building healthy foundations

It seems that I have to keep re-learning the importance of building healthy foundations for myself! There are a few things which are key to me feeling well, and sometimes I let them slide and then I remember why they matter, so here’s quick run-down so that I can remember quicker next time…and maybe it will help you too?

Feeding myself:

Since October last year I have made huge efforts around feeding myself well and it has made such a difference in how I feel and function on a day-to-day basis. For me ‘feeding myself’ well means:

  • home-cooked meals
  • lots & lots of veggies & legumes (I’m vegetarian)
  • starting the day with a really supportive breakfast (I go for happy tummy loaf with cheese or nut butter)
  • snacks which don’t trigger a change in other kinds of eating (nut butter – I like this one – nuts, brie…)
  • avoiding snacks which become ‘triggers’ for other kinds of eating (I find sweet or salty snacks have me reaching for more of the same, replacing meals with more snacks)

When I get the first four on my list right, the fifth one isn’t even an issue. If I eat well, I feel nourished & I don’t think about snacking. Sometimes though, life has a habit of throwing a curve ball at you, and the foundations start to slip away…

Over Easter, a family issue rocked my headspace A LOT and I didn’t feel like eating. And then when I did eat, I chose ice cream instead of food, and it didn’t take long before I started to feel really caught up in a spiral of poor self-worth, which then made me not want to eat… And then yesterday my head felt more settled, and I cooked all the vegetables in my fridge, and made mushroom burgers , and ate my first real meal for a week, and just like that, I feel ok again!

Putting myself to bed:

This has always been an issue for me! I was the youngest child and remember being sent to bed before my sister, and it always felt like I was missing out on something. And maybe that’s nothing to do with how I behave now (& maybe it does?) but I really struggle to go to bed when I’m tired.

I generally sleep fine once I get there, but the getting there is a hurdle. I like to finish the day sorted, so I tend to empty the dish-washer or hang up laundry on the way to bed, and then when I get there I’m wide awake!!

Yesterday I heard someone talking on the radio about how we would benefit if we treated ourselves like toddlers, and I really connected with that idea. Children tend to have a sleep routine – a bath, quiet time, a book, a cuddle, soft lighting…so why not do the same for ourselves?

I had a small win last night because I was falling asleep on the sofa and instead of staying there, I actually got up and went to bed. Maybe the toddler idea will be a big help going forward…

Movement:

This one is my fairly easy win!

I have a dog so he gets walked every day, no matter what else is going on., but he’s possibly nearing the end of his life so I wonder if I’ll walk every day once he’s gone. I hope I will, but can imagine that there will be days when it doesn’t happen. I love to hike so I am signed up to #walk1000miles and I also try to walk 100 miles and complete a round-Bewl walk every month, so those things are great motivators. I find it’s good to have movement goals, especially if you find yourself struggling to move more.

I’m lucky in that I move for my work so most days incorporate movement of some kind. I also try to include two spin-bike sessions each week but it’s very easy to let them slide when I’m not feeling great. Last week, feeling sad and poorly nourished, I didn’t find the energy to cycle, and I decided to be kind and let myself off, which is totally ok but not a long-term plan. I’ll be back on the back tomorrow for sure!

When we get distracted by life or injured or just don’t feel like it on the day, it is easy to let go of our movement habits, but often we’d feel better if we just did it any way. Sometimes going through the motions is what will get us moving again – we might need to adapt what we’re doing but doing something is always going to be better than doing nothing.

Being creative:

The act of making something – regardless of what it is – is such a good foundation for a healthy life. And it’s not about making something brilliant, it’s just about the doing of the thing and the distraction it provides.

I do a daily photo project on Instagram. It’s often a tiny moment in my day, maybe only using my iPhone (because the best camera is always the one you have with you!) and sometimes the prompts that I follow are really annoying!! But I haven’t missed a day since January 2016! And not having missed a day is what keeps me going because I do not want to break my streak now!

One day last week I cried about my photo because I didn’t have anything I wanted to post, but then I had a word with myself, posted what I had, and moved on. That simple act reminded me that we can always move on, there’s always another day/photo prompt just around the corner and what does it matter if the photo isn’t great anyway??!

