I am not out of my hole, but I am not at the bottom. 

Hello, my name is Sarah, and I’m an outdoor swimmer/ coach – I love being outside; if it involves water, it’s even better.

Moving and emotions ……

A couple of months ago we had the opportunity to move to Pembrokeshire as a final posting  – this was something we have talked about for many years. We have been travelling back and forward to West Wales in our camper van Flossie exploring the area and fell in love with the beautiful beaches and surrounding countryside.

I lived in my home in Gosport for 26 years  – you can imagine how much stuff there was to sort and the emotion tied up with that  – I brought up my two children there and went through 1 divorce and 1 marriage! I had lots of friends and had a lovely community of sea swimmers/runners/ chatters and had various coaching groups for indoor/outdoor swimming and even a bit of triathlon stuff.

I am ex-military and my husband and son are serving and both my parents were military  – so moving wasn’t something that I was frightened of  – so many people called me brave  – and a few stupid for packing up and moving 4.5 hours away from my family and friends. However, I was looking forward to the new challenge and new swimming opportunities!

It’s been a month now and I have to say it has definitely been a challenge – I work remotely so don’t get to meet people through work and my children are all grown up and don’t live with me so no chance of meeting people there either! We live on a small married patch  – housing for military people – I am a sociable soul and will chat to anyone – but we  arrived in the summer leave period and most people are away visiting family or on holidays – no neighbours around at all!

I had a bad bout of laryngitis before we left and after Windermere and Mel v the rest team resulting in no exercise – now we all know how easy it is to just get of the routine  – with the chaos of boxes everywhere and logistics of moving exercise pretty much stopped. I know that this is bad for me mentally as well as physically but once you get into that hole its tough getting out.

I was feeling pretty lonely and definitely lost my tribe and feeling like I didn’t belong. I hadn’t appreciated the impact of losing my community and it has hit me hard. Something had to change so I put my trainers on and went back out running – hills everywhere I turn – very different to flat Gosport but it gave me breathing space and also seeing my new home through different eyes.

I am so lucky to have many beaches withing a 20 minute drive and have swam most days but solo – this is a big change as I definitely took it for granted having various people to dip/swim with and realising that actually its not the swimming it’s the friendships that we make that are far more important. Now the tourist season is over I am hoping to find like minded locals  – or even on the marriage patch to swim with. I met a woman in the sae at the weekend who lives in Pembrokeshire who said you wont make friends sat in your room!  So I have found a group I’m trying out next week – 2 hours on Wednesday night to do something either water based or beach based depending on the weather.

My other lifeline has been Her Spirit and although we are all spread around the country you can build relationships with people through your shared love of women supporting women and being the healthiest we can be. Mel has been checking in and encouraging me to be active in the community – I was wallowing and thinking no one will want to hear my moaning! BUT by getting back to the app and chatting to people you start to feel connected and that is the magic of Her Spirit.

We all go through ups and downs  – its normal but having a wonderful group of women in our phones is a powerful thing  – don’t sit on the sidelines  – share your story you may be the reason someone smiles that day or just feels like they have had a hug.  I am not out of my hole but I am not at the bottom  – look up and you will see a patch of sunshine….

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