Meet Wellness Collective, our new, immersive curriculum with Athleta that hooks you up with actionable advice from the smartest experts and brand founders in wellness right now. Get the goods at our monthly event series in New York City, plus our online one-month wellness plans. Here, Elisa Shankle, co-founder of HealHaus, shares her four-week guide to building a community within wellness.
How many times have you zoomed right out of yoga class the second vinyasa came to an end—instead of, you know, actually socializing with the people around you?
First off, no judgement—we’ve all been there. But according to Elisa Shankle, co-founder of HealHaus, a Brooklyn-based community and wellness space, it’s time to take a step outside of your comfort zone. “Your tribe pushes you beyond your limits and helps you see your edge, and sometimes we definitely need that,” she says. “Community allows for vulnerability to take place and encourages a domino effect where we activate one another to seek a higher version of ourselves.”
To help you get there, we asked Shankle for a month’s worth of actionable advice to help you build your own tribe (and banish awkward outsider feelings—because you’re so not alone).
Scroll down for the step-by-step guide on how to meet new people and create your support squad within your wellness sphere.
Before you can start putting yourself out there, you need to look internally to see what needs you want fulfilled in a friendship and what’s been holding you back from striking up that conversation or joining that post-spin smoothie crowd.
“First and foremost, in order to even acknowledge what you may need to improve body, mind, and spirit, that starts with awareness,” says Shankle. “I encourage people to start plugging into themselves, try things that resonate with you, and don’t be hard on yourself.”
While you go through your usual routine, pay attention to what makes you feel good, what’s serving you, and what isn’t. “There is no ‘right’ way to experience what is healing to you—it’s your own process so don’t judge yourself,” says Shankle. So for the first week, just do you.
As you start moving in your mindset toward connection, be mindful to reflect who you really are. “People respond to what’s real,” says Shankle, even if your real means rushing to a workout straight from the office with a day’s worth of dry shampoo in your hair (same).
So now that you’ve taken a week to focus on your true self, take this second week to start showing it. If you just watched a hilarious episode of a show and you’re dying to talk about it, go ahead—because it’s more likely you’ll connect with people who have the same interests you do.
“It’s important to have people in your circle that empower you to take your journey to the next level, but also meet you where you’re at,” Shankle explains. And if where you’re at is eye-ball deep into a Netflix show, you’re probably—okay, definitely—not the only one.
Social media can be an amazing tool to meet new people—or a trap that makes you think your worth lies in your following count. Shankle chooses to believe in the former: “Focus less on followers, and more on providing strong [stories] and experiences that illustrate your journey, both the highs and the lows.”
Interacting with the people and places you engage with through wellness online can actually open doors, start new conversations, and lead to meaningful real-life moments. Chances are if you hit it off over DM, you’ll hit it off face-to-face, too. Just take a note from Shankle’s personal mission: “I want to be able to talk about my wellness journey like I would chat about what’s for breakfast.”
Now it’s time to take what you’ve been building on for the last few weeks (tuning into yourself, expressing yourself authentically, and using social media as a means for connection) and turning it into an experience with other people.
“Being amongst others and sharing your story or healing collectively energizes [you],” says Shankle. “At HealHaus we are committed to building community around wellness and encouraging people to hang around after class to connect with others and not just jet off.”
So, mingle. Grab that smoothie or join that stretch sesh. Whatever it is, make sure it exemplifies what you like and what you want to share with others. Says Shankle, “There is only so much we can do alone, and then we must seek help in order to continue to heal and evolve on a deeper level to promote overall well-being.”
Want more Wellness Collective? Hit up our monthly events at Athleta’s Flatiron flagship in New York City, and click here for more wellness intel.
In partnership with Athleta
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