Life is hard enough! Make sure you take some time to do something creative, for no purpose, just because you can – paint, draw, write, make pretty patterns with leaves, grow things, sew things, knit things…

Putting it all together:

The goal is never to feel like I HAVE to do everything, simply to recognise that when I do certain things, I feel more ‘me’.

These are my healthy foundations. There are others I didn’t mention – eg. not drinking alcohol, social connections, feeling valued at work – but these are the things that I keep coming back to when I feel off-balance.

Yours may not be the same – although I suspect that food/sleep/move is key for all of us – but I think it is important to find out what your things are, and then do those on a regular basis.

I’d love to know what your healthy foundations are – let me know…

Plans for 2023

New year, new whatever?!

I’m not a huge fan of planning ahead – I quite like to bimble along and see where the road takes me – but I also like to give myself some stepping stones for the way ahead.

By chance I was awake in the middle of the night just as we entered the new year – fireworks woke me up and then my brain switched on! I used the bonus middle-of-the-night time to jot down some thoughts about the brand new year.

I wrote that 2023 is my year for ‘re-braving’.  

The idea came from Jeff Brown who wrote:

“I am re-braving, after a difficult stage that un-braved me. It is my hope that 2023 is an opportunity for all of us to restore ourselves, and to re-brave ourselves. A re-braved humanity will not tolerate anything that obstructs our possibilities. A re-braved humanity will craft the world of profound possibility that is our individual and collective birth-right.”

Whether we read that on a global level (as intended) or an individual level, I think it is a really positive idea to carry forward with us. And even if we only focus on the individual aspects of re-braving, we will surely create a force for good along the way.

Living a half-life:

I also wrote that I didn’t get through breast cancer to only live a half-life. I don’t have a strong picture of what a fuller life would look like but I know that for a few years I’ve been hiding & holding back & stopping myself from feeling, so I’m going to work on that this year.

So in the early hours, with these thoughts as my guiding light, I jotted down some things that I can/will try to include in the coming 12 months.

In no particular order (apart from the first one which is top priority right now!)

Here’s to 2023:

  • rehab my feet – I hate having sore feet because it impacts so many things that I like to do but I’m also not very patient so this might be an interesting battle!
  • walk 1000 miles in 2023, and hopefully also walk 100 miles every month (feet allowing!)
  • take better care of my teeth
  • reconnect with my body – forgive it for having cancer; pay attention to how it feels and what it needs from me; support it with breathwork, sleep, nutrition, kindness; apply moisturizer occasionally!
  • keep taking a photo every day – now on year 8 of doing this! (you can find them here if you’re interested)
  • get a passport because there’s a whole world out there and I’d like to explore more of it
  • cover some more miles on the Pennine Way – maybe another week-long section or perhaps the rest of it (feet allowing!!)
  • journal one line per day (some of them have been quite deep thoughts but one day I simply wrote ‘tired today – that’s all’ – either way I like having a record of my day)
  • take my Mum back to Yorkshire – I don’t know where she wanted her ashes to go but I reckon the highest point in her home county is a pretty good spot, so she’ll be hiking up Whernside with me at some point this year
  • feed myself – books, food, education, music, cinema, art…
  • move house and find a new view

I like to think of all these things as gentle ways to make good use of the year, rather than things which I achieve or fail to achieve. Just a few stepping stones across the river of life. A chance to celebrate being here. An opportunity to be more present.

In the past five years I have lost both my parents, which is obviously significant, but I think the recent death of my Dad has somehow set me free to be who I always meant to be. Not that him being alive stopped me being me, but I no longer see myself reflected in his eyes and I feel lighter as a result.

Perhaps 2023 will be the year that I finally get brave, and step into my body and take up the space that I’m meant to take up…#watchthisspace

How about you? What does 2023 mean for you?

2022 – a year in review!

Recently I’ve been feeling that 2022 hasn’t been a good year, but a look through my photos has shown me that there have been so many highs, so here is a little review to remind me that not everything is always how it feels in one given moment…!

