Erin learned it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.
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Well, here we are—a couple of months into 2021. A year that we all (still) hope will be much better than the last. This past year was nothing short of a dumpster fire—between the pandemic, ongoing racial injustice, and the most dramatic election ever, 2020 was riddled with anxiety, grief, anger, and was just downright exhausting.
Heck—if somebody even dared to ask me how I was doing last year, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and say, “Omg I can’t even.” I mean, what other year can you think of that became its own expression? When something would go horribly awry, we would literally blame it on the year by saying, “2020, am I right?” complete with a sheepish chuckle —and eventually some tears when you realized just how many times you’ve said those words. Seriously, I lost count a long time ago. It was not healthy.
Sorry, tangent—where was I? Ah yes, 2021. The good news is there’s still hope that this year won’t make us want to roll into a tiny little ball on the floor and cry. Well, at least not as much as its predecessor—I’m not a miracle worker, you guys. However, I do have some wellness tips to help you stay just a little bit cooler, calmer, and collected-er this year.
If there’s one thing we learned last year, it’s that wellness is always here for us. Maybe at this time last year, your goal of going to Pilates five days a week came to a screeching halt as fitness studios were required to shut down to protect the community. For a time, we were all frazzled because our usual workouts and wellness routines were turned upside practically overnight. I think I speak for us all when I say that our favorite fitness class, and the community that comes with it, plays a huge role in our overall happiness. The good news is the wellness industry has come a long way in just under a year.
While it is true that some areas still aren’t allowing the in-studio experience for their workout classes due to the pandemic, we have more options to practice wellness safely than ever before. Right now, some studios are allowed to operate with in-person, socially distanced classes—and pretty much every studio broke into the virtual space to provide fitness classes you could participate in from the comfort of your own home. Not to mention, at-home virtual options are typically cheaper and allow you to try our studios from all over the country. With online gym memberships like Mindbody Flex, you can have access to thousands of live stream classes at your fingertips for less than $5 per class.
Look, 2020 was scary. After a year like that, it’s can be hard to tap into a positive mindset. But it’s more important now than ever before to let go of assumptions and focus on the good that 2021 can bring. This shift to acceptance will ultimately help you put your best foot forward in any situation that arises.
Take a step back and try to focus on the things we can be grateful for in this moment. Like what? Well, for starters more and more people are receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, which means things are slowly, but surely, getting back to normal. I, for one, am grateful that my at-risk family members have already received their first rounds of vaccinations and are on the path of staying healthy since they are protected from the coronavirus.
The best thing we can do right now for our mental health is to learn to give ourselves some grace through practicing self-care. And this can look different for everyone. Maybe your version of self-care comes in the form of daily journaling, getting a workout session in, curling up with a good book, or having that glass of wine while taking a bubble bath. Whatever makes YOU feel good—keep doing it.
To keep my mental health in check, something that I’ve started incorporating into my daily self-care routine is practicing mindfulness. Some days that means I focus on my breathwork practice—other days I may scroll through the Mindbody app to find a virtual meditation class or Yoga Nidra class. I’ve also embraced the motto there’s an app for that. Right now, I’m really loving the Headway app because it helps me set daily intentions from the moment I wake up with a morning survey and then checks in with me at the end of the day with an evening survey. Having the ability to write down my goals and hold myself accountable for them has really taken my self-care routine to the next level.
Some days we fall a little short of our goals—and guess what? THAT’S OKAY. Honestly, I think we should all just focus on being okay for the rest of the year. The past year caused us to be tough on ourselves and I encourage you to make this year kinder. Any new goals you set that involve changing habits or overhauling your lifestyle will likely have some setbacks. So, when that happens, remember to be compassionate with yourself.
If there’s anything I want you to take away from this blog post is to let go of the illusion that perfection is always the end goal. When in doubt I always remind myself of something my favorite spin instructor (hey Steph!) says: “If you look for perfection, you'll never be content. Just focus on your growth.” Allow that to sink in and make it a goal to remind yourself of this every single day.
