Calmer due to Lockdown By Claire Cole from Movement For Mums


During lockdown I’m one of maybe the few who is much calmer in lock down than in normal life, we haven’t really gone without anything apart from hand soap for a few days so we have to take a moment to stop and realise how lucky we are.  I think the biggest adjustment in lockdown for me has been being a fulltime mum and trying to run a business whilst moving house, I gave up my Corporate career at the end of last year to launch Movement for Mums

Movement for mums

In December before we were properly hit with Corona virus I launched a home workout live streaming platform focused on the mental health benefits of fitness for mum’s.  This was in response to me being a working mum with no time, energy or headspace to find time for me, no support for me when I went back to work either mentally or physically when my second son was 6 months old and my mental health taking a bit of a battering over the past few years. 

I launched my business because I wanted to help mum’s like me find an easy fun way to fit in some mood boosting movement to their busy lives that doesn’t cost very much money, that doesn’t need lots of space or equipment and can be done live with me for motivation.  Suddenly Corona and lockdown hit us and you can no longer turn a virtual corner without being bombarded by live and virtual workouts so it’s all gone a bit crazy but I have been lucky to partner with Mush Mums. Sweaty Betty and Maternal Mental Health charities to help promote the mental health benefits of exercise in recent weeks. 

In some ways I have enjoyed lockdown, it’s made us live simpler lives and I definitely feel the pressure as a mum to constantly be signing my kids up for activities and to be constantly doing things whereas we have enjoyed time together at home baking, playing board games and watching films together.  I can’t lie the home schooling has been tough for us all and I definitely won’t miss it but I’ve connected with my children in a way that I hadn’t previously when I was working fulltime in the Corporate world and I appreciate what lockdown has done for us as a family in that respect. 

So I guess lockdown suits me, I feel calmer, less pressured and actually re-connected to the simpler activities of life which in turn has reduced my anxiety.  Maybe it’s in part due to the daily live streaming home workouts that has kept me sane, after all exercise is a powerful mental workout for you mind, not just your body.  Now more than ever we are having to think differently about how we exercise.

Fitness and mental health go hand in hand, not only does exercise support our physical strength but it also plays a hugely important role in the strength of our minds.  We all know that post workout feeling, those happy neurotransmitters popping away in our brains giving us a big dose of feel good.  I like to think that a workout is as addictive as a Netflix binge with a Friday night takeaway!

As a working mum with more than 20 years of experience in a high powered and high-pressured corporate environment, I’m now on a single-minded mission to inspire women to find a way to incorporate movement into their daily life.  Understanding first-hand the struggle of balancing a career and family life helps me relate to the challenges faced by my clients.

Movement for Mums isn’t just about physical movement, it’s a collective ideology, a group of mum’s juggling the kids, husband’s and boss’s demands with little or no time for themselves.  It’s about finding a way to fit intuitive movement into their lives, it’s about us feeling like we can take on the world and win! I think stress and anxiety do more damage to our bodies than chocolate, finding the time, money and energy to workout is a challenge though for most mum’s. 

Yes go smash that HITT workout if you wake up with a ton of energy but on the flip side try some gentle stretching if you wake up with the energy of a tortoise, listen to your body and start to think about all movement as equal.  When you do, you will become positively addicted to intuitive movement that supports your mental health.

“Do something you love, do something that makes you feel good and do it little and often”, is my mantra.  My workouts are focused on bodyweight, no equipment, no fancy schmancy gyms, no leaving the house, you can wear what you want, fit it around the kids and the never ending to do list.

Fitness has always been a part of my mental health healing journey, I was agoraphobic in my 20s and I later went on to suffer with what I now think was the verge of postnatal psychosis after the birth of my first child in my 30s.  I always reflect on that time with sadness, scared of the thoughts in my head, scared of being a bad mother, scared of judgement, I felt like I was locked inside fear. I was surrounded by people, but it was the loneliest time of my life and I think there are other mum’s who feel like I did but are too scared and ashamed to admit that we need support.  Today I finally feel that society is changing its attitude towards mental illness and there is now more support than ever, but I still don’t think we focus enough on the relationship between our physical and mental health.  My healing journey has always featured fitness, so it felt completely natural to take my Corporate skills coupled with my fitness and well-being knowledge to deliver motivational live home workouts to other mum’s like me that comes from the heart.

When I was in my early 20s, I had a spell where I was agoraphobic and I turned to my GP for help who prescribed a very effective anti-depressant.   A year later and feeling recovered I decided to stop taking Paroxetine but unknown to me at the time, Panorama were investigating the advice surrounding the drug and the high number of suicides that were taking place during withdrawal from the drug. 

Hospitalised whilst in New York on holiday during the withdrawal from the drug and shot in the arm with a syringe of Paroxetine when it became clear the feelings I was having was down to the withdrawal effects of the drug, I remember feeling scared and trapped, like the world was closing in again and I vowed to myself that I would try not to take another anti-depressant again. 

Smoking 40 a day in my 20’s, I managed to replace my nicotine addiction with exercise and gradually started to recover my mental strength.  Fast forward to 2013 and the birth of my first son and I soon realised that what I was feeling wasn’t just the baby blues. 

12 weeks in with a baby I was struggling to bond with and terrifying thoughts in my head, I realised that I could no longer hide my post natal depression from my family and it was at this moment that my husband sent me back to the gym to give me some “me” time.  Reluctant to take anti-depressants due to my experience in my 20s I found my mental strength begin to return alongside my physical strength and it was then that I decided that I wanted to be the lighthouse for other mum’s who felt like I did and so Movement for Mums was born.

So lockdown I like you, I like the calmness and the slower pace of life you have brought to my life.