On top of the world – Old Man of Coniston – May 2022

There have definitely been some heavy loads in the last few months – my Dad died unexpectedly on 2nd November, my house sale fell through around the same time and I’ve been struggling to mend two sore feet since I damaged them at the end of August! [Probably the feet don’t seem very important when compared to the death of a parent and the sadness of not moving house, but I feel them every day and they are getting in the way of me enjoying the one thing I really love to do #walking ]

So anyway, that’s the bad stuff…but here’s what I remembered when I looked through the photos on my phone:

  • I have two beautiful grand-daughters who fill my whole heart with joy and love and allow me to make up for all the moments I missed when I was parenting; grand-parenting is definitely an easier job and a huge privilege
  • this year I have completed #walk1000miles for the fourth year in a row (aiming to end 2022 on 1400 miles); I also walked around Bewl Water once per month and completed at least 100 miles each month for 8 months of the year (I missed that target in February, April, October & November but I’m learning to be ok with that). Walking, especially in huge, wide open spaces brings so much joy and energy to my life (see below)
  • 2022 saw me set foot on the Pennine Way for the first time, and I went back and walked the first 100 miles in August – teenage dream realised!
  • I learned to grow and nurture a whole house full of house plants!!
  • I re-found my confidence and got back to working at my massage table; it still brings me unexpected delight when clients have a positive reaction to their treatment (I don’t know why it surprises me but it still does, every time!); I completed an Oncology Massage course in November so it’s full steam ahead for 2023
  • I’ve dared to dream of a new future for the first time in a very long time; although I’m very sad that my planned move to the seaside has not happened yet, I’m so happy that I was brave enough to imagine it and start the process of achieving it too. And I can wait a little longer to see it realised…
  • I’ve taken a photo every day for the 7th year in a row!! In all that time I’ve never missed a day or posted a photo taken on another day. I did cheat a little bit on the night that I was sat in a hospital relatives room, waiting to see my Dad for the last time – I asked my daughter to take the photo for me but I still edited and posted it so it almost counts as mine!
  • I’ve climbed the Yorkshire three peaks twice! The first time I did one each day over a three-day camping trip; the second time I did them all in one go straight after my hundred miles on the PW (hence the damaged feet!) – it was wayyyyyy harder than I expected and I couldn’t have done it without an incredibly supportive buddy #forevergrateful #youknowwhoyouare
  • I joined The Queue – such an honour and privilege #thankyoumaam
  • And last but not least, the snow last week brought much happiness to my child-like heart

Thank you 2022 – I haven’t always loved you but I’m glad we made it through together!

And 2023 I’m hoping for good things from you… #nopressure

half-term homework…

Just in case you’d like some ‘homework’ to keep you moving while there are no classes over the half term break, I’ve pulled together some previously recorded sessions & some other ideas that I think you’ll enjoy. Of course, it is totally fine to give your body a rest or do some other activities instead – that’s what I’ll be doing!

relaxation pose

Classes and short sessions:

Other ideas to try:

  • Lying with your legs up the wall is a great way to gently stretch your hamstrings, manage stress, improve digestion, promote sleep, boost circulation and a whole lot more! Super-simple to do – find out more here
  • Add some breathing practice into your day – it offers so many benefits – find out more here
  • Do a bit of decluttering! This is one of my favourite things to do – I’m quite ruthless and having a physical clear-out always crosses-over into feeling mentally clearer. Just don’t do what I recently did and drive around for weeks with bags full of charity shop things-to-be-donated things in the back of your car – that’s just moving your clutter into another space!! There are some great tips here
  • Find a local ‘slow ways’ walk and check it out. There are currently over 8,000 Slow Ways routes. This unique network of routes was drafted online by volunteers during the Spring 2020 lockdown. The next challenge is to walk, review and verify them all – checking over 100,000km of Slow Ways routes. It’s a big ambition for 2022. Thousands of people are getting involved. Up for helping? Simply choose, walk and review a Slow Ways route here.
walking

Have a great half term break Jx

Help your feet to feel more fabulous

I’m going to start by saying that I’m not a Podiatrist, so this is written from the perspective of my own personal experience and the things I see in my clients.

Our feet are truly fabulous things. The ankle and foot complex contains 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. Considering both feet, that makes a total of 52 bones, making up about a quarter of all bones found in the mature adult body.

Maybe it’s time we took better care of these precious feet of ours??