And remember: You don’t have to—and really shouldn’t—give up hope that things will get better this year, even if you feel overwhelmed now. Having a positive mindset is never a silly thing. In fact, it is actually quite admirable; you’re an admirable badass.
Picture this... we’re about a year into a global pandemic, it’s dark by 5 p.m. before you even get off work, and it’s a crisp 40-50 degrees outside at night (a bit chilly for an outdoor spin ride). Not only have you watched every show and movie on Netflix, Hulu, and possibly even Disney Plus—you’ve scrolled through every virtual workout class in your general range of fitness. Put simply, you’re bored and craving something that makes you feel alive—that pre-COVID connection and sweat. Something out-of-the-box that feels like the summer of 2016 when you wore real clothes, and the world was your oyster.
Okay, now that I’ve set the scene—this was exactly where I was at, mentally, when I downloaded Mindbody Flex. A part of me wanted to download it as motivation to exercise more, but I also wanted to experience working out virtually with real people and instructors, from all over the US.
So, I’m scrolling through my class options for the day, and I think to myself, “let’s see what’s going on in Miami.” I mean, why not? Miami is the healthiest and happiest city in the US, I was curious. I was immediately blown away by my options. I was expecting yoga, barre, meditation, and sculpt classes, but Tai Chi, sound meditation, self-defense, life coaching, kickboxing—all in one place? All for the same price of one pre-paid pass? I had never seen so many diverse and unique classes in one place. I wanted to take a week's vacation just to try as many as I could. The world, and my choices, felt big for the first time in months.
After a few moments passed and I was able to process all that was in front of me—I had this epiphany moment. I was going to make it my goal to try the most out-of-the-box, fun, and interesting classes. After almost a year of being in my comfort zone, I desperately craved the feeling of switching it up and learning something new. I made this my mission and got to work signing up for classes.
Since the app lets you see workout classes and their times weeks in advance, I was able to plan my classes out for two weeks. I decided on a Barre class with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, a twerk-aholics class, beginner’s Tai Chi, a sound meditation, and kickboxing to name a few. Even though I wasn’t leaving my house for these workouts, I felt like I was going places. It made me so happy to get that same excited and partially nervous feeling of trying something new, with other people who would also be doing the same thing.
Like a cliché rom-com, the hero of this story fell back in love with her past-love turned enemy. Just like you’d expect. But it reminded me why I loved going to group classes so much in the first place. With livestream real-time workouts I instantly had that feeling of being coached when you go to a new class and step on your mat, bike, or on that machine, you’ve never been on before—whatever that feeling looks like to you. I looked around and saw real people just like me that were about to take that same journey. While I didn’t get to see those people face-to-face, they were there with me. We took those classes together.
I also loved getting to try such a wide variety of classes without signing up for five different memberships or studios. It was a great way to see what clicks for me. I mean, the chances of me getting to fly to Dallas for a single workout with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders? Ambitious, but unlikely. I could start my day and pick a workout that fit my mood. Raining and gloomy? Let’s do a cleansing sound meditation. A case of the Mondays? Time to release some steam with a kickboxing class. The possibilities are endless and personalized to me.
Ab-so-lute-ly, yes. Even if you’re not silently resenting your current virtual workouts and colder weather outdoor classes, I would suggest you try this out. I say this because I believe we could all benefit from that feeling of traveling, getting out of the house, trying something new, and connecting with other people who have the same interests as us. It’s comforting to be reminded that we’re all in this together and the world is still much bigger than the places we’re hunkering down. Workouts can still be riveting, and we can still try new things that get us a bit more out of our comfort zones with each new virtual experience!
I know I’m not the only one who feels like they have fallen into a virtual fitness rut as of late. This is precisely why it’s the perfect time for you to expand your horizons when it comes to your at-home workout routine.