8 Things you MUST DO to Help You Feel Good and Stay Sane During an Epidemic

It’s time for me to start writing again….

Living through this unprecedented time of our lives I have found myself feeling unsure and helpless, looking for the things I can be sure of and ways to be helpful. I am certainly taking note of all of the people who are working so hard such as all of the medical professionals, grocery store clerks, people who are making deliveries and all of essential service workers. This leads me to wonder how I can contribute and/or show my gratitude. Our dance studio has been labeled non-essential, we are currently closed and unable to connect and teach our students in person. I was reading something that said to share your gifts and voila!…I became  inspired (and I have a little more time) so I am writing this blog.

Boy am I happy to be writing again! I am excited to share some tips that I hope will make a positive impact in your life and bring some sunshine to your day.

Before we dig in, I have to mention…these are things that I try to implement in my life on a weekly basis already regardless of the current situation. Staying connected, feeling good, and leading a life with as much balance as possible is a priority of mine, but I feel we have gone from the things we “need to do” or “should do” to a “MUST DO!”

So….here, we, go….


1. Make fun, healthy recipes
If you have seen any of my posts on social media you know that I love making recipes, and I do have to say I am known as “the healthy Mom.” I try to eat clean, avoid processed foods, and eat a lot of colorful food. Food affects how we feel, not just how we look…. which also affects how we feel, Get me? Being a dancer my whole life, I have always been active  (Although I don’t dance as much as I did during my good ‘ol competition days) my goal is to maintain a dancers poise and physique. In each stage of my life I am reminded that what I eat plays a much bigger part in the whole equation. When I get bored eating the same thing over and over, I begin reaching for the unhealthy food.  And since I am DETERMINED not to get the “Corona 15”,  I catch myself and find a recipe that is easy and has good ingredients… for me, easy is key!  I see some of you posting your fancy recipes, and I LOVE IT ,but I will not stick to it if it is too complicated.

Quick tip – if you have kids, get them involved by choosing the recipe, and making the recipe together. Of course, I give them choices that our Mama approved!


2. Take YOURSELF on a walk
Yes, I am serious, take yourself on a walk! Of course if you have dogs, take them with you, (mine are gonna be so skinny, lol).  Really at this point being stuck inside the house all day I really feel like they are taking me on a walk. My neighborhood is a quiet cul-de-sac, so I am able to do the loop, experience nature, keep social distancing and be safe. I have a friend of mine that is a nurse and bless her, … when she gets a break I see her doing the same in an open parking lot! If you live in a more urban area, you may have to be more creative and find an open space but nonetheless….take a walk.


3. Dance!
You guys, as they say “The show must go on” and dance is such a vital part in so many of our lives. For ballroom dancers there is no question, we are missing the connection, camaraderie, and friendships at this time. This is a reminder that we may need to explore many other benefits during this social distancing time. We know nothing will ever replace in person instruction, it is our purpose as humans to interact in social settings. For now I encourage you to participate in our collection of online videos. We have several different outlets that can help you to exercise and keep your technique up while learning at home.

Sources include – Arthur Murray Worldwide videos, our sister Arthur Murray schools’ videos, and our very own Woodland Hills and Thousand Oaks virtual group classes, and Learn at Home series.  Using these amazing resources we have as an Arthur Murray community will ensure the same thought out and proven syllabus and the quality instruction that you receive in studio. Let’s face it, anyone can film a dance instruction video. Not everybody has the pedigree and experience that 108 years of proven instruction can give you, so stick with us and continue to learn with the pros you’ve come to trust..


4. Get your D
Vitamin D that is! This is one people don’t often think about, so hear me out.  A study from Canton Mercy hospital states that 42% of Americans are vitamin D deficient and the darker your skin tone, it goes up from there, as much as 82%. The latest research links vitamin D deficiency to mood swings, depression, lack of energy, chronic skin conditions, and more. This is EXACTLY why we need to be proactive! Get direct sunlight between the hours of 10AM – 3PM for at least the doctor recommended 15 minutes with no sunblock. I put SPF on my face and a big ‘ol hat on my head! Go on your patio, balcony, sit in your backyard, or on your front porch. Of course, some foods are an excellent source of Vitamin D, but trust me and take note of your mood after being in the direct sunlight…. Do you wish you could bottle that mood? You can! It’s called vitamin D supplement.. I am deficient and have been taking one for a while and trying to keep up with it by putting foods with vitamin D in my diet daily. Foods like mushrooms, eggs (with yolk), milk, OJ and fish like halibut, salmon, and tuna fish. You guys! Vitamin D even helps protect against cold and flu… see where I am going with this?!


