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REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL: HOW TO STAY POSITIVE IN TOUGH TIMES

by Sarah Shortt

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Have you felt anxious recently? Lost your temper with your kids or partner? Burst into tears while watching Below Deck? If so, you are in good company. Many of us are experiencing a pandemic meltdown moment. A sense of helplessness and uncertainty about the future coupled with the doom and gloom of the news headlines can make the most optimistic of us feel like pulling the blinds down and pinning a notice on our bedroom door: “Closed for service. Try again in 2021.”

The good news is that it’s perfectly natural to feel down at times, and even superstars like Program Director Rachael Newsham have their moments of feeling blue. But, as Rach says, you can’t have the rainbow without the rain: “People can’t stay happy all the time, just as the sun cannot shine every day. If the sun shone every day and the rain never fell, we wouldn’t see fresh grass grow, and flowers bloom, and the fruit on the trees wouldn’t grow. The land would dry up, the farmers would go out of business, cities would be in droughts and we’d all start praying for the rain.

“Sometimes the sun shines and sometimes it rains, and weather will be weather and life will be all it can be. I do my best to enjoy the highs and grow through the lows, knowing that I need both to be all that I have the potential to be.” Here’s how to keep you chin up when times are tough.

 

Be kind to yourself

As we are told in every air safety briefing: if the plane hits turbulence and oxygen masks come down, you need to place the mask on yourself first before turning to help others. Because if you don’t look after yourself first, you might not be able to help anyone else.

“My top tips for self-care are cooking and practising yoga,” says BODYBALANCE Trainer Bram Prima Halim. “With cooking, you can monitor what you put in the body and focus on giving yourself the right nutrition. Especially when you teach many classes in a week, it is really important to have enough nutritious food intake. I also do my own yoga practise. I like to start with breathing practise followed by an internal observation on what I feel physically and mentally; whether it is restorative or energising, grounding, or uplifting. The intention is to listen to the body.”

BODYATTACK Instructor Duncan Thomson agrees: “Make time for yourself, even if it’s just 30 minutes on a video call to a friend or loved one, it makes all the difference to see them and hear their voices. Also make sure you take time to do your workouts and feel the love and the uplifting energy that BODYATTACK® brings. Don’t be hard on yourself. These are challenging unknown times for all of us so it’s absolutely fine to have waves of emotion that change on a daily/weekly basis!”

 

Stay connected with others (even if it’s through a screen)

Face masks, lockdown, restrictions on meeting indoors and outdoors… the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we interact with others and it can be easy to feel isolated and lonely, particularly if you are the type of person who recharges by being around others. Fortunately, we have more options than ever before to remain in touch.

“We are so lucky to be in an age where can still stay connected!” says BODYATTACKer Maigan Fowler. “I couldn’t imagine all this happening in the years before Zoom, live-streaming etc. Seeing your favourite Instructor faces during closures or your family and friends overseas is certainly something that brings some cheer!”

Fellow BODYATTACK Instructor Reena Dulfon agrees: “Connection with the Instructor team has helped me immensely to stay sane and happy. We’ve worked out together every single Saturday since March, starting on FaceTime until smaller in-person groups were allowed. I’ve made a lot of close friends and wouldn’t give that up for anything. I’ve also stayed well connected with several of my members. Everyone’s depressed but sometimes just having a chance to vent helps. Challenges and hard times don’t last forever, something I remind myself daily.”

 

Focus on what you do have, rather than what you’ve lost

BODYATTACK Program Director Lisa Osborne is the queen of positivity and practising gratitude. Her advice? “Don’t think of the past. Live in the present and make it as good as you can. Each day is a day to enjoy and make the most of. Be thankful and appreciate what you’ve got – write it down and say it out loud!”

“I focus on being grateful for all life's blessings,” says BODYBALANCE Instructor Theresa Fullerton. “Clean air, sunshine, freedom, ability to think, ability to move, whatever your blessings are. Gratitude yields happiness.”

 

Celebrate the joy you bring to others

Group Fitness Instructors are in the unique position of bringing joy and escapism to others, the power of which is not to underestimated in these troubled times. On hard days, remember the contribution to you make to the happiness of others.

“Seeing my members’ faces, their desire to be present - especially when so many are scared to be out in the public - means the world to me and gives me a renewed purpose for instructing,” says BODYATTACKer Clinton Cooper. “Like many, my class sizes are very small, the average is maybe three to four participants, but those who attend are more committed than ever! The reasons for being cheerful and positive are simple: we need each other. We need presence and face-to-face. My reason for showing up and being 100 per cent present are the faces that I see in every single class. Our members may need a distraction, and we can provide that. They may need to let off steam and release some tension from their day. They may need just an hour of face-to-face time with a real person, not from behind a screen. We can do that for them.”

BODYATTACK Instructor Kellie McLarty notes: “Moving together, feeling excited, and having that ‘in-this-together’ experience allows our unified excitement and gratitude to lift us to a higher place for a bit. It is a special time in our day, and in our week to connect, to move, to celebrate our amazing and miraculous body’s ability and potential. What could be more cheerful and joyful than a room full of people in happy movement together?”