Nicki's journey with GetSetUp has been a transformative one over the past two years. A local resident of the Sacramento Valley in Northern California, her classes are subsidized thanks to the Area Agency on Aging 4.
After the loss of her husband of 52 years, she found herself struggling to fill her days and find meaning. She found herself in a transformative moment when her role was changing again, and she was trying to grasp that change just as the pandemic hit. That's when she discovered GetSetUp and the variety of classes it offered, she decided to give new topics a try.
One of the class topics that particularly caught her attention was art.
"I never thought I would be interested in art," Nicki said, "but the art history classes were great, and learning how to draw opened a new world for me."
She went on to say, "I took some classes on GetSetUp I never thought I would be interested in. When I was younger, I would go to museums, but I never thought I would be able to create art myself. I took up the challenge because my brain said, 'you can do this now since you aren't doing other things.' And that’s when the creative side of me just came out."
Previously Nicki had worked for the government, and her life was so structured she hadn't had time for creativity, but the GetSetUp art classes helped her find a new side of herself.
Learning Skills To Destress and Practice Daily
In addition to the art classes, Nicki also found a lot of benefits from the meditation and mindful chair yoga classes taught by Glenda.
"What really helped me through the hard times was taking meditation and mindful chair yoga with Glenda," she said. "They helped me put things in perspective and gave me a new perspective on life. I really enjoyed finding something new like this to be excited about."
Nicki also appreciated the way that Glenda taught the classes, stating that she thinks she might have been able to handle life situations differently in the past if she had known these skills sooner.
"The technique of breathing in through your nose and exhaling through your mouth does something to you physiologically," she said. "It helped clear my mind and cleared my thoughts. Now I meditate for 3-4 minutes in the morning to get myself going. Then again, at night so that I can feel really good before I go to sleep, and hopefully, I can start my next day that way. It gives me freedom, and I'm ready to greet the day and try to be positive."
Meditation has also helped Nicki beyond her day-to-day life to manage her health and wellness by helping her stay calm in stressful situations like MRIs.
“The annoying noisy MRI sounds of an hour and a half were replaced by the ocean and the waves, which put me into a calming meditative state. This proved to me that meditation definitely works. It’s all mindset, and you really have to use that part of your brain to your advantage.”
Nicki thoroughly enjoys taking these classes with other people her age. She can empathize with their struggle to let go because she remembers having that problem in the past as she tried to mediate.
“I think the meditation has helped me to let go and has been a vital part of my latest version of myself. It has calmed me and helped me look at life in a better light. I handle things as they come, and I do my best. Looking back, I wish I had had the opportunity to properly do mediation earlier in life, especially when I was caring for my husband. If I had known this, then my life might have been less stressful as this would have helped at the time."
Nicki plans to keep meditating for the rest of her life, and it's one of the things she looks forward to every day. The practice is also helping her to appreciate things more in her life.
Finding Confidence and Blossoming Again
Nicki also found that the classes on GetSetUp were a great way to connect with other like-minded people who were going through similar experiences. Nicki is grateful for the opportunity to take the classes on GetSetUp and for the support and guidance of the Guides.
"I think I really found myself again with all the classes with GetSetUp. I have blossomed, and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to take wonderful classes and meet wonderful people from across the world," she said.
Nicki thinks that virtual classes are a lot easier for the majority of people.
"Being virtual gives people the opportunity to be more open and be more themselves."
It also allows them to choose not to be on camera if they want, but she finds it nice to meet other people and see them smiling and talking in class. She felt like it was almost like being in person in some of the classes.
"The Guides make the class. The more expertise and hands-on experience they have had, the more they really draw you into what they are teaching you."
She was really inspired by Guide Russ's classes on Walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain; the pilgrimage to the Santiago de Compostela. So much so that when she had the opportunity to visit her granddaughter in Ovieda, Spain, she jumped at the chance. While she didn't walk the Camino, the family was able to visit some of the landmarks on the walk, and tour the Cathedral, Santiago de Compostela.
Nicki enjoys filling her calendar each week with diverse classes that help her stay positive and keep her mind active.
“It's just exciting to learn something new every day, which is very fulfilling!” And I am happy and very grateful that all of this has brought balance back into my life!"