Normally at this time of year I’d be writing about how to prepare for the onslaught of Christmas parties and the lack of time for exercise.  But let’s face it, there has been no ‘normal’ through 2020, and who knows what this winter will bring!  I can hazard a guess that with the rule of 6 (applicable at the time of writing) traditional office parties won’t be going ahead, and I have a suspicion that health and wellness will become more of a priority for many.

So let’s take a little look at what that actually means:  What does focussing on your health and wellbeing look like?

When women come to work with me, be that 1-1 or in a group setting, the most common reason for joining used to be “to get fitter”.  Nowadays there has been a shift.  These women tell me that they are here to feel better mentally, and that the likely side effect of losing a few pounds is a bonus.  We’ve long known that exercise is a mood stabiliser, but it goes far beyond that lovely release of endorphins after training.

Clearly there’s also a sense of satisfaction in noticing the effects of exercise:  Improved strength, changes to body shape, reduced aches and pains.  But one of the greatest benefits is that of community, and a sense of belonging. Feeling connected to others is so important, now more so than ever!  With a return to some face to face sessions over the past couple of months, it has been lovely to see people again, and to be able to have banter throughout a class.  We’ve laughed as I got plagued by daddy long legs, and discussed the best waterproof clothing whilst complaining about our soggy bottoms during a downpour (outdoor exercise is great fun, honest)!

And while we might all feel a bit Zoomed-out (surely that’s in the OED by now?) I think the online days are here to stay, if only in part, and that’s no bad thing.  Because something magic happens when people come together on screen.  You see, we all get to know each other a little better when we get a peek into each other’s home lives.  Those little interruptions from other family members or four-legged friends give us something to chuckle about and bring us together.  They make us all real people.

Finding out that somebody has the same curtains as you is a connection.  Seeing another person’s child is as awake as yours at 8pm is a connection.

Even bemoaning patchy internet signal is a connection.

Granted too much screen time is a bad thing, and of course we don’t want to get too comfortable with not having to leave the house.  Real, human connections are vital.  But let’s not overlook the benefits of being able to do a live workout from home:  Women who have long since left Cambridge pop up on my screen from all over the world every Thursday morning, those having to isolate can still train, and people save time on travelling to and from their sessions.

I was really against moving a very hands on business to online, but I’m so glad I did.  When we were locked down, it was as much a tonic for me as it was for my clients to see each other.  And as we have emerged, we’ve all felt the joy and the energy of being able to move together in person.  Who knows what the next couple of months will bring.  But I urge you to keep showing up, be that online or face to face. Because that community has proven to be so powerful during a time that has been so difficult.