“Trust the small steps and make an exchange.”

3 min readFeb 15, 2021


Each week we’ll be asking members of our community what they’re doing to make lockdown life that little bit easier, and how they are looking after their physical and mental health.

Seven Sisters — Eastbourne. Photo by Joseph Pearson on Unsplash

Lockdown seems even tougher this time around for many of us, and with recent research by UCL reporting that fewer people are engaging with exercise and creative hobbies during the current lockdown compared to the first, we want to know what things are helping get you through.

We’ll be sharing some of our team’s experiences too.

We’d love to know what you’re doing to look after yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything big, in fact — at the moment — it’s the little things that can help us through the days and keep us buoyant: a good meal, walking the dog, talking with friends, reading your favourite book, cuddling the cat, going for your daily walk, or doing an online workout.

Share your stories, sweaty selfies, culinary creations, artistic adventures — whatever has made you feel good and may inspire others!

This week our Deputy Head of Sport, Terry Cooper, shares what is currently helping him with his physical and mental wellness.

“In the last few weeks, I have had some ups and downs.

“Even though I work in all areas around health and fitness, I’m not one for running or going to the gym. But over the last two weeks I have been out running six times, which is a lot more than I have done for a very long time.

“I can put this down to two key things:

1. I changed my mindset from the run being something that I am doing for a physical benefit, to something that I am doing so that I achieve something that day.

2. The fact that I have changed my outlook to focus on the achievement of a run, rather than the purpose of the run, means that it doesn’t matter how far I go, how fast I run or where I go. As soon as I am out of the house, I have already won.

“Believe me, as someone who is classed as a fitness professional, this is a breath of fresh air; to not compare or have expectations.

“Most of my runs have been in the morning, but I’ve also had a couple later in the day. I have found, particularly with the morning sessions, that I feel more productive and have a better mindset for the rest of the day as a result.

“In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about how we think that massive success comes from massive changes, and how most people don’t take small steps seriously.

“I’ve been one of those people who has delighted in a life hack or British Cycling’s marginal gains, but still we question how a 20-minute run can culminate in us completing a half marathon.

“Think about a small step or goal. It doesn’t have to be a run. Write some goals for the day: make the bed, get a shower, whatever; it doesn’t have to be complicated, but getting something done, however small it may seem, and achieving something early in the day can really help at this moment in time.

“The reality is that life is full of thousands of exchanges: sometimes we have to give to take, commit to receive and do to have done.

“Start this week in that mindset: trust the small steps and make an exchange.”

Terry running on the seafront during the latest lockdown.

If you’re a University of Sussex student or staff member (including BSMS and IDS), you can take part in our live online classes throughout February. We have a range of classes suitable for all fitness levels, so now is the time to try something new!

Find out more about our Home With Us online fitness programme by visiting the Sussexsport webpages.