Hello and welcome to this weeks blog As I have just finished my first full week back at work in over four months, I thought I would share what I have been up to during all of that time off work. I know I will be asking you when I see you, what the lockdown was like for you.
The first thing that struck me when it was becoming apparent that it would happen, was that clients had begun to lose faith in what would happen with massage and had already started cancelling about a week before. And I could not blame them, we were all unsure. I had to go about cancelling clients myself. Although I hesitate to use that word, as I hoped that I would be rescheduling them all later, I just did not know when.
There were a lot of dog cuddles happening! They knew something was strange because suddenly every one of their humans was home all day, every day. We have two terriers and a spaniel, and it is me they respond to the most, they shadow me everywhere and sit on any part of me they can when I sit down. There were a few hilarious moments early on when all three would try to sit on my lap at the same time and it would create confusion and mass wriggling.
I love to read and have bought and kept most of the books I have enjoyed over the years. To the extent that in my previous home I had to invest in a Kindle, as I had run out of room to store my books. When we moved to a new house a few years ago, we immediately set about creating a library and installed floor to ceiling bookcases. We are now about to install some more bookcases, so I am not certain the first endeavour was quite sufficient… anyway I took advantage of all the extra time I now had on my hands and re-read many books that I had previously enjoyed. It was a fantastic bit of escapism and all the while I managed to get my youngest son to finally enjoy reading too, so that was a bonus.
Naturally, I felt anxious about the world’s situation and watched the daily briefings for the first few weeks without fail. I found that doing so actually added to how I was feeling and so reduced how much I was watching them, and that helped enormously. I kept track of what was occurring by checking the news on my phone and switching off when I was too caught up in it. Returning to whatever world I was caught up in reading that day was an immense help.
The first fortnight I was in a bit of shock and slept in extra in the mornings as well as going to bed early. I have heard from many that this was a normal reaction to having the rug of routine yanked from beneath their feet. Realising really quickly that this was not productive, nor helpful, I started getting up for work with my husband, who turned our library into a home office, and made sure I worked a little bit every day on my own business. I posted on Facebook and started writing blogs, something I had intended for some time but had not quite got round to achieving pre-lockdown.
I started writing blogs here on www.astralfitness.co.uk and decided early on that they would be as easy to understand as possible. I tend to switch off if something is too detailed or full of jargon I’m not familiar with yet. I have not quite hit my stride with how I want them to sound, but I hope that they have proved useful to some of you, so far. Why not check out some of my other blogs and see if they are useful to you?
Ah, the defining work method of lockdown, the Zoom call. I had never heard of Zoom before all this, and now I can confidently use it to have virtual meetings. Some have been regular and others sporadic, but it was nice to catch up with people I would usually see face to face.
For those of you in business yourselves, the other thing we got used to hearing during the early stages was how to ‘pivot’ our businesses online. I decided straight away that I would offer advice to those in need of it, but that I would not try to force a new model of my business on my clients, because I would not feel comfortable with that. I love massage and what it means to me and others, and that is something that just cannot be replicated online. That said, I provided advice in the shape of stretches and strengthening exercises to several people who asked for it, including a couple of facetime calls to describe things properly.
I love walking at the best of times, and it was a saviour during the worst of times. When the government announced that we should forgo driving anywhere for the lockdown, I planned my walking journeys to finish at the supermarket so that I could gather supplies and make double use of my trip outdoors. I clocked an average of 18,000 steps most days, which is about seven miles. Do not worry though, I did not forget how to drive in the four months I walked everywhere, phew!
I played around a lot with my running during lockdown. I used to run only on a Sunday and before I broke my arm it was anywhere from five miles up to twelve or so. It took me a while to get in the swing of it after that, and so during lockdown I experimented with running daily, sprint drills, cadence running and heart rate running. I have now settled on three runs a week, with one for pure pleasure which is about five miles each time, and two shorter, more intense runs to improve my average miles per minute.
Even when I was feeling lethargic early on, I exercised every day plus had one rest day. I am still doing that, and if I had not, I feel that I would have succumbed to a little bit of craziness and probably a bit of depression. Exercise is the most underrated and under-utilised anti-depressant out there and it has worked wonders for me over the years. I also hired out some of my exercise equipment as I had more than I needed, and I knew that helping someone else stay fit helped me stay focused too.
