A whole new You?

Notes to Strangers - Build yourself bit by bit

There is nothing ‘normal’ about what some people insist on calling the ‘new normal’. Yes, we’re adapting to living in unfamiliar circumstances – with varying degrees of success on any particular day – but we need to make sure that this is not at the expense of our physical or mental health.

When we’re feeling strong it is relatively easy to recognise that it’s ridiculous to believe that we should all be coming out of lockdown with a business idea, side hustle or new skill. But when we’re tired or not at our best it’s easy to berate ourselves for not ‘making the most of the situation’, to imagine that we’re feckless and simply need to try harder, to apply ourselves better.

Launching my website during a pandemic I’m aware of the tension between encouraging and supporting people to exercise and giving them yet another stick to beat themselves with. Countless studies have shown the positive impact that exercise has on both physical and mental health and exercise is even one of the permitted reasons* for leaving our homes. However, exercise can become another of those things that we feel bad about. We’ve won back the hours that we usually spend commuting so why aren’t we fitting in that early morning class that we always complain that we don’t have time for?

The trouble is that we’ve become so focused on the need to ‘get things done’ that we often lose sight of the fact that there can be joy in the actual doing. Exercise becomes something that we need to tick-off each day rather than something to be enjoyed. Two of the principles that Joseph Pilates saw as key to Contrology (his name for Pilates) were Concentration and Relaxation. These principles help to remind us of the importance of being in the current moment rather than just rushing to tick another thing off our to-do list. I believe that movement should be fun and I’m passionate about getting everybody moving. It’s great to set SMART goals but let’s also try to enjoy the journey.

Here’s to building ourselves ‘bit-by-bit’!


*UK Government Guidance April 2020