Bliss Baby Yoga’s Operations Manager Robyn Bell shares some creative practices to help stay connected when working and studying online.
Since 2020, many of us have found ourselves online more than ever. Often this can be at home, by ourselves (or around children) and without the daily connection with our local communities.
In some ways the world has become smaller. It’s created opportunities for work and study that may not have been possible otherwise, for example, due to geographical location or other commitments. But it also has the potential to feel isolating, and there are new challenges associated with juggling our space and time.
Here at Bliss Baby Yoga we understand both sides of the coin when it comes to working and studying online. And that’s why this month we spoke to our Operations Manager, Robyn Bell, about how to build supportive and connected communities online.
Robyn is a bit of a whizz when it comes to building authentic, peer based, online communities, and has shared some top tips for working smart, protecting your wellbeing, and building meaningful connections whilst working and studying online.
1. Take time away from the screen
“One of the things I’ve learned over the past year is how important it is to prioritise your self care. I’ve discovered some important hacks along the way, such as the 20-20 rule (look away from your screen for 20 seconds every 20 minutes) which my friend, fellow yoga teacher and international online work/study-buddy Rebby Kern shared with me.
It’s also important to make time for short movement breaks (it could even be just 30 seconds) to stretch and breathe if you are sitting at a computer for long periods of time. I love seated upper body / neck stretches, and also a standing down dog with hands on the desk or seat / back of the chair, reaching the sitting bones back and lengthening the spine and backs of the legs.”
2. Stay hydrated!
“It may sound simple but staying hydrated is crucial when you’re spending long periods looking at the screen. You might set a timer to remind yourself to drink some water every 20-30 minutes. The bonus is that you’ll also need to get up and take a movement break to refill your bottle (and use the bathroom!) so it’s a win-win!”
3. Set boundaries
“Schedule realistic timeframes for online study. Don’t expect yourself to achieve the unachievable and know that baby steps can go a long way. For example, 15 minutes a day might be more realistic than two hours at a time.
How you approach your work/study can also make a big difference: putting some time and love into setting up your space or creating some rituals can become powerful practices.
This doesn’t mean that you have to have a dedicated study space – sometimes study needs to happen at the kitchen table. However, each time you get out your laptop, course manuals or notes, you might also pop a small plant or some snacks on the table next to you. Or perhaps you make a ritual of making a pot of tea as you begin your study session.”
4. Find a study buddy
“It can feel lonely when studying or working online so it might be helpful to find a virtual ‘study buddy’. This could be someone who you commit to checking in with about your progress through the course. You can bounce ideas, ask questions, and keep each other ‘accountable’ to the timeline you’ve set for completing your study.
You might facilitate this via email, or perhaps a group chat on a messaging service (like Signal or WhatsApp). Ensure that however you set this up feels supportive and reciprocal of each other’s learning, rather than adding another thing to your ‘to-do’ list. Establishing some ‘Group Agreements’ to help facilitate appropriate boundaries can really help this.
If you are studying one (or more!) of our Bliss Baby Yoga online courses and would like to find someone who is in a similar time zone, or who is studying the same course, look out for the Study Buddy invitation posts in the Bliss Baby Yoga Facebook group. We also now have group mentoring sessions, which really help to build a sense of community and give the opportunity to deepen your learning.”
5. Use digital co-working/studying spaces
“You may like to create some online co-working spaces, which can be a wonderful way to see friendly faces as you work or study.
This might look like setting up a weekly or bi-weekly Zoom meeting, and inviting others to join so that you can study alongside each other. You might keep yourselves on ‘mute’ and work on your own tasks, but check in with each other as needed.
You can set a timer for when you will all take short movement/rest breaks, remind each other to drink water, and perhaps ask questions or share ideas along the way.
Be sure to respect ‘productivity’ for others in the shared digital space. Holding this space could include a set ‘check-in’ time before or after your dedicated ‘work time’ to ensure the co-working space is supportive and collaborative rather than distracting.”
6. Engage with community
“We recommend using our Bliss Baby Yoga Facebook group to engage with a wider community of like-minded yoga teachers. You can use this forum to ask questions, share, initiate discussions, and invite connections with peers and new friends.”
However you choose to work or study online, remember to place your needs and wellbeing at the centre of what you do. Sometimes it’s easy to forget to take care of ourselves, especially when working alone. So being creative and setting up practices to support our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing really help.
If you’re inspired by this post and would like to study with us, please take a moment to look through our Online Yoga Teacher Training Courses.
Our specialist courses in Prenatal, Postnatal, Fertility and Restorative Yoga have been designed to enrich your professional practice. They will help you to integrate the principals of a Feminine Approach to Yoga and feel confident teaching within your community.
All courses are available online, so you can study anywhere, anytime around your other commitments.
Robyn Bell is our Bliss Baby Yoga Operations Manager and a yoga teacher specialising in Chair Yoga, Accessible Yoga and Restorative Yoga. Robyn is passionate about making yoga classes and spaces as accessible and affirming as possible. Connect with Robyn on instagram @kind_yoga.
Further Reading related to this topic:
- Teaching Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga Online – What You Need to Know by Nadine O’Mara
- Minimal Props with Maximum (Restorative) Benefit by Robyn Bell
- The Importance of Finding a Mentor by Ana Davis
- A feminine approach to creating sustainability online by Star Despres
- How Living with Ahimsa can Help the Planet by Sophie Duncan