Things I believe to be true:

  • how our feet move affects how everything else moves further up the chain – ankles, calves, knees, thighs, hips, pelvic floor, core, low back, mid-back, upper back, shoulders and neck – ie. literally every part of your body!
  • how our feet move also affect our sense of balance and proprioception (connection to where we are in space)
  • what we wear on our feet can inhibit and alter the movement patterns in our feet – it’s not rocket science, but here are a few examples:
    • if shoes/socks are too tight our feet can’t spread out to offer a good base of support when we’re standing or moving;
    • if shoes have no backs (eg. flip flops) the toes will work extra hard to grip the shoe as we walk;
    • if we wear heels the foot tends to slide forward adding pressure around the toes (this also happens in trainers with a thicker sole under the heel than the ball of the foot)
  • wearing shoes which are too small (even if they feel comfortable) is never going to make your feet happy
  • showing our feet some love will always be a good investment of time
feet in trainers

Are your shoes too small?

For some reason people seem to take offence when I suggest to them that their shoes are too small. I have no idea why it would be an offensive thing to hear?? It is just a fact that our feet get wider and longer as we get older, so if you’re still wearing the same shoe size you wore five/ten/twenty years ago they are probably too small.

Also, you probably don’t wear the same size clothes you wore five/ten/twenty years ago so why would your feet be any different to your body?

If you don’t believe me you could always go and have them measured!

Or, if you are experiencing issues with your feet/ankles/knees/hips and your toes tend to looked scrunched-up (eg. crooked toes, pointing-at-the-ceiling toes or unable-to-spread-them-out toes) why not buy one pair of shoes the next size up, wear only those shoes for a few weeks and see what happens. At the very least your toes will gradually start to stretch out and spread out and breathe a little. But more likely, loads of other things will change too…

I’ve bought bigger shoes, what else can I do for my feet?

Once you’ve stopped squishing your feet into the wrong sized shoes, you can help your feet even more by giving them some release-work, stretches, exercises and a bit of self-massage. It doesn’t need to take long each day – just pick one or two things that feel useful and start there. Do those things 2-3 times a day (or more!) and notice the changes. You can add in other things later on once your feet start to change.

Here are couple of short videos from me:

Also, walk around in bare feet whenever you can – it’s a great way to strengthen your feet and that helps them to function better.

What other help is there?

If you have any concerns, I would recommend you find a Podiatrist or Physiotherapist and let them assess what is going on with your feet. They will be qualified to offer specific advice in terms of exercise and support for your feet to get you moving more comfortably.

Be mindful of the fact that a Podiatrist will almost always recommend orthotics (support for your foot inside your shoe) which might not be your preferred/best option, although perhaps useful in the short-term.

Also, check-out some of my favourite foot-people online:

  • Gait Happens – she shares some fabulous stuff on social media so find here there too
  • EBFA Global – click to access Dr Emily Splichal’s free guide to Toe Spacers & also find her on Instagram for some great information
  • Katy Bowman is Nutritious Movement on IG – another source of fabulous resources for your feet
bare feet

Barefooting:

Having taken a keen interest in feet for many years, I now only wear ‘barefoot’ shoes which have no support or cushioning in the soles and they work really well for my feet. Barefoot shoes have a wide toe-box and a less rounded inside edge around the big toe to allow optimal foot function. I’m not suggesting that you go down this route without doing your own research, but am very happy that I made the switch.

I hope this has given you some food for thought and a few ideas to try if you think that your feet might be the cause of issues in your body. As always, let me know if you have any questions – I’ll do my best to answer them or direct you to someone who knows more than me

Cold showers

Have you tried switching to cold water at the end of your shower?!

📷 ‘shower in the middle of nowhere’ by @takemeoutphotography via @unsplash

I’ve tried ending my showers with cold water a few times in the past but not stayed under for more than a second or two! Over the past 2 weeks or so, I’ve been getting braver and I have to admit it feels great.

After a cautious start, I can now dunk my head under the shower and stay there for a good 20 seconds. I know that’s still not very long but it’s a big increase since I started out. I’m also starting to master the art of not squealing too loudly because one day the dog was sitting at the bottom of the stairs wondering whether or not he needed to come to my rescue!

Even with this relatively short blast of cold water, when I turn the shower off, my body feels like it’s glowing in spite of cool air coming in through the open windows. I don’t have my central heating on yet and the cold showers are really helping me to feel warm as I’m getting dressed and ready for the day.

