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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!
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.