Learning & Teaching
by Marlees West, Program Director, Frisoli Youth Center
As an extrovert, movement has long been my only solitary activity. Long runs help me center myself and release some of my excess energy before I connect with others. In the last year, pilates has helped me to get ready for a day of: connecting to staff and young people and families; talking and learning, and teaching and thinking. By myself, at the end of the day, pilates helps me process everything that I learned, heard, and felt.
Like all of us, physical distancing has rocked my world.
I no longer have all those in-person social interactions to feed my extroverted soul. So, I created “Socially Distant Pilates People." I made my daily exercise routine a social time, initially with just a small group of 4. Over the last few weeks, our community has now grown to include more than 20 people. We 'FaceTime' ten minutes a day, once a day, every day, to do pilates together. That’s it! But that short ten minutes (followed by a virtual dance party) has felt really good. It’s kept me connected to my own identity as a teacher and facilitator (and now as an amateur pilates instructor!) and to my friends and family and friends of friends. It’s quickly become the best part of my day, lifting my mood and energy, and jump starting my creativity. I feel connected.
I started to wonder why it feels so good and why it feels like it works so well.
Reflecting with friends and with myself, helped me to identify the following five key ingredients:
While I don’t know how long our physical distancing will last, I am thinking about what lessons I can take back with me when we are back together in the same space. Physical distancing has made me a little bit braver and helped me to try something new. I wonder what aspects of being home create a sense of safety for us and how we can recreate that feeling in out of school time when we are together again. And I hope we all find small and big ways to be braver in our connections while we remain apart.
Until we can be physically together again, I recommend some actions you can take:
If you'd like to share resources with your colleagues, tell us how you are coping and healing, and helping the youth and families that you work with to heal, and continuing to find joy while we are physically apart, please submit a blog post by emailing. Here are some tips to help get you started.