Jana Mahusay is taking care of her mental health by resorting to activities that ease her emotions and express herself
By Nicole Ganglani | Graphic by Tricia Guevara | Photos courtesy of Jana Mahusay
Before the coronavirus pandemic hit the Philippines, a typical day for Jana Mahusay was often spent in a dance studio where she taught choreographies for Zero Studio PH and instructed group workouts for 808 Studio and Rise Nation PH. But after the implementation of the quarantine, Mahusay had no choice but to turn to social media.
“The pandemic has definitely affected not only me, but everyone in my line of work. All my dancing and fitness classes are group-based and require you to be in a studio so not being allowed to be with people was definitely a sudden change for everyone. We had to quickly adjust to the digital world and [hold] our classes online,” says Mahusay.
But the transition to holding online classes wasn’t a huge problem for Mahusay. She points out that working out indoors actually encouraged some people to participate in her classes because not only do they get to do it in the comforts of their home but also without the fear of being judged.
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THIS HAS BEEN THE DANCE BREAK OF MY DREAMS SINCE I WAS IN 5TH GRADE 😭 🖤 . 12 year old me would neva eva believe u if u told her she’d learn this @pussycatdolls number by @robinantin herself. I still remember dancing & DREAMIN in my room & at school that I was a pussycat doll. Yup, at 12 yrs old 🤣 THIS MAKES ME SO DAMN HAPPY! #PCDFOREVER 😭❤️ 👅 hope I made u proud, baby Jana! . . 🧠: @robinantin @mikeyminden 🎵: #BUTTONS – PCD #dance #dancer #philippines #manilaphilippines #onlineclasses 🇵🇭 #buttonsdancebreak .
“Fitness and dance really contribute to the wellness of people, so we’re very fortunate that our situation now has not taken away that desire from people to dance and get moving,” says Mahusay. “As much as we love our studios and the idea of human interaction, the bright side is that we’re able to reach such a wide audience by offering our services online,” says the 25-year-old A-team varsity member.
True enough, Mahusay’s digital platforms, specifically Instagram and Twitter, are a blessing for her fans, followers and even casual dancers around the world—who are often treated to her dazzling choreographies. But the benefits are mutual.
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boy, one taste of what I got, I'll have you spendin' all you got 👅🍭 #CANDYSHOP – @50cent ❌ Choreography by myself! My first ever class at our new home @zerostudioph & I couldn't ask for a better space and better students! TIME TO PLAY 😈 . . . 📸: @ddgprod #50cent #candyshop #dance #candyshopchoreography #danceclass #choreography #zerostudio
“I’m just constantly trying to better myself and my craft. Apart from dancing and fitness, other things that have been keeping me occupied are cooking with my mom, spending time with my family, meditating and TikTok-ing. I’m trying my best to take care of myself mentally and emotionally to bring some joy in my life. I think it’s so important as well to find time to cultivate gratitude during this time,” says Mahusay.
Working on wellness during quarantine
But even Mahusay admits that the pandemic has affected her mental health as well. Being in self-isolation and having to adjust to what people say is now the “new normal” has left her with feelings of uncertainty, insecurity and loss of control. One way she is processing these negative feelings is by resorting to activities where she can express her emotions and herself.
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when i tell u a bish was STRRRRUUUGLIN with this piece… I MEAN DAT ISH 😩 but love it so much nonetheless @albeentoots thank you so much for this boo!! 💘 you’re such a star! . . 🧠: @albeentoots 🎵: A-Star – Balaya learned this from @upeepz ‘s #peepteenminuteclasses! I really love what you guys are doing for our front liners, thank u!! ❤️🙏🏼 #onlinedanceclass #dance #dancer #loveinquarantine #choreography #zerostudioph #ateamph
“Aside from dance, I turn to meditation and journaling to better my mental health. I meditate somewhere between five to 20 minutes daily. Just whatever amount I feel like for the day since I don’t like to put so much pressure on myself. I journal because it helps me make sense of emotions during this time,” says Mahusay.
It also doesn’t help that the future of gyms and fitness studios remains unclear even after the coronavirus pandemic subsides. Mahusay says that the thought of this terrifies not only her but also other instructors who work both full-time and part-time. This has forced her to really sit down, take a breather and assess her game plan for the future.
“Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, I feel like people including [myself] were always thinking about ourselves. It was always ‘me, me, me,’ and what we can take solely for ourselves. I just think this has been an opportunity for many to pause and think ‘What can I share to the world? What can I give? How can I give it to others? How can I give it to others?’” explains Mahusay.
These uncertain times have taught Mahusay to take it easy on herself and reflect on what she truly wants to do—which is use her talent to uplift people around her.
“I do acknowledge that I’m in a position of privilege. What I’m trying to say is that although times have definitely been rough, this has also given me the opportunity to slow down, reflect and feel grateful for what I have.”
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