I have had two clients approach me towards the end of lockdown who recalled that I have my PT certificate. Now I am training them both once a week in their gardens. They accuse me of trying to kill them.
Once I was done with walking for the day, and my sons had finished with their daily activities, we would sometimes watch a film together. Often, I would put on an episode of something or other on Netflix to while away that bit of time before dinner. My sons are old enough to find their own amusements, almost twelve years old and seventeen, and often preferred to be lost in whichever book or Lego model they were involved in that day.
Painting and Decorating
After spending weeks and weeks looking at the same undecorated walls that we moved into four years ago, we ventured into B&Q to buy paint to refresh our rooms. I had almost finished with one room when the announcement was made that I could open. I am not sure when I will get it finished….
MIB International Networking
Looking for something to challenge me and occupy my days until I could work again, I accepted an invitation to run a brand-new networking group for Coventry. Doing so on behalf of MIB International Networking, founded by Leona Burton. It has been a challenge to keep it in mind while getting myself back up to full speed with Astral Fitness Sports Massage. If you are a businesswoman in Coventry, Nuneaton, Bedworth, and surrounding areas, please come and join us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2496580910586457/
Preparing to Open my Business Doors
At the beginning of July, I had an inkling that it would not be long until I would be open and so seriously considered what I would need to do to be ready. I completely replaced my towel collection for thinner towels, which wash and dry faster so that I can offer a slightly later appointment each day. Laundry is a daily requirement and making that quicker was paramount. I bought masks, visors, a waterproof apron, waxes, t-shirts, couch roll, waterproof couch covering, disinfectant, mop, couch cushion and pillowcases, to ensure continuing comfort during each massage appointment. The last item arrived the day before I opened!
Where possible I supported charities during the lockdown, and prior to it, including donating and buying from charity shops and businesses who donate.
Small Businesses I Supported During Lockdown
While I was limited in what I could do while not earning any money during lockdown, nor being eligible for any of the government aid offered, I bought locally or from small businesses when I was in need of anything for birthdays and other reasons. Please do take time to read the list of businesses which I have purchased from in the last four months (and some for a while beforehand) and I recommend whole heartedly, do visit their pages if they are of interest to you. They are listed in no particular order:
Prepared with Love Usborne Books; https://www.facebook.com/groups/preparedwithlovebooks/
Tropic Skincare by Lauren Holmes; https://www.facebook.com/tropicskincarewithlaurenholmes/
Silver Halos; https://www.facebook.com/SilverHalos/
Mesme Resin; https://www.facebook.com/MesmeResin/
Lucy’s Deco Den; https://www.instagram.com/lucys.deco.den/
Urban Legends Fairy Doors; https://www.facebook.com/ElfandFairy/
Petite Chouette; www.petitechouette.co.uk
Kelly’s Web Designs; https://kellys-webdesigns.com
Strathmore Chip Shop; https://www.facebook.com/Strathmore-road-fish-and-chip-shop-272349302888670/
The Golden Spoon Thai Restaurant; https://www.golden-spoon.co.uk
The Stottie Shop; https://www.facebook.com/stotties.stotties/
Willow Personalised Art; https://www.facebook.com/WillowPersonalisedArtwork/
Rana Miller MUA; https://www.facebook.com/ranamua/
Nua Interiors; https://www.facebook.com/thevintageworkshophinckley/
Sports Therapy Association; www.thesta.co.uk
Student Physio; https://studentphysio.co.uk
Rehab My Patient; https://www.rehabmypatient.com
MinuteMan Press of Lutterworth; https://www.lutterworth.minutemanpress.co.uk
Enterprise Workwear; https://www.enterpriseworkwear.com
Suzanne Barney Travel Counsellors; https://www.facebook.com/SuzanneBarneyTC/
Embody Dance; https://www.facebook.com/EmbodyDanceCompany/
Jodie Wilson TCM Acupuncture; https://www.facebook.com/jodiewilsontcm/
With Special Thanks for helping me and my little business survive lockdown:
Wayne Lakin at United Gym; https://www.facebook.com/unitedexercise/
Suzanne at Suzanne Barney Travel Counsellors (link above)
Jodie Wilson TCM (link above)
Anna at Prepared with Love Usborne Books (link above)
I honestly cannot thank you enough.
Thank you for stopping by and spending some of your time reading this week’s blog. I hope to see you in clinic soon, remember you do not need to be hurting to look after yourself, massage massively reduces the frequency and severity of injuries.