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Wellness is a personal thing. It’s a continuous journey. You’ve got the highs, the lows. The best workouts. The never-trying-that-again workouts. But then—when you least expect it—something clicks and forever changes your wellness game and the way you live.
Meet Erin Donnelley.
A New Yorker with passion for partying, Erin struggled to find her thing when it came to her wellbeing. Not loving her lifestyle (or herself), Erin felt stuck, depressed and in need of a change. Two years, one MINDBODY app and over 250 fitness classes later, it’s safe to say Erin has found something she loves—and changed her life for the better.
Inspired by her story, we sat down with Erin to learn more about what gave her the courage to fuel her fitness fire. Hint: It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.
Before using MINDBODY, I felt insecure —both mentally and physically. Physically, I was winded going up the steps of the subway. I wasn’t able to enjoy the things I loved to do, like play tennis or dance. I always had to be in the back of the room at every studio, and I would find excuses to run out of the class or not do a given exercise. Mentally, I was a mess. I was the girl who would fake sick at work when my team would have plans to do a cycling class. I had little to no confidence and couldn’t even look at myself in a mirror. I was unhappy, frustrated, and had a one-size-fits-all mentality when it came to fitness.
I had a really bad attitude when it came to fitness. My trainer suggested I branch out on my own and try some fitness classes around the city. MINDBODY gave me the freedom to continue to try whatever I wanted, but the knowledge to understand the best options.
For the longest time, I had the mindset that I had to follow the trends and had to do what other people were doing in order to achieve a certain look. I always had anxiety when I signed up for popular cycling classes but couldn’t figure out why. MINDBODY helped me overcome the fear of exercise. I didn’t need to be strapped into a stationary bike for 45 minutes. I was able to find different workouts that fit my personality and helped me reach my fitness goals. My trainer or favorite class might not work for someone else. Everyone has different personalities and goals, and MINDBODY helped me realize there is a whole world outside of what’s trending.
I discovered my sense of identity when a stranger approached me saying how inspiring I was. I try to be honest with my transformation because it didn’t happen overnight, and it wasn’t easy. I think a lot of people have a perception that in order to lose weight they have to give up certain things such as their social life or that they don’t have time to fit exercise into their busy schedules. Contrary to popular belief, I became more social and found myself with more energy when I would wake up early and make time for a class or the gym. When I first started out, I would remind myself that an hour is only 4% of my day. When you have that mindset, it’s easier to be disciplined.
I think my Instagram handle says it all: @TBDestination. It stands for To Beautiful Destinations that are yet to be determined. While I do try to work out five days a week, I try to mix things up, so I don’t get bored and I don’t plateau. I think sticking to a certain diet or workout is an easy way to get burnt out. Therefore, I am always trying to evolve by switching my routine and trying new classes as often as possible. It keeps me humble and honest.
Yes, and I continue to have setbacks. I’m my toughest critic, so it’s very easy for me to have negative self-talk. I try to remind myself that just as I did not lose weight overnight, I am not going to ruin all my progress overnight either. I think it’s important to surround yourself with a team. I am no expert, so I try to surround myself with a team of industry professionals—from trainers to physical therapists to nutritionists to psychologists. Mental health is just as important as physical health.
At the start of every new year, I make three New Year's resolutions. The reason for three is so I don’t feel bad or disappoint myself when I only accomplish one or two. I think it’s very important to make performance-oriented goals rather than trivial goals, like weight. Not to discredit the work I’ve done by losing 85 pounds, but I remember at my heaviest saying “I hope to get back to this weight someday.” Well, I accomplished it, and I wasn’t satisfied. There was still so much more I wanted to accomplish; therefore, it was less about the number on the scale and more about gaining confidence. A weight on a scale is arbitrary, however behavioral and performance-based goals are so much more rewarding. Whether it’s to run a 5K or to fit back into your favorite dress, those types of goals keep me much more motivated than any number on a scale ever could.
For the longest time, I thought I could outrun my fork. I’d do two, up to three workouts a day thinking I didn’t have to change my diet. My trainer Mike Maloney gave me a reality check and is one of the main reasons I was able to make a lifestyle change. I believe the two go together, and his no gimmick, no BS mentality has helped change my perspective. There’s no secret sauce or shortcut to success.
I’m fortunate to have the most supportive parents. They instilled a wonderful work ethic, and never let me give up. I also have found a great support system through my Instagram community. My followers are my biggest cheerleaders, which has helped motivate me to continue to persevere through the good and the bad.
Has MINDBODY changed your life for the better? Do you have a wellness journey to share? We want to know! Submit your story for a chance to be featured on MINDBODY!
To say the last year and a half was tough would be an understatement. In fact, it will probably go down as one of the most difficult times for our modern generation. In one of the many social polls we conducted during the pandemic, some of you described this time as a sheer “dumpster fire” or “like stepping on a Lego.” And to be honest, I couldn’t agree more.
