Regina and I love talking to people. We also love listening to them. And we love observing them quietly from a distance too. Well, we just love people. Speaking of love, a few days ago Regina and I were at Whole Foods picking up this and that and we decided to take a pause from our shopping and sit outside on the concrete benches at a table to sit still and simply receive the sunshine.
The warmth of sun on skin was mirrored by the warmth of Regina’s heart, shining brightly as she talked about delightful conversations she had over the past few days with YHC members who were sharing gratitude stories from YHC members about how important it has been for their well-being to have YHC classes to attend regularly.
Many of these YHC members have been going to YHC for a looooooooooooooong time. Regina even witnessed their children grow up. These YHC faithful have been through many changes in their lives before and now they are navigating another round of changes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
This article contains some of the bright light that was shared by these fab five YHC members for you all to enjoy. But before we get to that, let’s get practical for a bit. In the space below you will find 24 mental health and wellness tips that have helped me to stay positive and strong when the energy around me (and sometimes within me) was moving south. I read about these tips a few weeks ago online when I was looking for ideas about how others are managing “these uncertain times” as the oft-mentioned phrase goes. I have faith that many of these 24 tips will move you closer to your happy place.
1. Limit complaints
2. Express your love
3. Carve out some alone time
4. Stick to self-care basics (good sleep, healthy food, regular exercise)
5. Write yourself a love letter
6. Let go of the past
7. Use positive affirmations
8. Be emotionally vulnerable
9. Do something that brings you joy
10. Say goodbye to negative-minded people and negative thoughts
11. Forgive (see #10!)
12. Don’t get too serious (see #10 & #11!!)
13. Make a bold change
14. Write daily in a journal
15. Ask for help
16. Create a healthy new routine or stick with your healthy old routine
17. Limit time spent reading/listening to the news
18. Strengthen home/work boundaries
19. Go outside daily
20. Do something mindless daily (pull weeds, water the plants, clean the floor)
21. Dedicate at least 30 minutes of tech free time each day (cook, read, walk, write)
22. Focus on the present moment and repeat: “This too shall pass”
23. Perform a body-based activity daily (deep breathing, body scan, stretching, progressive relaxation)
24. Reach out to those you love and like talking to
Now on to the stories from our YHC community about how “movement is medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states” (Carol Welch).
From Betsy: I am appreciative of YHC being so flexible and available during this unprecedented and crazy time. It seems like YHC has been one of the few constants from the very beginning of SIP (shelter in place). I think we all thought it would be a week or two and then things would go back to normal, but as we now know that is not the case. YHC was able to move from offering in person classes to streaming classes through Zoom very quickly and I very much appreciate how they have worked so hard to keep as much normalcy in our lives as possible. Although the SIP has been difficult for everyone to varying degrees, I know that without yoga classes multiple times a week with familiar instructors it would have been much harder for me. Sure, I could have looked around and found other classes to stream to fill in the void, but working out with other YHC members and familiar YHC instructors has made all of the difference. Having this sense of familiarity has made this trying time much better for me and by extension, my family! Thank you YHC!
From Whitney: That last week before the state-wide SIP, I was at the studio every day, wondering, "Is this OK? Can I really afford to be here?". As Val said, "It's coming, and you have to be ready to do this for yourself, on your own." That's a metaphor for so many aspects of living in this strange new world. YHC was there at every turn, reaching out, being present, experimenting, learning and resetting alongside all of us. At first, showing up for a zoom class added some structure to a shapeless day, an endless week. Farther along, we all became pretty good at this: we all learned to mute, jumped to a new system, synced our Spotify, maybe tried a little VOD or DIY. At some point, I really did come to grasp how this is my practice as much as it is our practice: show up, take control, invest the time and the energy, stay with it. Repeat. And again. And again. If you need some inspiration or support, YHC is there with any support you need in all the ways. More wise words from Val, "This is every day, for the rest of your life. You might as well make it fun."
From Sue: When this SIP started I was feeling down. I was so used to going to YHC almost daily to work out and talk with people, some of whom have become friends. I really started to feel good about the progress I was making in my exercise routine. When I saw that online streaming was available, I was very excited. It helps to see other people taking the class with you and to be able to talk with them before and after the class. I’m thankful to the owners, the teachers and staff who have made the Zoom streaming classes available. I believe we all appreciate the hard work that has gone into making this happen. Exercise is good for the body and the soul.
From Mary Frances: Sheltering in place has given me the opportunity go through old photos, reflect, and remember happy times as a natural way to reduce stress. Like many folks, I’ve noticed that a lot of my “happy times” and “happy places” have usually been shared experiences with as little as one, many people or groups. I can still laugh when I think about aerobics in the 80s with my college buddies. My first yoga experience in the early 90s had me in a class where I didn’t know anyone at first but I felt... alone/together, with the group and enjoyed the classes. I went to YHC for hot yoga when I was new in town and it was on El Camino. I didn’t know anyone there at first but loved the group experience. It only makes sense to me that attending Yoga Health Center’s streaming classes brings me all the good “happy times” and “happy places” feelings. Seeing the smiles and having a quick chat takes me right back to those good feelings of being in class together at the studio. I appreciate how quickly Regina and the YHC staff became resourceful in putting a mix of classes together to keep us going. They continue to fine tune and make adjustments to bring us the best they can. The inspiration is contagious. I know we will all be back together again but for now I’m happy to be alone/together online!! Thank you YHC for streaming classes!!!!
From Aline: I miss YHC so much. It has been such an important part of my life. Big shout out and thankfulness to all of you. Before the videos were posted I was feeling really melancholy and did not know what to do with myself. Work got really stressful because I had to switch my whole practice from teaching in the classroom to being an online instructor. Things I have never heard of before such a Zoom or Google hangouts all became a part of my daily routine. Without the yoga classes I really did not have mental clarity nor peace of mind and heart. Thanks to all the YHC instructors for giving your energy your spirit and your words of wisdom. You are truly inspirational. YHC class members and instructors, the joy of being physically active, and having strength both physically and mentally all keep me motivated. Also, I value the beautiful gifts which I receive after every class: happiness, peace, clarity, strength and joy, plus a whole bunch more. I love YHC and want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
These stories are so beautiful and moving, right? All of us at YHC encourage you to keep moving. Yes, stay active and attend as many YHC classes as your schedule allows. Also keep in mind that we have an extensive VOD library from which you can “check out” a workout at any time you like. YHC is still here for you.