Fit & Fearless for 2021

Now is not the time for business advice. Now is the time to group together, turn to your tribe and, huddle. Take a moment to acknowledge that it’s fine not to have grand plans, to put that 3-5 year business plan on pause, to stop searching for that new career. It’s simply ok to put one foot in front of the other. 


So how do we make those steps?


Sistr turned to Tonia Buxton (Author & Nutrition Expert), Chloe Madeley (Fitness Expert), and Emma Kenny (Psychologist) to offer up some advice on how best to tackle life in this current climate. 


We’re in January, historically the month that is ‘blue’. January 2021 is certainly looking the deepest shade of blue for many. The good faith we had that we were existing within a controlled, planned timeline has been shattered. Emma Kenny refers to a timeframe. When you can hold yourself accountable against that timeframe and, trust that timeframe knowing what you’re facing and how you can navigate it, it’s possible to feel in control. 


Now we’re back where we began with no timeframe, it challenges our vulnerability. How vulnerable do we feel in the world around us? How vulnerable do we feel in the country we’re living in and the implications on our future? How vulnerable do we feel about our children? In our relationships? Add to that the fact there isn’t a way forward, mental health has propelled itself to the forefront.


We’re all feeling exhausted, possibly depressed and, ridden with anxiety. You’re not any of those things. You are burnt out. Emma refers to it as compassion fatigue. It’s the equivalent of being in war but you can’t fight anyone. In war, you can go out and fight the enemy. We’re currently existing in a battle that we have no ability to confront the enemy. It is more important than ever now to decompress and decontaminate yourself from the battlefield. 


Situations are incomparable at the moment. Everyone has unique situations both personally and professionally and it’s easy to feel that we are not worthy of ‘complaining’ and that we’re not entitled to say ‘this is hard’. However, everyone has a subjective struggle. It’s not a competition because someone else is having a worse time. You’ve got to be accepting of your pain, and from that, you can process it.  


Here are some tips from our experts on how to tackle anxiety and process the current situation we’re living in. 


Emma Kenny speaks about how to balance our behaviour and anxiety. 


  1. Turn to mindful practice, allow some solitude. Allow yourself to be peaceful. Look at your kids and realise what you’ve created. Practice gratitude. Acknowledge moods and that it’s fine to fluctuate across different moods. Find your tribes, albeit virtually, find others who you can relate to.


  1. Practice not catastrophising. Realise that life is somewhat out of your control at the moment. It won’t be forever, but for the moment, scale back your expectations. Turn to a distraction technique which can be as simple as finding objects that start with a certain letter of the alphabet. It creates a cognition and distraction. 


  1. Dispute and argue with yourself. If you’re sitting there thinking your company is going to fail or, you’re going to lose your job, argue against it. Firstly, tell yourself that if that did happen it can be turned into a positive – from failure comes some of life’s greatest lessons. Secondly, have words with yourself, why should it fail? Why should you fail?


Chloe Madeley offers some tips on using fitness to tackle life in the current climate and how fitness can play a part in our wellbeing.


  1. Start your day with an immediate goal. If you exercise first thing in the morning you achieve a goal before the day has technically started. It shifts your mindset mentally into a positive space – you have achieved a goal and that is to be hugely applauded. You feel like you’ve made an effort and, in doing so, you’re more likely to make decisions based on positive thinking as you’re in a space of self-belief. You have created a momentum that will carry you into the day. 


  1. Train as a group on Zoom. It makes you accountable. You feel like you are there as part of a team, despite being online you will feel bonded, connected and, that a sense of community exists. You see everyone operating within a positive environment and that can only have a positive impact on you. If you’re juggling kids and work, accept that a part of the day can be about you. You can find experts within their field who tailor to specific fitness preferences be it resistance training (chat to Chloe), classes based around outdoor fitness (companies such as One Element), dance classes (have a boogie with the Strictly stars such as Oti Mabuse), the fitness industry is thriving now with so many options available online.


  1. Change small factors that can trigger anxiety. Actions such as cutting out alcohol, putting your phone down at 6.30 pm every night, not watching the news – small changes can have such a huge impact.


Tonia Buxton offers some ideas on natural solutions to tackle your mindset.


  1. Have an Ice bath. Every morning jump into an ice bath or lake. Cold showers, ice swims, ice baths have grown in popularity during the last 12 months and the benefits are widely publicised. Wim Hof, also known as The Iceman is noted for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures. Setting Guinness World Records for swimming under ice and prolonged body contact with ice, he attributes this to his Wim Hof Method. The method combines cold exposure, breathing techniques, and meditation and is definitely worth a read. 


  1. Submerge your face in a sink of water and blow bubbles. Yes, you heard it! Fill the sink up, submerge your face under the water and, blow bubbles. Is there psychology around this method? No, not at the moment! It’s just what Tonia does! However, she refers to it being hugely calming, your body is technically acknowledging that you’re not drowning and you are in control.


  1. Smell a grounding smell and embrace turmeric. Find a trigger smell that calms you down. It could be mint, rosemary, coffee – if you find yourself spiraling, smell your ‘grounding smell’ and it’ll centre you.  Tonia endorses the addition to turmeric to your diet everyday, either as a raw shot or pop it in a latte! 


Diet is such a huge area in terms of suggestions, benefits, ideas that we’ll throw a whole separate blog your way of tips and facts.


However you tackle life at the moment, allow yourself a moment to listen to your emotions and own your worries. It is FINE to say you’re struggling, mental health is being internalised at the moment and until you vocalise your fears, you cannot process the emotion. 


Whatever method you use to alleviate anxiety, own it, embrace it and follow it through. Motivate yourself to do something that makes you feel awkward. Call on your authentic self to express your feelings clearly and reach out to your community, your tribe, your backbone.