On the Other Side

Empowerment Center

On the Other Side

After-class photo of three on-screen students and three in-studio women

I’m not really sure we’re “on the other side” of the pandemic fully, but we are at least on the other side of the 2020/2021 quarantine. The 16 months of living differently has had an impact on all of us, regardless of what comes next. While most of the changes Covid19 brought along with it were incredibly hard, some things changed for the better. Here’s my list of those positive changes; I’d love to hear yours!

Self-care mattered:

I saw so much attention paid to true self-care during the pandemic. The idea moved away from pampering and more towards the things we do to keep ourselves surviving and thriving. From getting outside for (socially distanced) walks to carving out the time to come to classes via zoom, Covid seems to have highlighted the importance of self-care in a way nothing had done before, and I am here for it!

What we wore and how we looked (from the shoulders down, at least) didn’t matter:

How many of us took zoom calls in our pajamas, or went without a bra, or stuck to yoga pants and casual tees because they were what made us feel comfortable? And how many of those choices had zero negative impact on our work? Exactly. Shifting into online mode also let us shift our priorities away from the superficial and towards the substantive. Don’t get me started on the Zoom “touch up your appearance” filter – that’s a topic for another day.

Home life became integrated:

Kids, pets, interesting decor – all of it was brought onto screen at one time or another, and everything was fine! Getting to be whole and authentic in all our environments (personal, professional, educational) meant we had to do less compartmentalizing for others. We had an opportunity to get to know each other on additional levels.

Geographical barriers were broken:

Work out with your friend from another state? Have a group “outing” with friends in multiple time zones? Dive into teacher training with instructors several states away without needing to travel? All of these things happened for me during the pandemic and brought a lot of joy along for the ride. Mastering time zones has taken some getting used to, but that’s a small price to pay for being able to make our big world a bit smaller and more accessible.

Boundary setting became a norm:

“Is it ok to give you a hug?” “Do you want to meet indoors or out?” “Are you comfortable in-person, or should we stick to Zoom?” Asking (and answering) questions like these has become an expected part of the human interaction mix. That we needed a global pandemic to accelerate consent culture is a bit disappointing, but I’m still seeing this as a positive. We (almost) all understand that each person is going to have different comfort levels as we go through re-entry and, from what I’ve seen, that understanding is happening at the front end of interactions.

Flexibility is thriving:

Finding new ways to do old things has become something of a hobby for most of us, and we’re carrying that ingenuity forward. Hip Circle is offering both streaming and in-person options for class attendance, for example. Restaurants are offering indoor and outdoor seating wherever possible. Stores are open for shopping and are maintaining curbside pickup. We’re learning, as a people, to accommodate the differences around us and, as a result, are finding ways to provide comparable experiences for all.

Malik wearing an I am the mistress of my own mask mask
After-class photo of three on-screen students and three in-studio women
zoom screen with 9 panels, each filled with a woman with her arms outstretched


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