Luckily, we’ve been able to get back to some form of normalcy in our lives and wellness routines over the last several months. As vaccines became available to the public, wellness businesses welcomed fitness fanatics, haircut seekers, and massage lovers back to in-person wellness experiences. And thank goodness for that—my roots and horrible posture from working from my bed were both getting wildly out of control. This girl needed a good massage and cupping session stat.
If there’s one thing we learned from the pandemic, it’s that our wellness routines are as personal as they are important. During shelter-at-home, those routines looked a bit different. For many, it meant taking a new approach to the “typical” wellness services we count on—I’m looking at you DIY haircuts, at-home waxing sessions (ouch!), and virtual swerking classes.
Now that we can leave our humble abodes to take advantage of in-person experiences again, the word “wellness” has seemingly taken on a new meaning.
Recently, we conducted another one of our famous social polls to see what wellness means to you, our Mindbody community, now that we're slowly but surely getting back to our regularly scheduled programming. We also tapped some of our most influential Mindbody business owners about the ever-evolving wellness landscape.
Here’s what you all had to say.
According to our annual Mindbody Wellness Index, 60% of Americans say they’re more focused on their health and wellness since COVID. Consumers are now realizing they need to take greater care of themselves to optimize and preserve their health. When we asked you on Instagram how important wellness is, a whopping 98% said it was more important than ever. When it comes to how you’re practicing wellness, though, the answers were all over the board. Many of you pointed to journaling, practicing breathwork, and daily workout routines (cycling and yoga topped the list) as being the activities that help you keep your chill throughout the week.
I’m also happy to report that over 50% said you tend to feel more blessed than stressed on a daily basis—which is more than likely a big improvement. Let’s be honest, a year ago I would’ve bet a billion dollars that 99.9% of us knew no other feeling than anxiety—am I right? But even with the stress in our lives dwindling, many of you are still experiencing burnout at the end of a long work week (guilty!). But instead of succumbing to a bottle of wine for relief (please, that was so 2020), you’re unwinding by going to your favorite workout classes—with hot yoga, barre, and Pilates as your faves.
Let’s be honest, we should credit the business owners in this space for helping us reignite our spark when it comes to our wellness routines, right? Thanks to them, we’ve been inspired to prioritize the activities that help us feel our best. In turn, we thought it’d be interesting to learn what wellness means to them—and how that definition has changed over the past eighteen months.
Here’s what they had to say.
“Wellness is living in balance—mind, body, spirit. Highs and lows. It all ebbs and flows and we can navigate it a bit better when we take time to move, breath and remember who we are, and how we are connected to this big, beautiful world.” - Jess Pierno, Founder, Owner, and Chief Inspiration Officer of Yoga Heights
“Wellness is a true balancing of the mental, physical, and spiritual. It has definitely evolved over the years for me—from something that I just thought was about exercising and eating a healthy diet—to also incorporating balancing and healing internally and spiritually.” - Stefanie Patterson, Owner, Indianapolis Salt Cave and Halotherapy Center
“My sense of wellness has evolved from staying healthy and motivated, mind/body/spirit... to being more gentle with myself, less demanding. Accepting my limitations, taking time for resting, and gaining real clarity about what's important. I care less about what people think of me—difficult as a performer and as a business owner with so many demands on me—and more about getting quiet and tapping into the divine source inside of me that helps me discern my next move. In this way, I know my motives are as pure as possible and I'm not getting distracted—not that I don't make mistakes! Those are necessary, that's how we learn!” - Johanna Krynytzky, Owner, Hip Expressions Belly Dance Studio
“My studio name reminds us that we are constantly evolving. The past 18 months have certainly shown us that! Wellness to me means doing your best on any given day to make sure that you are taking care of yourself as best you can. It leads to resilience. Diet, exercise, sleep, a sense of community, and some form of faith. It all matters. Setbacks happen all the time, and every day is a chance to start again. We strive to be 'cheerleaders' for our clients when we sense that things are coming out of balance in their lives. So many have been with us for 18 years and are friends—they are our community and we all watch out for each other.” - Mo Wolfe, Owner and Founder, Evolution Pilates
I think we can all agree that there isn’t one true definition of wellness anymore. To some of us, it means getting that hot yoga sesh in daily, and to others, it means carving out time to treat ourselves to a massage or manicure. As long as you’re actively pursuing wellness—whatever that means to you—you're on the right track.
Our MO has always been about connecting the world to wellness—a term that's seen a lot of change lately. Whether you’re fully embracing the in-person experience or still delighted by the convenience of practicing at-home wellness, the Mindbody app makes it easy for you to book experiences that help you feel like YOU again.