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February 20, 2021
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February 22, 2021

n occasional series in which we look at life under lockdown for the everyday Greystones people determined to keep the show on the road…

This time out, it’s Anne Sexton, who has taken her Pilates studio from Roundwood to that S.O.B. SoBe and now, sunny Kilcoole.

And through it all, the lady has managed to maintain that killer smile. And that sunny disposition.

Over to you, young Anne…

Like many small business owners my day is unrecognizable from this time last year.

I’m a pretty optimistic person but by golly, has this last year has knocked the stuffing out of me. And looking around at the empty eyes behind masked faces, it’s clear I’m not the only one.

We have to stay positive and keep going though, and hope that we will soon come out the other end wiser, stronger and, I reckon, happier.

For years I have gotten up at 5am and gotten myself ready for my first Pilates class of the day at 6am. And last March, at the beginning of the first lockdown, I continued to do just that.

It’s been tough in many respects. I had just moved studios back at the beginning of November 2019 after a bruising 3 and a half years down at SoBe – where we got caught in the crossfire between the warring owners of the property.

Luckily we found somewhere wonderful to move to, getting ourselves up and running in a new studio in Kilcoole. Immediately, we were delighted with ourselves, and our amazing customers – whom had followed us all these years – and once we’d settled, we actually saw an increase in business, and then…

BOOM! Lockdown.

I’m going back a bit because it has affected how things are now for me. Because of the shenanigans in SoBe back in 2019, I had closed down my forward booking system in August which has had a huge impact now because the latter part of 2019 was when Government aid, etc. were based on, so, I fell through the cracks. Which means I have had to dig deep in every way to survive. But with a good country upbringing on a small farm in Cavan, I know how to dig deep when the going gets tough!

My home is like many homes across the country, it is also a school/college/office. My son is in first year in college and the dining room is now his college hall, whilst my daughter, in the first year of her Masters in Higher Education – gets to teach during the day and then college in the evening. My studio is closed and I am teaching some classes online. To give my son and daughter the space for their education I go to the studio. Also, to try and keep things normal as can be.

My typical day at the moment goes something like this…

6.30am I get up, I practice some selfcare – which is essential for me to help stay well. This starts with some deep nasal breathing and Pilates. I love the original 34 exercises by Joseph Pilates and this is my usual start, done and dusted in 35 minutes and it leaves me feeling energized and ready for the day ahead.

We practice nasal breathing during our classes too; it’s so good, activating the part of the nervous system that supports rest, recovery and digestion rather than the fight or flight survival mode that this pandemic has thrown us all into. Nasal breathing calms you down, and helps deliver oxygen much more efficiently to our bodies.

7.45am Showered and dressed and then my usual lockdown thing – bake bread. We are a gluten-free household for health reasons (not by choice!), so, lovely porridge oats, gluten-free bread and just recently, a lovely seeded bread courtesy of Caroline Seale. I’m definitely going to make time for making my own bread after lockdown; the smell of the bread baking in the mornings is so therapeutic it takes me right back to childhood and my mum’s kitchen every morning!

8am I make our gut-healing breakfast smoothie, take my supplements – which always contains vitamin D – and then read the news headlines. If I feel up to it.

Most mornings I go for a walk with our little dog, Ruby, up Bray head. Then I head over to the studio and do some working out on the Reformer, which I miss teaching so much. I’ll hang out of the trapeze and just play for a while.

It makes me quite sad, looking at all this amazing equipment sitting idle when I know how much people are missing the benefits of it. After the last lockdown, it was shocking to witness the decline of some people’s overall movement and wellbeing. A lot of my clients have been with me for years from my first studio in Roundwood, particularly the older adults, and we miss them so so much. Movement is just majorly important for this age group and they have been affected so badly by this whole pandemic. I miss the fun and the camaraderie. Myself and Lynn also manage some Zoom training!

10am Some mornings I have a Zoom class and it’s great to talk to people, catch up and move with them. It’s not Reformer but it is movement and it will help people stay somewhat mobile. A couple of times per week my son comes to the studio and we work out together – and I love this.

Noon Back home, I am working on updating my website and doing some online courses for my own self-development so, the hours fly by here – partly because technology is not my strong point but now, with all this time, I’m getting better. Slowly.

Before I know, it it’s 2.30pm. Patrick is out of college – aka the dining room – and we go on our coffee break. I have come to cherish this time so much. This is one of the things I will look back fondly on. We usually either walk to Killruddery and enjoy a takeaway coffee and a long chat about life, or we go to the Bray promenade and grab a takeaway coffee, sit, look at to sea and just talk about life. Priceless time.

We are back by 4pm. I usually have Zoom meetings about the new website, or catch up with trainee teachers, to how they are getting on, and then, more paperwork!

5.30pm I go back to the studio and make some short educational videos for Instagram and then, the videos tutorials for my new online Teacher Training, which starts in April. Last March, we got awarded the Pilates Schools Approval Programme, a third-party international accolade, and I am so proud of it.

So, lots of work to have everything in place for April – my days are going to be very busy preparing all the tutorials for that.

7pm On wo evenings a week, I have Zoom classes, and on the other evenings, I go for a 5/6 km run.

8pm I have dinner and sometimes a glass (or two) of wine.

10.30pm After watching the news and some TV, I’m ready for bed.

The evenings seem so long. Normally, I’m working from 5.30pm to 9.30pm every day. I’m finding this lockdown much harder. Gone is the ‘we are all in this together’. Some people are being much more affected by the pandemic than others, and it’s much more obvious this time. But we must keep going. We will get through it and we need to try and stay positive and strong. My daily Pilates practice is definitely helping to keep me sane; its holistic whole-body benefits are amazing!

To quote Joseph Pilates, “Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.

“In order to achieve happiness, it is imperative to gain mastery of your body. If at the age of 30 you are stiff and out of shape, you are old. If at 60, you are supple and strong, than you are young…”

Let’s all choose young and strong! Come on do Pilates.

You can follow Anne Sexton Pilates on Instagram here and on Facebook here, check out her website here, and find out more about her latest Zoom classes right here.