Probably the most positive thing I’ve noticed is that it makes me laugh out loud every day, which is a really mood-boosting way to start the day. AND it 100% makes me feel like a super-hero!

Health benefits of cold showers:

There are so many reported health benefits, including:

  • an increase in endorphins (our so-called ‘happy hormones’) which may help to counteract depression
  • increased alertness, clarity and energy levels as a result of deeper breathing while exposed to the cold water – all of which are ideal at the start of the day
  • improved circulation – the body will always work hard to maintain core temperature by sending fresh blood to an area which is cold, so taking a cold shower can create this response
  • increased resistance to common illnesses such as colds and flu as a result of our immune response being stimulated
  • reduced stress levels due to a lowering of cortisol levels in the blood – the cold shower itself may be a mild stressor but exposure to this type of stress helps us to be more resilient when faced with other stressful situations
  • reduced pain levels &/or a reduced perception of pain / muscle soreness in the body
  • increased willpower and self-belief – this small daily ‘challenge’ can strengthen your will-power and boost your super-hero status!

Have I persuaded you to give it a go??

The easiest way to start is by turning the dial down at the end of your usual shower, until the water is noticeably cooler. I prefer to step out of the water while it cools down and then step back in, but you may prefer to feel the temperature changing.

Once the temperature is set, focus on slow deep breaths and notice how it makes you feel. Gradually go a little colder each day until you’re at the coldest setting, and then start building up the time you spend there…

I honestly have been surprised how good this feels to me, and it’s so simple to add into your daily routine when you’re having a shower anyway.

📷 ‘the face behind the mask’ by Joey Nicotra via @unsplash

I’m going to keep building up my times because apparently that’s when the real benefits happen. And if 20 seconds makes me feel like a super-hero already, I can only imagine how much more invincible I’ll be after 60 seconds!!

PS wouldn’t you just love to take a shower in the middle of nowhere?!


some thoughts on back pain

I thought I knew a bit about back pain!! And then my back went into spasm and I realised I had no idea how BAD it could feel!! Here are some thoughts on back pain, based on my recent experience…

Woman down!

This was me, part way through teaching a class, when my lower back and glutes locked up. Long story short, several hours of heavy gardening (a few days prior to this) had left the muscles in my lower back, glutes and hamstrings overstretched, weak and vulnerable; I carried on as usual for a few days but at the moment pictured below, my body responded by tightening up the whole of my left hand side, leaving me literally unable to get up!

back pain

I think it helped that I understood what had caused the sudden spasm. It didn’t help that I knew my class were watching on at home, unable to do anything. It also didn’t help that I live alone – it was a scary experience to go through alone…

Once I got over the initial panic, there were a couple of things in my favour:

  1. it was night-time so I gradually got myself sorted and then went to sleep – which gave me 8 hours where my body could relax without any demands being placed upon it
  2. I remembered that I had some medication (prescribed for anxiety but actually a muscle relaxant) in a kitchen drawer (not ideal as I had to work out how to get downstairs, but at least I had access to it from the start)
  3. I have very understanding clients who totally didn’t make a fuss about me cancelling work for the next couple of days

Things that helped me get moving again:

  • diazepam was undoubtedly the first thing! I’m not someone who uses medication often, but I was very happy to have these – they enabled me to get to sleep comfortably for the first two nights
  • lying on my ‘good’ side in bed so that I could very gradually bring my left knee a little bit towards my chest – gently stretching the muscles which had gone into spasm (NB it was a tiny stretch – the smallest amount possible)
  • the next day I could lie on my back in bed – this allowed my spine to regain a gentle, supported, neutral position
  • gentle hip movements on all fours (on my bed because I couldn’t get to the floor) – my main focus was on letting my body guide me where it needed to go: gentle hip circles, some side-to-side hip movement, the very beginnings of a cat/cow stretch, a baby child’s pose position – I did these several times a day for the first to days
  • very gentle rolling using a trigger point ball against the wall – much kinder than working with a ball on the floor; I focused on rolling my glutes & low back, going onto the edges of my pelvis and sacrum where the muscles attach
  • walking (at a snail’s pace to start with and only on even ground and over a short distance) – the dog didn’t enjoy this first walk at all!! The day after my back spasm, walking was very uncomfortable; on the following day it felt easier the longer I walked; on the third day it felt normal again
  • movement rather than staying still – sitting was worst so I didn’t do much of that for 3 days; standing was ok so long as I kept moving gently – lots of hip swaying while waiting in a queue to buy garden pots; by the second day I could weight-bear evenly on both feet; I did some light gardening – not necessarily to be recommended (but luckily I got away with it!); a gentle yoga class on day 3 – I only did the moves which felt ok (limited forward flexion, no holding in position, very gentle rotations)
  • listening to my body – sounds corny but it really helped to tune-in and follow my gut about where and how I needed to move, when I needed to rest, etc
  • believing that this was a short-term, transient state and not somewhere I was going to live for a long time! Initially my head fell into a rabbit-hole of panic – what if my spine was the issue, what if it was cancer (bizarrely that one shot straight to the front of my mind as I was lying on the floor in agony!!), what if I couldn’t work, and then I’d have no income, and then what would I do… blah, blah, blah. Luckily I got back out of that particular rabbit-hole of doom quite quickly. It’s not helpful to think the worst – far better to just do what you can to get moving and then go from there

