever helps you to practice self-acceptance and celebrate your achievements is perfect for you.
4. Ask for help when you need it
I know it’s not easy to reach out and ask for help, but sometimes it’s necessary. If you haven’t been feeling your best, it’s smart to seek support from the caring people in your life. It could be as simple as venting your fears and frustrations to a friend or asking your boss for an extension on a work deadline. Or, if you’ve been feeling unwell for some time, you might need to check in with your general practitioner or a mental health specialist. In any case, you aren’t weak for asking for help when you need it. As a matter of fact, admitting that you could use some emotional support and empathy means you’re strong and self-aware.
5. Find your people
Speaking of friends, life is so much better with good people by your side. Remember that we’re all on this journey together and that leaning on one another is how we survive and thrive. When you find friends who really understand you, support you and champion you, you want to hold onto them for dear life. And while it isn’t always easy to make new friends as an adult, it’s still possible. Wherever you find your people—at work, at school, at the gym, or on a digital app—you should make them a priority. Your friendships can improve your self-esteem and help you to meet life’s challenges head-on.
6. Train your subconscious
Once I figured out how to reprogram my subconscious mind, it did wonders for my mental strength and overall mental health. I’m huge on fitting autosuggestion, visualization, and daily-affirmations into your routine. Using myself as an example, in order to train and reframe my subconscious, I repeat this phrase to myself 20 times in the morning when I wake up, and 20 times at night before I go to sleep: “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.” Along with gratitude journaling, I visualize my goals and imagine that I can see, touch, and feel the end result of me achieving them. My favorite books on the subconscious and these daily philosophies are Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior by Leonard Mldinow.
As you may have guessed, mental strength isn’t developed overnight, but we can all take steps to improve. Just like our biceps, triceps, hamstrings and quads, our brain is a muscle—and the most important one that we have. Without aligning ourselves mentally, we won’t get the most out of ourselves physically. As you spend more time and energy on building your self-esteem and sense of resilience, be patient with yourself. Every small choice or change you make is an excellent step in the right direction. Because at the end of the day, small steps equal great distances. Now let’s take those first few steps.