The COVID Diaries – Taking a Break

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Therapist Anne-Marie breaks for Christmas and reflects on the past year

We catch up with Anne-Marie over the Christmas break, reflecting on 2020 and the impact of COVID-19 on her business.

Monday 21st December

Today is the first day of the Christmas break but updates on the virus are still forthcoming. The Prime Minister issued a statement at the weekend regarding a new virus variant spreading rapidly in parts of England. The new strain is primarily affecting London, the South East and East of England, all currently in Tier 3. It was announced that these areas will enter a new, higher tier. Tier 4 will be broadly equivalent to the national restrictions in place in England in November.

The Christmas bubble rules have also been changed. Households can now only meet for Christmas Day (as long as outside of Tier 4). This has meant that my week off has started on rather an emotional level. Previously there had been some positive news with the roll out of the vaccine, but this feels like it has overshadowed any positivity at the moment. I also feel incredibly sad for people that will be spending Christmas day alone and the impact that this is having on people everywhere.

Wednesday 23rd December

I wake up today and have a quick look at my work email – it is all very positive! Someone has bought one of my gift vouchers as a Christmas present and I have a lovely email from one of my regular clients wishing me a happy Christmas. What a nice start to the day! I decide to write a newsletter to my clients wishing them happy Christmas and a happy and healthy 2021 – I hope to see them when I reopen in January. Replies come flooding in and this makes me feel grateful that I have such wonderful clients.

In other news, a decision is going to be made this morning if other areas of England should go into Tier 4. The Health Secretary gives an update on the current situation and the government announces a tier review update. Due to rises in the South East and East of England, action needs to be taken ahead of the review date of the 30 December. Some local authorities will move into Tier 4 from the 26th December.

Bristol, a neighbouring county, will move into Tier 3. Bath remains in Tier 2 for now.

Thursday 24th December

It was announced today that ”more than 600,000 people in the UK have received the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as part of the largest vaccination programme in British history”.

Friday 25th December

Christmas Day! Today I get up early – it’s a frosty morning, but sunny. I go for a short run – it’s so cold! In fact I think this is the coldest run I’ve done all year. But it’s exhilarating to be out and about early, with just a few other runners and cyclists up and about. Then time to open presents and prepare the lunch. I phone family and try not to think too much about what is going on.

Monday 28th December

Today is so cold and wet that I spend the day watching films, eating left over Christmas food. I’m doing my best to switch off from everything.

Wednesday 30th December

More running! This time it is icy, so a very short run. Lots of other runners out and about, but all taking it very carefully on the slippery cycle path. An elderly person falls over on ice just as I had stopped to look at the view across the misty fields. I check that they are alright and not injured before running on. An arrangement to see a friend outside for coffee and a walk this afternoon gets postponed as the pavements are just too treacherous! 

A government tier review update this afternoon – my area is going to Tier 3 from midnight tonight and will be reassessed on the 13th January. I just have a few clients booked in for January so far, so I’ll keep an eye on the situation. Neighbouring counties are also in Tier 3.  Many areas are moving to a “Tier 4 – Stay at Home” order, with many massage therapists unable to work. This will be reviewed on the 13th January. I feel incredibly sad with everything that is going on.

Thursday 31st December

Happy New Year! And what a year it has been… This is a time when we would usually be seeing family and friends. Due to the COVID-19 situation, it’s just not possible to meet up in ways that we are used to. Who would have thought a year ago that we all would be coping with the widespread effects of a virus sweeping the globe. Reflecting back on the past year, it has been a roller coaster of emotions: the initial decision to close my massage clinic; the enforced lockdown in March and November and then the new tier system in December; new ways of working with PPE; extra forms, checks and paperwork in order to see clients under the new COVID secure guidelines; on a personal level, coping with the events and how it has affected family and friends. This has been a particularly difficult year.

However I would also like to find some positives, as there definitely have been some amongst the negativity. I have spent more time in nature; I’ve had more time to run (I committed to running 1000 miles this year and I achieved it!); I’ve slowed down and spent more time with my partner; I have deeper appreciation of my wonderful neighbours – without their continued support the lockdown and the past year would have been very different; I have made extra effort to keep in touch with family and friends, even if this was via zoom or over the phone. Also, the realisation that health and happiness are probably the most important things right now – and the importance of self care – will be what I will carry forward into 2021.

I hope that the coming year ahead brings positive news and that eventually we can all return to some sort of normality.  I wish you all the best for the year ahead! 

As we follow Anne-Marie’s journey navigating her practice through COVID-19, we would love to hear your stories, too!

Can you relate to Anne-Marie’s experience? How was 2020 for you? What have you struggled with? What have you learnt from the past year? Please share in the comments and please sign up to become a member of PPH to receive industry news and updates.

We would like to stress that all information given in our COVID-19 series is not exhaustive and while we have tried to ensure that the information provided in this document is accurate, PPH cannot be held liable for any errors or omissions. The COVID-19 situation is constantly evolving and the information is changing on a daily basis. We urge you to closely follow your government, professional association and insurance company’s latest guidelines and updates, taking precedence over any recommendations communicated by PPH.