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My First Year

And what a year it has been. Who could have foreseen this year happening (and still happening). Probably not the best time to take on a new clinic but hey, we are still here and thanks to all the fabulous people that have helped me out and come to see me these last 12 months.

It has been a great year despite having to close down for 3 months. I feel part of a great community and looking forward to developing the links and expanding these into the future. I think having a practice in a rural setting (and one where I live) allows you to become a part of the community. The building where the clinic is situated has some great businesses alongside. So it feels like a good place that is supportive and helpful. The local network group was also very welcoming and I looking forward to getting back to these once it is up and running again. I also love this area. As you can see from my Instagram posts, I love being out and exploring this wonderful place. I feel so lucky to be living here and having this on my doorstep. After living here for 17 years I still have to pinch myself at times to make sure I am not dreaming when I am standing on Lose Hill (with Pip) watching the sun come up before heading down for breakfast and into work. What a great way to start the day.

Sunrise from the stile just below the summit of Lose Hill

Even though it was hard to have to close it did give me time to spend time with the children and explore our local area. We would go and wander and follow animal tracks, find new paths and places to investigate. I called it home schooling and we linked our adventures to geography, history, science and even did a bit of art when we got home - once the screen time had finished.

Being out on my own, in my own clinic was a bit scary to start with but now I am really happy with the idea. I suppose there is nowhere to hide, you are exposed. But so many colleagues have done this over the years and no reason why I should not be able to do it as well. And it is seems to be working. I think offering a wide range of services from within podiatry and expanding my treatment offerings gives me the ability to treat a wide range of issues using a variety of techniques. This means that I have something to offer for many of the conditions that present and having a great network of other therapists means I can refer onto someone who I think will either be a better option or compliment what I am doing.

There is so much to learn and I enjoy learning new things and being able to add these to my treatments. Helping people move better and more efficiently is the key to what I try and do with people. Just using your body is often all it takes. Break the compensatory movement patterns that have been set up as a protection and many aches and pains improve. This is what I see happening often. Pains that appear for no apparent reason, have no pattern and often move around. Once we have ruled out any medical reason, we have work to restore good health by good movements. We have to break the bodies guarding patterns and this sometimes involved moving through pain. I use manual therapy techniques to either calm down or switch on muscles, release holding tension and then work on rehab to restore the good movement patterns. Often I will show people how to walk again and this is often all it takes. It is a great way to work and one that is evolving as I learn more and do more of this.

One thing that I have really enjoyed this year is finding a deeper connection with nature. I have been reading a lot of books about how nature can help our overall health and well being. There are now so many studies that show being outside in nature and spending time walking in the woods is so beneficial for our health. We cannot disregard this information. If something as simple as taking a walk in the woods can lower our blood pressure, increase our Killer white blood cells (the ones that fight viruses and tumours) and improves our ability to concentrate and focus then we have to take heed of this. You can probably tell that being outside and exploring the countryside is really important to me. This last 18 months I have slowed down and not run as much but walked more and tried to use all of my senses to connect with the area I am walking in. This has been a great journey and I have written about this in a previous blog post. This is one thing I am going to keep doing and exploring this over the years.

So what will this coming year bring? I have a few ideas and talking and working with some great people will hopefully bring some of these together. I suppose writing them down here will be one way of making sure that they will happen.

One thing that is already sort of underway - although this lockdown and a sore calf muscle has slowed progress - is a back to basics for runners. This is a 6 week program of addressing the issues that I commonly come across with runners. It starts in week 1 with learning how to breathe and then progresses through various aspects of running. These running sessions (which are drills based with lots of stops for explanation and trying different things) are suitable for all runners; for those starting off, coming back from injury or getting down to the nitty gritty of running then this is for you. If you want to go on hard-fast, non-stop hour run then this is not for you. These run sessions are complimented by an (optional) yoga session with a fabulous yoga teacher I have recently met called Charlotte Taylor (@just_charlotte_ on Instagram - look her up). So the idea being do the yoga and the then run session. Learn what if feels like to use your body in a different way, to notice when tension is building then learn how to reduce this as you run. It will all come together over the 6 weeks.

I also want to start offering more guided runs and walks to explore the local area. This will be done in conjunction with a couple of other people and will offer a variety of routes of varying distances and speeds. A theme for each session but the main aim is to just enjoy being out in the countryside and seeing new things. We can all learn from each other so hopefully this will become a self functioning group.

I also want my website to be more useful. So how to do running drills and exercises, ideas for walks or runs, local events, that sort of thing. One thing I am becoming more passionate about is protecting and improving our countryside so hopefully this will be something I can get more involved in. So let us hope we have a year where we can meet up again and do the group activities and explore together. Live and learn to be part of where we live and to look after it. Make it a better place for our children, to leave them something they can continue to enjoy and benefit from.

So thank you again all of you who have been involved in helping me get through this first year and I hope we continue to have fun, explore and keep on learning together.

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