5. Exercise
Ok so……Remember when you thought you’d like weekends to be longer and ALL of the things you would do if you had a couple more days??  This is the longest weekend of most of our lives wouldn’t you say? That means we should be exercising like crazy, right? Not! Funny how we find so many other things to fill our days and exercise is still on the back burner. The hard part is finding the motivation when you are in lock down. This is a time to be creative and get it done. As I mentioned above DANCE! After you get your dance workout in, you can take it a step further and do another type of workout. Exercise is key my friends. You may need to figure out a new “workout at home” routine. I have a Peloton which I am loving so much right now! Being guided by a virtual coach is the second best thing to live! You can find many resources like this through apps on your phone or even your smart TV. You may even bust out some of those old workout DVDs you own (do people have dvd players anymore?)  One of my favorites is the free PopSugar app, (I’ve been using it for years), Peloton, and these days the  gyms are trying to keep you as members by something like this. Make it a priority to get up and move daily.


6. Learn something new or do something you used to do
This doesn’t have to be a big undertaking like quilting or Karate (via video of course), but something you thought you would do if you had the time. For me, I started a routine for my teenage girls during their spring break because I want to help them do all of the things I mentioned for their health and sanity. Some of the things included game night, corn hole in the backyard, movie night, painting, and family zoom dinner. Honestly, anything to get them off of their devices and TV so we are interacting with each other. If you are quarantined by yourself, you can use FaceTime, Zoom or Houseparty with friends or family. Reach out to your friends and family and be creative. My dad is alone and we got him on Facetime (new) and found a way to play Yahtzee with him. This was not overwhelming but a new way to play an old game.  It was fun to spend time with my dad and good for him too!  What I found is while I was finding new ways to schedule these activities for my family, I was able to decompress and feel good. The day we painted with our kids, I really got into it and enjoyed something I had never done with them before. I encourage you to make the effort, you are worth it.


7. Declutter…
I am not trying to go Maria Kondo here but there truly is joy in the feeling of accomplishment…… What can we control? Only ourselves, well sort of…. I can’t control myself when Robert brings out the ice cream.  So there’s that… But anyways…. You know you’ve been so absorbed with life, leaving little piles everywhere. Take this chance to get rid of those piles. That may seem overwhelming, I know it is for me. So here’s my tip: Pick one small task, say your “junk drawer” and clean it out. Do you really need those airplane earbuds or the 6 pens that no longer have ink in them, or the key that you swear you are going to find the lock for… oh you will….right after you throw the key away…. But what do you need that lock for anyways…

When things are so uncertain in our exterior world, accomplishing something small (from start to finish) will help us to feel good and a touch more sane. START SMALL and by the end of this dang thing, you will have accomplished so much.


8. Community
THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT – connecting is the thing we are most craving. How many days have you thought,  “I can’t do this anymore!”? There is a sense of community and freedom that can adversely affect the way we feel. (and of course a million other things)

We cannot do this alone and nor should we try! Please reach out and utilize the relationships and communities in which you belong. Our Arthur Murray community of over 270 studios worldwide and hundreds of thousands of teachers and students all over the globe, is a strong way to connect. You all have made new friends and acquaintances you’ve met inside the studio and great friendships at our events. Connect with them you may find that you will become more connected when all of this is over, and it will continue to enhance your experience at events! You may have Mommy groups, work groups, volunteer groups…please connect with your network, friends, and family. This time will pass whether we make something of it or not…. Do not let this time pass without taking this unprecedented opportunity to connect with your friends and family….whether you pick up the phone and call, Facetime, messenger video chat, Zoom, use Family Group Apps…When this is all over, I truly believe THIS will be one of our major “Silver lining” outcomes…

We will be invested more heavily in the lives of those we love, we have missed, and we needed to connect with. We have had family dinners over Zoom with family in different states, we have played interactive games, we have done training and checked in with the staff at our studios, and we have even done dance lessons this way ….Each time we have connected I have left feeling more fulfilled and wondered, Why haven’t we done this before?!

While these are unprecedented experiences specifically, enduring a pandemic.  The way it has made me feel has been familiar…grief, disappointment, fear of unknown, sadness, self doubt, and outright lost…. I have felt everyone of these emotions over the years and I have had to pull myself out …. I am certain you have too. Just like anything, we have to acknowledge it, feel it, mourn it and then figure out how to not only move through it (notice I didn’t say forget it), but figure out how we can come out stronger on the other end of it. My wish is to have even one thing you can take away from this that will help you to be happy and feel stronger.

I am DETERMINED to get through this having accomplished something and not only seeing the silver lining but being PROACTIVE in making it happen! Now, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy, but what is harder to endure makes us stronger when it’s over. Stay safe and we will see you on the dance floor soon!

Live, Love, Dance and Enjoy!


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