What to do if you have back pain:

The list above is intended as general guidance only.

If you’ve over-done it in the garden or tried a new type of exercise, this guidance will help you to get moving again – and I think that getting moving is of key importance in this situation. If your muscles have gone into spasm you definitely don’t want to leave them there…

That said, back pain is a broad umbrella term and some issues are more serious and need more urgent attention than others. If you experience sudden or unexplained back pain, or an onset of symptoms such as numbness in the legs or a change in bowel and bladder control, always seek help from a medical professional as soon as you can.

Sorry to end on that note, but it needed saying because I am not a medical professional and this guidance is not intended to take the place of medical advice. This is just my thoughts on back pain from someone who had no idea what back pain felt like until a week ago!

And my final piece of advice is this – if you need bamboo roots digging out of your garden let someone else do it…

How to cope with self-isolation during the coronavirus pandemic

If you’re currently working from home or worried about how to cope with self-isolation during the coronavirus pandemic, here are a few thoughts to keep you moving and keep you sane. I’ll add to them as new ideas spring to mind…

I made a short video today looking at some coping strategies to keep us going in the coming weeks. I grabbed a few books off my shelves in case you’d like to use this time to practice Pilates at home or include some soft tissue release work into your (new) daily routine…

There is so much we can do to manage our feelings at this time, but try not to get overwhelmed by all the suggestions that are circulating (including these!) Just pick one or two things that make sense to you right now and start with those.

We are in a brand new landscape right now (and will likely be for some time to come) so be gentle on yourself – breathe, move, eat, sleep and stay hydrated. If you have more time on your hands than usual, try to put it to good use but remember that doing nothing is sometimes good too.

how can I hlep

I’ll be back with more short videos & thoughts over the coming weeks – let me know if there is anything in particular that I can help with Jx

For updates on how COVID-19 is affecting taylor-made fitness sessions please click here

COVID-19 updates

(updated 21st March 2020 – changes in purple text)

Please find details below regarding changes being made to taylor-made fitness in light of the current situation with coronavirus COVID-19. For the latest Government advice on coronavirus, please click here

I am currently in the process of updating my website to reflect the changes that have been made to taylor-made fitness with regards to coronavirus COVID-19. Please bear with me until everything is fully functional again!

Fitness Pilates and Hi-Li fitness circuit classes:

With effect from Monday 16th March, all in-person group classes have been temporarily suspended and will be delivered as live-streamed or pre-recorded sessions. I have set up a virtual studio in my home so everything is good to go. I will be adding a variety of class options in the coming weeks – please let me know if there is anything you would like me to include.

Please try to carry on with your regular movement practice at home – even if we can’t be in the same space, we can still be collectively exercising at the usual times – physically distant but socially cohesive!

I am going to make a change to the way class bookings are made during this period, so that you will have more flexibility while your finances may be less certain. With effect from April 6th, I will offer monthly subscriptions which will give you access to all my live-streamed and pre-recorded online classes. I hope that you will be in a position to continue supporting me during these changing times, so that taylor-made fitness can still be there to support you once everything is more settled.

I had planned to take a week off 6-13th April but this is currently under review as I’m not sure where I’d go!! I will keep you posted nearer the time and set-up the classes accordingly.

