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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!
Ah, 2020—the year that truly put our sanity to the test. On top of that, something that most people use to navigate through a tough time has essentially been stripped away from us—our normal workout routines. I don’t know about you, but even skipping a week at the gym can send me into a tailspin. But several months of sheltering in place and being forced to adapt to this new normal?
That’s a different story.
While I think we can all say we’re grateful that fitness studios were quick to offer virtual classes when COVID-19 hit—there is something about constantly working out by ourselves that may trigger some of us to hit pause on our workout routines and start turning towards less robust habits. *Reluctantly raises hand*
The other day I came across a stat that really set off some alarms. According to a recent study, Americans are spending an additional two hours each day on their couch since March 2020. As of recently, I can say I’m totally guilty of a little too much R&R. While an evening of Netflix and wine once sounded like heaven on earth for most of us, I think it’s safe to say the repetition of this is starting to get kind of old. Also, Schitt’s Creek is over now, so I really don’t have any excuse to not dedicate my free time to jumping back into my at-home workouts.
I started pondering what made dial back my fitness routine in the first place? Was it a lack of motivation? No, not really. Screen fatigue? I think my Netflix history outlined above would tell you that’s a solid ‘no.’ Then it hit me—the thing that motivated me to stay on top of my fitness goals was being around other people with the same goals. Pre-COVID, going to my favorite spin studio and the local yoga hot spot was how I typically spent my social hour during the workweek. I realized the best way to amp up my at-home workout routine was to re-connect with my workout buddies and start doing virtual classes together to create that sense of community I craved.
If you’re also experiencing some form of live stream lull when it comes to your workouts, then getting a virtual workout buddy may be exactly what you need. Here’s why:
Just like in-person workouts, making plans to sweat it out with one of your friends motivates you to show up and be your best self. According to the Mindbody Wellness Index, 25% of the folks we surveyed said they found it difficult to hold themselves accountable to their workout goals on their own—and an additional 20% of people said a lack of support was responsible for missed workouts.
Everybody enjoys a little friendly competition, right? Maybe you have a friend who is a powerhouse at virtual HIIT—try signing up for a class with them to help you take your workout to a whole new level.
Getting a workout sesh in with a friend is the perfect time to try a new exercise such as virtual yoga or virtual barre. Trying something new can be scary—I get it. But by trying a new type of exercise with a friend, you can both give each other a confidence boost by acting as each other’s personal hype man.
Look, we’re all craving human interaction these days—and I know I’m not the only one who is missing weekly happy hours with friends. Luckily, fitness studios are getting creative with their virtual offerings post-workout, too! When we asked members of our MindbodyOne Community how they are keeping things interesting for their students in the virtual space, they said they are hosting monthly virtual wine dates to share fitness stories and personal victories. Not only do you get to drink wine, but you and your buddy get to meet other like-minded people at the same time.
As 2020 winds down (thank goodness), you have a unique opportunity to reconnect with your friends and take your workout sessions to the next level with a virtual workout buddy. So, why not start now? Book a virtual fitness class and encourage your friends to show up for you and themselves today.