'Move With Us' Jo's story

Jo Halliday (Headteacher in West Berkshire)

I went into lockdown working very long hours and fitting my "life" around those hours.

Someone had given me a book before lockdown called" High Performance Habits" which I was looking forward to reading as I thought it would help me be more efficient and get more out of those hours I was working. The book did not disappoint, but in a completely unexpected way. If anything the book is about treating yourself really well in order to get the very best from yourself, and it could not have come at a better time for me.

There is one chapter called "Generating Energy" which is about generating your own energy and for me that is about my mindset, the food I eat, the amount of sleep (I now know) I need to get, and most importantly, physical activity.

So during lockdown I have tried different approaches including - something I never thought of as being "OK" - an exercise bike!

This came about at the same time as the Youth Sport Trust 2.6 challenge, so I figured that 26 minutes on an exercise bike watching the news or listening to a podcast at 6.15am, was gold dust compared with lying in bed scrolling through my phone "waiting" to get up. I worked out that I need to really set my intention and not leave it to chance - so putting my kit out the night before (removing the mental barriers!) was a really important act, alongside writing it in my diary as an appointment with myself!

If I was going to be short of time - then 20 minutes was fine; physical activity for a short time is definitely better than no physical activity.

As a Headteacher I have been going into work quite a lot during lockdown, so what I have learned is that if I don't set out my intention to exercise, and I leave it to chance, then something else more "urgent" will get in the way.

Starting the day knowing that you have been physically active makes the whole morning seem different. Walking has also been a great leveler for me at the end of a long day, but I know we've been really lucky with the weather since lockdown began.

I don't know how I will get on in the Winter, as the sunshine is really important to me and I may need to adapt my approach and find different ways of "connecting" with the great outdoors through Monday to Friday when I leave for work in the dark and get home in the dark. I may well also turn my attention to weights in the darker months!

But I hope just by sharing this, that it is another way of holding myself to account to make it so! Sharing your goals is so important when you are trying to develop good habits, as everyone needs cheerleaders to encourage them, so share your goals with people you trust when you are developing good and new habits, set your intention, remove the barriers (excuses!) and get going!

Jo Halliday

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