A couple of weeks ago I was flying back from Lisbon after completing the Lisbon Half Marathon which was the hottest race I’d ever done. I’d left checking in until late and ended up with a middle seat. Once on board the lady in the window seat asked me if I’d like her seat so she could sit next to her husband after having booked seats apart.
No problem for me and after being delayed taking off, once airborne I fell asleep with my head resting on the fuselage, shattered after the race and a week of partying and travelling with my running club, London Frontrunners.
When I woke up a bag of crisps and a bottle of water had been put in the seat pocket and I turned to the lady beside me to thank her and we started talking.
I always love travel conversations with strangers where more often gets shared then with people you’ve known for years. After the usuals of “What have you being doing in Portugal?” and hearing that I’d been in a half marathon, our conversation turned to health and fitness. Nicky likes to keep fit though has found it increasingly difficult since beginning the menopause a year ago and her e nergy levels being far below what they had used to be.
Years ago I’d been the only man on an osteoporosis course which included lots of information about the menopause and I had the feeling Nicky was very happy to share and also have another perspective. Some of her ‘symptoms’ were unlike others I’d heard mentioned before.
Then it was our careers and we discovered we are both coaches. Unlike my focus on mind and body coaching for men, her’s focuses on women and helping them overcome challenges they encountered in their careers and in life. She explained that many had been struggling during and and after with the impacts of the pandemic.
Asking if she felt the pandemic may have had an impact on her experiences of of the menopause Nicky hadn’t considered it and in that moment I suddenly realised that some people, maybe more than are aware, who feel that they have come through the pandemic unscathed probably haven’t. Everyone was impacted and, though it will differ from person to person and we all have strengths and weaknesses and our levels of resilience vary, no one was immune. No one is immune.
I’ve got friends who are struggling to get back into their regular exercise programmes or find they can’t muster the enthusiasm for socialising when these were significant parts of their lives they loved. Travelling to see friends and holidays is something they want to do yet they find they can’t be bothered to even commit to planning a long weekend let alone a fortnight in Spain!
Research shows the changes in the way we are living our lives as being widespread and a recent long term study by UCL in London has shown that the social ramifications of the pandemic have had a major impact on our mental health and well-being.
What’s great about knowing that everyone has been impacted? With awareness comes power and the opportunity to be kind both to ourselves and others. Instead of berating our lack of energy, drive or commitment, or find we are less organised and on top of things, than we were in pre-pandemic times we can be more compassionate and patient towards everyone. We can be gentler and softer in the way we live our lives and that sounds like a wonderful way to approach life after the last two years.
I may never see Nicky again though I’d like to think she is kinder to herself after our flight together. She certainly helped me be kinder to me.
Till next time…
Enjoy the day you create.