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How Can We Practice Virtual Inclusion?

Hi. I hope this finds you well. ❥

In this brave new world we find ourselves in, we’ve been able to witness right in front of our eyes just how quickly it’s possible to move even more of our lives online. (Wait, weren’t we just talking about digital detoxing?) But, here we are.

For many of us in the wellness world, this has meant shifting almost overnight into hosting our classes and clients remotely, either for the first time or just a lot more often than before.

This has definitely not been without its challenges, but I see you all out there figuring it out, and I really admire it. It’s been truly inspiring to see the innovation that’s come out of all this, from the virtual meditations and dance parties popping up all over the place like the spring crocuses outside to Dolly Parton reading bedtime stories online, making one thing very clear — the desire to maintain connections, show up for and be held by community, and hold space for each other is so real, and thank goodness, because it’s so needed at this time. If there’s anything social distancing has taught us, it’s just how much we need each other.

In between all of our efforts to become intimately acquainted with video platforms and transform our living rooms into makeshift studios, one question that’s maybe been harder to answer is, how do we do this inclusively?

Of course, virtual sessions are nothing new, but their ubiquity is, and there are still not many guidelines on bringing inclusion to this realm. Knowing that, Hannah and I wanted to put this out there as a way to start a conversation on what it means to be inclusive in the virtual space. We’ll offer a few ideas below and would love to hear yours as well.

Inclusive Considerations for the Virtual Space

Mobile friendliness: Not everyone has a computer, but more and more people do have phones. Making virtual offerings mobile-friendly is one way to help to make them more accessible.

Time friendliness: For people who are busy working and taking care of their households, or who don’t have wifi always accessible, the timing of a class may be the only thing holding them back. If you can offer them a recording of a class, they can have the option of attending at their convenience.

Tech friendliness: How can you accommodate folks who might be new to the tool or platform you’re using? Some ideas are including usage instructions to help people navigate tools that may be new to them, inviting people to ask questions, and taking time to give brief virtual tours/tutorials at the beginning of sessions (“here’s where to find the chat box”).

Financial friendliness: With so many people unemployed and underemployed at the moment, it’s an especially worthwhile time to ask, is there financial accessibility to my offerings? Some ways of doing this are making some offerings donation-based or sliding scale, if it’s feasible for you while still meeting your needs. If you don’t feel able to do this for all offerings, you might consider shifting to this structure for one to see how it goes. And don’t forget, there are other forms of energetic exchange outside of money! For example, for those who elect to attend a donation-based class for free, you might ask them to “pay” by spreading the word to friends. If you’re able, you might also consider donating a % of proceeds to an organization offering Covid-19 relief.

One Day at a Time…

As we move through this, let’s acknowledge that each and every one of us has essentially been thrown into a new and different realm where maintaining our personal connections and our livelihoods has to happen in virtual reality. This is unprecedented, so wherever you find yourself in this process and however you might be feeling about it is completely valid. We’re here to listen if you need space to talk through your challenges, and we welcome your ideas for ways we can continue to navigate virtual reality in ways that feel welcoming to all. Please send them to emily@threemooncollective.com.

*Virtual hug.*

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