After a pretty intense couple of weeks filming in the Dolomite mountains, I’ve landed back in the UK and headed for home.
The country still feels so quiet and there can be no doubting that the enforced Covid lockdown has been challenging for many families. Yet there is also a sense of quiet that is strangely beautiful. Our small nation island, a non-stop hub of traffic and rushing around and social engagements ever since the Second World War, has taken a moment to breathe for the first time in 75 years.
And despite all the horror of so many bereavements and continued hardships across the country, lockdown has been a time of opportunity for many. My family included.
Over the course of the year, we’ve learned that quiet moments together are a gift. Even simple things like going for a walk outdoors can be transformative for relationships – whether with our children or spouse. Maybe one of 2020’s legacies will be that it reminded us of the value of each other, and how moments of stillness can heal wounds.
I was reminded again last week, when caught in some bad weather high in the mountains, that storms don’t last forever. When they eventually pass, we often see our surroundings with renewed vision and quieter hearts.
Looking back on 2020 I am amazed at how many things have changed so fast. For example, with our ‘Be Military Fit’ business, I see how our teams have adapted from training tens of thousands of people in parks across the UK, to now having brought that outdoor training ethos into the home.
For us as a family, these regular online sessions have become one of the staple parts of our family day during lockdown. They’ve helped to keep us healthy and keep us together.
One of my lockdown fitness interests has been post-workout ice baths. I have an old iron cow trough in the garden attached to a small aquarium chiller via old hose pipes. It works great, keeping the trough at an icy three degrees. The immersion truly shocks the mind and body but is also proven to help our immune systems to stay strong. I call it the trough of resilience. The boys join me in it every now and again, although Shara isn’t yet sold on the whole ice idea.
Do bear in mind though, that cold water is dangerous and you need to be careful, but if you can brave a brief cold bath or shower regularly it really can put a fresh perspective on life, challenges, and the day ahead. They say it keeps you tough inside and out. I like that.
Ultimately my hope as lockdown nears its end is that the best sides of this time might remain with us: that sense of community and family; valuing connection; refusing ever again to take each other and those we love for granted.
And let's take a moment to look around us and be proud of how resilient our nation can be when tested. Because we Brits are really much tougher and kinder than sometimes we give each other credit for.
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