This week we’re kicking off the 10th (!) Arena Academy. With this training, we’ll have run more Academies online than in-person. Needless to say, we’ve got the virtual training system down.
Academy participants prepare for the five days of online training by arranging childcare, taking time off work, and completing pre-work to familiarize themselves with the theories and concepts that are used during training. In return, our trainers bring their A-game to ensure that training material is shared in an interactive, engaging format with plenty of breaks between sessions so that participants can absorb and digest new information.
But we get it, virtual gatherings can be challenging. We’ve been glued to our screens for a year and a half now. And what’s often reflected on those screens is unsettling: the ongoing fight for abortion access, voter suppression efforts, and the ongoing pandemic all contribute to underlying persistent feelings of dread and anxiety.
If you’re reading this post ahead of participating in our September Academy, remember that you’re in the right place. By choosing to prioritize training for the progressive campaigns, you’re playing an integral part in protecting our fundamental rights.
We’ve put together these five tips to help Academy participants keep their bodies moving, their minds present and their sanity intact while training online.
Move Your Body
The hours in front of our computers can take a toll on the body. Give your mind a break from processing new information by getting up and moving. This can look like stretching or, if you’re able, taking a lap around your block or yard. Movement will provide your body some much-needed relief and will provide an energy boost. Bonus: it will help you remember conversations better too!
When we’re able to connect with nature and breathe in fresh air, we feel more grounded, balanced and resilient. Research suggests that spending time outside contributes to happiness, reduces stress and anxiety, and can even enhance your cognition by improving memory.1 We’re not talking about taking a full-on hike. Getting connected to nature can be as simple as touching the grass in your yard, walking along a tree-lined street, or watering a plant.
Music Break, Anyone?
Who among us hasn’t hit the reset button by turning on our favorite song and losing ourselves within the lyrics of our favorite tune? It just works. That’s because music improves our mood and drops us into the present moment. Within the four to five minutes of a song, we’re able to expel excess energy, get relief from your screen (see above tip), and even get the comfort of an old, familiar jam. Go ahead and put on a song that makes you hype and take a midday music break. The Academy will be here for you when you get back. ?
Connect with Others
When you train at Arena Academy, you’re not only learning from seasoned campaign experts, you’re meeting like-minded professionals from around the country who are also hungry to get involved. Your Academy cohort will be your future co-workers, shoulders to lean on during election night, and compatriots who understand the unique experience of working on a campaign. We encourage you to meet a new person: exchange contact information, share and compare notes, and keep each other’s mood uplifted by posting a meme to the Slack channel. This cohort is your support system for the five days of training and beyond.
Looking for more resources to incorporate self-care into your Academy experience? Check out these articles: