How do you go about finding your motivation and positivity? What kept you motivated in lockdown and what will your positivity plan be as we change to some tighter measures this autumn?

I am so fortunate that I get to meet with and see the Insta photos of some awesome people here that find their drive in life. They don’t own Ferrari sports cars, or work for big London companies to make them smile. They follow their passions in the outdoors and simply get out there. They make connections with friends and start communities of like minded people. They set themselves challenges and achieve incredible things and often just simple things that anyone can do. They pack a sleeping bag and head off to explore the outdoors, even if just for the night. They set their alarms for 5am to squeeze in some fun adventures before work and they don’t even know they inspire me every day without me even having to go to a networking meeting and hear their elevator pitch.

Motivation is different for everyone, but for me it was key during lockdown and always is in life in general. Having something to focus on, kept me positive and hence lockdown for us was a good experience. My view point was pushed to the positive side of life’s changes and trust me, it wasn’t because everything was perfect. We had to shut our business and watched the bookings all cancel over night. I sat on the kitchen floor and cried big fat tears as I heard my mum was ill and none of us could go in to her house to help her with, what we still don’t know if was, the virus or not. (Thankfully she battled through it and is okay.) We even had the discussion of what will happen to us if all the bookings for the whole year cancel – yes we looked at that scary worse case scenario back in March and right now I’m glad we did.

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We do however, have the luxury of wide open hills and stunning lakes and my focus was about swimming further distances to increase my confidence, whilst the lakes were quieter. My motivation was for fresh air and exercise. For many of you it was the trooper that is Joe Wicks every morning. And how many of us made Banana Bread – yes we ate a lot of that and my poor attempts at sourdough bread – another focus.

So we went swimming and in the summer when things opened up more and the Lake District got super busy, we got up early, or headed out late when the crowds had gone in for dinner, to enjoy the feeling of that water flowing as we pushed our swim caps through it. We didn’t make excuses that the lakes got really busy, we just adapted the plan to keep the thing going that helped our mood levels.

That is my biggest learn from this year. Things change and adapting to change makes things easier. Take a look at how many businesses introduced a new way to trade, or how many courses went digital.

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As a result of finding my motivation, my swimming has not necessarily improved, but the mental process in my head has changed dramatically. At the beginning of September I went back to a particular lake to swim across to an island and back just to prove to myself I could do it. It is the further island you can see in the photo and you can just see the orange float of someone else heading that way in one of the photos. It is not that far and I have completed further than this in a pool, but there is something in my head that tells me my front crawl in a lake will let me down. Healthy to have a respect for the water I know, but my little fear monkey is so annoying sometimes. Well I was thrilled to make it and made Damian take a photo for my memories. Memories for me of seeing the sun gleam through the water and light up the air bubbles I was creating underwater. Memories of the sun on my skin even in September. Memories of the beautifully clear water and only a few runners on the landscape around us. What an incredible playground we have here.

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These moments and motivations are what spurs my positivity and I have to remember to find them. Travel always motivates me, but there has not been so much of me getting on a plane recently, so I look to find other things to light that fire instead.

What motivates you?
What do you do to boost that positive side in your life when things get tough? I’d love to hear what you are planning for autumn and winter for yourself.

For me this winter, a group of us have already set ourselves the challenge to join the Polar Bear Challenge that involves swimming 200 meters, twice a month, from November through to March.

https://polarbearchallenges.com

The group are aiming for our first time for the penguin level, but Damian and I are going to try for the polar bear classic level if we can. This is why, early one morning this week before work, we went for a swim without any neoprene to start acclimatising. Start getting used to our bare feet creeping across stones and pebbles to get in to the water, because to be honest that is usually why I wear the swim socks all year round. Yes walking across gravel is harder than dealing with the cold of the water ha ha. Whilst I am still in the glow of summer swimming, I also still have the knowledge of what it is like to try and get dressed after you have got out of the low degree temperatures of winter lakes.

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Why do it? So so so many reasons and different for all of us in the group taking it on. One thing I know is that it is an adventure to focus on with an incredible community of friends (and yes nutters) during the darker winter months when it is all too easy to become sluggish and moan about stuff. So yes, I am putting this out there now as my motivation for the rest of the year. I am committing out loud to something to focus on – eeek! I am going to embrace the cold and unleash my inner polar bear.

We are just confirming a charity to raise money for whilst we do this and it is likely to be a mental health charity as that has been a key struggle for so many this 2020. We will of course keep you up to date on social media and share our chosen charity come November.

Wish us luck.
Joanne x

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