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“Morning Wiggles” Dance-Based Mental Health Movement Creates Small Moments of Joy Amid Global Pandemic

By: Katy Brennan As COVID-19 spreads across the world, causing entire nations to stay at home with little to no social interaction, the virus has not prevented moments of joy and connection. For Morning Wiggles, a mental health movement designed to help people grow through tough times by “wiggling” to music they love, their transition […]

Professional physically integrated dancer and chair user Lindy “Oji” Dannelley dances in her chair.
Professional physically integrated dancer and chair user Lindy “Oji” Dannelley dances in her chair.

By: Katy Brennan

As COVID-19 spreads across the world, causing entire nations to stay at home with little to no social interaction, the virus has not prevented moments of joy and connection. For Morning Wiggles, a mental health movement designed to help people grow through tough times by “wiggling” to music they love, their transition to this new normal has proven to be one characterized by community engagement and continued joy. Under current prevention measures, Morning Wiggles has sparked a global movement of people sharing videos of themselves dancing at home to improve their mental health, which they post to their Instagram account.

For many of us, whose daily routines have been completely uprooted by the pandemic, it can be difficult to establish a routine at home. Career Coach Stephanie Thoma shared how Morning Wiggles can truly help people in that transition.

“Morning Wiggles is an antidote to the aftermath of job loss. When people lose their jobs, it can be harder than ever to get out of bed in the morning,” Thoma said. “The daily commitment to wiggling first thing in the AM is accessible to a variety of fitness levels, and also a source of lighthearted fun that we need right now.”

In addition to providing normalcy, many wigglers have shared that participating in Morning Wiggles through posting videos to their social media has led to new connections and a sense of community.

“I had been challenged to record a Morning Wiggles video. I’ve always been a bit self conscious about video, and I’d never be the type to share one of me dancing, but I was up for the challenge. I picked a song I loved and shared!” Tiffany Yu, Diversability’s Founder and CEO, shared. “It not only helped release some of that anxious energy but it also allowed me to reconnect with so many friends who responded to the video. I even got my friend D-Cal to join me as a wiggler the next day and share a video. Love that we can connect through dance.”

Any individual with access to social media can participate in Morning Wiggles’ activities and video challenges. People of all ages, abilities, geographical regions, and more have participated in these dance sessions, often sharing how empowering it is to connect with others around the world despite staying at home.

Professional physically integrated dancer and chair user Lindy “Oji” Dannelley explained she loves Morning Wiggles because, “Dancing is a release of the spirit and Morning Wiggles just shows that ANY BODY can do it.”

Silja Björk Björnsdóttir, a Writer, Podcaster, and Icelandic Mental Health Advocate, mirrored Dannelley’s praise for Morning Wiggles, sharing how she participates with her young son.

“My son is 18 months old and he loves to dance. I’ve never been much of a dancer except after a couple of drinks in a dimly lit club. When I first heard about Morning Wiggles I thought it was cool, since I am always open to positive ways to deal with mental health but I thought it wasn’t for me. But these past mornings amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, terrible news and collective anxiety around the world I thought I’d give it a go, since it makes my son so happy,” Björk Björnsdóttir shared. “My son has no idea how the world is changing around him, he just loves these extra moments in the morning when he gets to dance around with his mom. That to me is special, the childlike joy and wonder, and I am so happy that he and Morning Wiggles have taught me to let go and get wiggling!”

As restrictions begin to lift in some regions of the world, Morning Wiggles hopes that people will continue to wiggle. Whether that be at their future in-person events when gatherings are safe again, or online for areas still staying at home, they hope these small moments of joy continue beyond the pandemic and become a part of everyday life.


Interested in trying out Morning Wiggles for yourself? Follow them on Instagram and Facebook, and tune in for wiggle sessions, or nominate a friend to one of their Instagram challenges.

Information for this article was provided by Morning Wiggles Founder, Lilly Wang.

Originally published at www.mydiversability.com

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