How does an avid outdoor enthusiast cope with lockdown, we reached out to our brand ambassadors and asked them how they deal with the restrictions on getting out.
This week we hear from Jo Moseley, paddleboarder & outdoors enthusiast how she is finding this new way of life.
How are you finding lockdown Jo?
First of all, I realise how very fortunate I am to be spending this time the way I am. I am able to work from home thanks to my Directors, my youngest son is back with me from university and I live in the countryside, with a shop in walking distance and fantastic neighbours. We don’t have a garden, just a postage stamp of a backyard, but we do have lovely walks right on our doorstep.
I know how lucky I am. In fact the first & last thing I do each day is acknowledge this good fortune and my gratitude. I am indebted to my neighbours who I hear leaving the house to work in the NHS looking after everyone. I’m in awe of them. It’s quite emotional doing the #ClapForTheNHS on our little road.
You gain a huge amount from being outdoors and especially near the sea or canal on your paddleboard. How are you able to be active indoors and in the fresh air at the moment?
My son is home from his first year at university and he and I take a walk each day together. We did this during his GCSE and A level revision so there is a sense of familiarity and reassurance. We can get to the fields, woods and reservoir within minutes so that’s wonderful. We have also seen spring burst into life – the blossom, daffodils and lambs are a comforting reminder that nature is carrying on regardless. I’ve taken photos of a beautiful magnolia tree as the buds unfurl each day.
I have a very old indoor rowing machine that I bought from my colleague for £25 a few years ago. I can pull that into the back yard and row in the sun too. We also have some old dumbbells that I use with Insta workouts from Alice Liveing & Tally Rye. I have Tally’s book ‘Train Happy’ which has great workouts using dumbbells or simply your own body weight.
Of course, there are also the kitchen and bedroom discos – Dolly Parton always lifts me!
My hydro jog and aqua fit classes are obviously cancelled but I am practising new routines to teach when the leisure centre opens again. I miss my class and teaching so much.
I am a naturally anxious person and when anxiety and fear begins to build, it feels as though my legs turn to concrete and root me to the spot. Any form of movement or exercise helps hugely so for me that’s an important part of my day. I’ve just started a challenge to do 1,000 steps up and down daily and if you do it for a month, you will have climbed the height of Everest. I am not so fussed about reaching the summit but simply doing a 1,000 steps indoors will definitely ease my anxiety! It’s on Twitter @everestinamonth.
Sometimes to feel close to nature I just sit in my bedroom with the window open and listen to the birdsong. I’ve been recommended an App called GetWarbler that I’m going to use to try and identify the birds.
Last year you paddleboarded coast to coast along the canals and were the first woman to complete the 162 mile crossing. Do you think you learned anything from the challenge that is helping you adapt to this situation?
Yes I do! First and foremost, as I said, gratitude and knowing how very fortunate I am to be safe and well and knowing my family are – thus far, ok too.
Routine: I also think settling into a simple routine has helped, focussing on what matters now and what we can do for our physical, mental & emotional wellbeing. On the canal it was paddle, eat, sleep, pick up litter & repeat. Today it’s work, eat, sleep, move, check friends and family are well, say thank you and repeat.
My routine also includes simple things such as: making soup, baking, eating together, getting dressed in the morning (the first week I was in pjs at lunch and I’m not sure I brushed my hair much!), going to bed at my normal time, reading, drinking water & not just endless cups of tea, texting neighbours to see if I can shop for them. I find routine very comforting.
Accepting what is: As they have for so many people, a number of exciting projects & events I was looking forward to were cancelled. I was sad & disappointed of course and allowed myself to be so. I realised though that it was healthier for me to simply ‘let it go.’ Living with what is helps me focus on what I can do rather than forever harking back to what might have been. For example, I was due to go to the screening & awards night for the Four Seasons Film Festival in London. Both were cancelled & I later found out my film Found At Sea had won the OneMinuteAdventures award. It was a lovely surprise! I would have loved to be there but of course, the best thing for the country is that it was cancelled. For the festival organisers it must have been a huge hit and yet they handled everything so brilliantly & with great thought.
Breaking things down into manageable chunks & focussing on the next step: I learned this from my early days as a single Mum – just do the next right thing to look after myself and my family, keep on top of my work and home. None of us know what the future may hold but I can look after us today and then tomorrow and the next day.
Focussing on what I can control helps rather than allow my normally anxious mind to worry about different disaster scenarios.
Things I can control: screen time, where and how often I get my news, social media scrolling & consumption, moving, bedtime, water intake, keeping in touch with people I care about, reading to switch off my brain, TV shows I find uplifting & relaxing, what I write and create. Being kind to myself, my family, friends and neighbours. Staying home and following the rules we’ve been asked to adhere to.
Lockdown isn’t a competition & not comparing myself to others: Along with all of the above in terms of self care, another important aspect is being clear that lockdown is not a competition and not comparing my situation with others. There are lots of people on social media sharing marathons in their back garden, amazing musical talents or launching a brand new business. Some people are suggesting they use this time to get ’summer body ready’ or they will finally write that novel.
This reminds me of the Alastair Humphreys’ Night Of Adventure which is now being held in September in London. Some of the speakers have climbed Everest several times, others cycled round the world or lived on desert islands. Alastair was very clear that each speaker had something unique and special to offer and not to compare the magnitude of their adventures to my own.
I am doing the same now. I am in awe of people’s creativity and energy & genuinely well done to them, but it’s not a competition to be the most productive or leave lockdown in the best physical shape you’ve ever been in. I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way to deal with how we are living right now and it’s important to do what works for us and our families so that we can stay home, stay well, look after the people we love and do the right thing by the community and country.
How else are you getting your outdoors fix inside?
I am taking the time to read more as I find it so calming and can take me around the world from the comfort of my armchair or bed. These are the books I have read recently, am reading or am about to start. See photo! There are lots of lovely podcasts too – The Tough Girl Challenge by Sarah Williams, Alastair Humphreys’ Living Adventurously and The Outdoors Fix by Liv Bolton are super.
You wore your FINDRA a lot on the canals. Are you still able to wear FINDRA indoors?
That’s such a good question as I have lived in FINDRA – except for the early days when I was living in my pyjamas! It might sound silly but I find wool really comforting. It’s also brilliant as I rarely have to wash merino wool. I leave it to air & it’s fresh the next day. I think I might have to order some new leggings tho in a different colour. They are fantastic for working from home as I can move around the house with my iPhone in one pocket and my specs in the other – that's such a handy feature!
You talk a lot about finding joy and cherishing your moments outdoors on your adventures, are you still doing that?
Oh yes, even more so! I take photos of the blossom and lambs so I can remind myself of spring. I also send videos of the birds singing to my friends across the world so we can share that joy. And obviously there are indoor moments to treasure too – my son’s excellent banana bread and being spirited away to Alaska reading a book.
What will be the first outdoors activity you will do once lockdown is over?
If it is a weekday, I will take my paddleboard to the canal after work and pootle along, looking at spring from the water.
If it is a weekend, my son and I will go straight to the coast to see my Dad. I usually see him every 2-3 weeks so this has been one of the hardest but understandable aspects of the quarantine. I’ll take my paddle boards and go out on the sea, or bodyboarding or swimming with my fins, and then go for a long walk and #2MinuteBeachClean. I dream of this moment every day! My Dad, the sea, collecting litter on the beach . . . honestly, that’s heaven.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Jo. Keep safe and well.