Wellness walks:

At present, I am planning to continue with the Wednesday morning walk as usual and will add an extra walk session on Fridays (details below). In these difficult times, assuming we are not symptomatic, we can all benefit from getting outside and breathing fresh air.

Managing our mental health will be even more vital over the coming weeks and walking is my favourite way to do that. I will be walking and you are welcome to join me if you’d like to.

  • Wednesdays 9-10.30am – meet outside The Old School Hall, Back Road, Sandhurst, Kent – wear wellies or suitable walking boots as all potential routes from here are muddy at present! Dogs welcome.
  • Fridays 9-10.30am – meet by Iden Green pavilion – this will be a circular loop along the quiet lanes; less muddy but also less off-lead options for dogs.

We are lucky to live in a rural setting where we can be outside and away from direct contact with others, even if we are walking in a small, spread-out, group. Here is an article about whether it is still safe to walk, in case you have any concerns: coronavirus and walking

Please note a change to the start time on Fridays (9am instead of 9.15am)

Please do not attend a walk session if you have any COVID-19 symptoms as outlined here or have been in contact with anyone who has these symptoms

There is no charge for these sessions but if you’re planning on joining us please email/text me on the day so that we know to wait for you before setting off. For your own peace of mind, please bring hand gel if you have any as there are no hand-washing facilities available (except puddles perhaps!)

Personal training:

Personal training sessions will continue to be delivered in-person although the following processes will be followed:

  • clients will use their own mats and equipment for their sessions – I will no longer be bringing any items with me and will build sessions around whatever equipment clients have access to
  • I will use hand gel before and after each session as well as using anti-bac wipes on the controls of my van
  • sessions will take place outside at safe distance; where this is not possible we will need to move to live-streamed sessions

PT clients must notify me if they have any COVID-19 symptoms as outlined here or have been in contact with anyone who has these symptoms.

I will be in email contact with individual clients to agree how to proceed and we will continue to review as the situation develops. In the event that clients think they have been potentially exposed to the virus, personal training sessions will need to move to live-streamed sessions. Obviously the same applies if I think have been exposed to the virus.

Sports & clinical massage:

We now have guidance from the Sports Therapy Association which is as follows:

“After spending most of the night reviewing the current Governmental guidance, I have arrived at the conclusion that now is the time to cancel all non urgent appointments and unnecessary social contact , as we are not classed as Allied Health Professionals – that means all clinic appointments, home visits, pitch side commitments and training nights. I’ve shared multiple sources of information over the past few days all of which classifies our role as high risk. I hope that we can look back in several months and say we were wrong and guilty only of overreacting.” Gary Benson Founder of STA

In line with this guidance I feel that my decision to stop offering hands-on treatments from Monday 16th was the best one to take.

Please rest assured that even though I cannot treat you in person at this time, I am still available to offer help as required via online and telephone contact. As well as creating some general self-care release videos that you can use at home, I am also able to offer individual guidance via Skype or Zoom so please reach out if you need my help.

If you have an existing massage voucher, the expiration date will be extended accordingly.

My commitment to you:

This business is my livelihood and my only source of household income, so for sure these are scary and worrying times, as they are for many of you I know. But, more than being my income, this business represents my heart & soul and I am feeling very sad and worried about what might happen to it right now. I know I’m not alone. I know we will get through this. But I’m taking a moment to acknowledge the sadness too.

Today I have been lifted up by the emails & texts of support from all of my lovely clients – thank you so much, it means the world to have that contact. Thank you for your on-going support in uncertain times.

Please keep in touch. Please keep walking. Please (if you can) keep to your usual class schedule at home. Please look after yourselves and your loved ones. Please take time to look up at the sky and plant your feet in the soil. Please take time to lie on the floor and breathe deeply.

I am going to try to keep myself busy creating class content for you and I’ll send regular emails so that you have plenty to keep you busy too. I also plan to complete my L4 Sports Massage course (which is all online) so that I’ll have new skills to share soon. If I get really stir-crazy, I might pack up my dog and a tent and go off-grid for a while…

Hopefully I will see some of you on walks but if not I am here if you need anything – fitness ideas, massage self-care advice, online support, virtual cake & coffee mornings, shopping errands…please shout if you need anything from me at all Jx