Coming out of Lockdown
This week should have been an exciting time. On Tuesday I opened my clinic doors for face to face patient contact after 2 months of forced closure. The week leading up to the opening I waded through the advice and recommendations set by my governing body the CSP. To say it was daunting was an understatement. There were policies to put in place, forms to set out, diaries to change, emails to send and PPE to order. On Monday night I felt slightly nervous about the day ahead and was thankful I knew the patients who had booked in and discussed their needs prior to them coming into the clinic.
Tuesday was a strange day. I should have been on holiday in Antigua so the week has been hard anyway, knowing we should have been relaxing on a beach somewhere warm and sunny. My first patient was an early start and I had briefed him that he would be my first post lockdown patient. He was very patient and we conversed well through masks and the 2 metre distance. I felt a bit ‘fingers and thumbs’ to start with but through the day the nerves lifted and I felt I was able to offer a near normal service.
I chose to only open for 2 days initially to allow myself time to adapt to the change. I really took it hard when we were forced into lockdown in March and thought I may need a bit of time to adapt to the new way of working. What I hadn’t factored in was how low I felt at the end of my second day. I felt miserable and almost couldn’t wait to finish my last appointment. I got home and I cried. As I stood in the shower I wondered why I felt so empty? I love my job and I love the space I work in and I’ve never not wanted to go in and help people to recover. This all felt different though. I really felt like I’d lost my spark. Through lockdown I’ve continuously set goals and found these a real motivator for me, mentally. I don’t like being idle and I love having a purpose and a goal. At the same time my clinic was due to open I had just completed a 3 week challenge and I thought I would give myself a break to allow for the clinic opening. Instead of feeling relaxed and calm, I felt on edge and adrift. Far away from my normal life and stuck in some weird limbo. Opening the clinic seemed to only highlight what we still aren’t able to do and that sickening realisation that we’ve still got a long road ahead of us full of uncertainty and unrest. I’ve realised how important it is to me to have a goal to be working towards, not just in my work life but also a physical one. Physical activity makes me feel alive. It helps me connect with nature, it takes me to new places, it gives me a sense of adventure. That’s what I’ve been craving; that sense of adventure. We’ve all been cooped up for months being safe and distanced and yet my inner chimp needs to be let out once in a while to challenge and explore. Keeping that inner chimp cadged has made him irritable, moody and desperate to escape.
I’m sure you can relate on some level. We’re like cadged animals being tentatively let out of our cages and we want to rush out, kick our legs and jump high into the air. Instead we are lead out on a leash to a dusty yard where we are scrutinised. Will this feeling ever end? I hope so. I’ve had enough now of keeping my chimp cadged and he needs to run free for a bit. I need something to give me back some focus. So what is on the horizon? Firstly I’m hosting a 4 week 5k improvers course. This will hopefully give me some structure to the next 4 weeks and with an online group set up the aim is to encourage other runners to get involved so we can all be accountable and support each other. I have set this up with a view to raising some money for a running club in Malawi that I have been in touch with over the last few weeks.
Their coach is currently unable to work as a mountain guide due to the current pandemic. He is trying desperately hard to keep his runners clothed and supplied with trainers that he purchases from the local market. On Global running day I felt acutely aware that even in our darkest of days in this pandemic we still have homes, food and the modern luxuries of life. Many of the runners in the Malawi club have nothing. The running community is global and I want to help a small group of runners in a far away country to at least have a little bit of respite from the hardships of their lives. Any money we raise will go towards new kit for the runners and helping them attend training sessions and races.
If you want to join us on our 4 week 5k improvers course then please feel free to join in but please, please can I ask that you make a donation to the just giving page. A few quid to you means the world to the Malawi runners. You can join the group here https://www.facebook.com/groups/282120079603034/?ref=bookmarks
The other idea I have is still in the early stages so watch this space. There may also be an opportunity to get involved if you fancy a bit of an adventure in the coming weeks. So please continue to stay safe, be kind and look after yourself mentally and physically. Talk to someone if you’re feeling low, reach out and ask for help if you need it, and everyone needs it at some point. This isn’t just the end of lockdown, its the next phase of this global pandemic and once again we find ourselves having to adapt to a new world.