• Ruth Towell

Lockdown Reflections - Helen

As we are standing on the turning point of the lockdown being eased in the UK, I decided to embark on a new portrait project. Capturing this moment in time, with reflections from individuals about this season and thoughts about how a post-lockdown world might look.

Each portrait is a window into an individual's life, shot through the window of their home capturing the invisible separation that lockdown brings.

This is Helen, have a read of her story:

"I am a 3rd generation (6th physio in my family!) Chartered Physiotherapist and Company Director of Prestons Health, in Peterborough, based at David Lloyd Club. When the UK government closed gyms it meant that we had to have a crash course in adaption, adapting our working to a virtual platform until the UK Government opens gyms again!

Lockdown has been shared with my husband, working upstairs on Teams calls all day long! Plus my two children, George and Tilly, 10 and 12 who have undertaken online school throughout. Our time as a family during this time has been a learning journey on so many levels. Spending more time in one place altogether with the family has definitely been one of the highs during lockdown.

During half term in May, on a glorious Friday of sunshine, we biked 30km as a family from our village in Thorney (via the green wheel) into Peterborough City Centre, along the river and back. We stopped off for a well-earned and promised Five Guys lunch that had just re-opened for takeaways.

Never, ever, ever would we have done this as a family if it were not lockdown. We would normally be doing this in another country maybe, not from our doorstep. The children were amazed at their feat and it was a very special day. They started getting along after that. It was like a game-changer!

I have found out a lot about myself. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions with highs and lows. When my children are challenged by their learning, I find it incredibly challenging if I cannot help (if it is out of my scope) or because they reject my take on how to help. I am not a trained teacher and the dynamic of changing role, at times, from parent to teacher has been incredibly hard. I have now realised that my role, even now, is not teacher. It is facilitator! Which I have also learnt to accept it will never be perfect. And that’s ok; perfect is the opposite of good.

Running a business at the same time as home schooling has been an immense personal challenge. Adapting the business to work from home, in an intuitively hands on profession, has been a period of creativity and adventure with both our physios and patients. We have laughed, cried and tried new things. Some worked and some didn’t. The purpose of pain is protection and pain is the often the primary reason people come to see us here at Prestons Health. With so much fear and change in our lifestyle behaviours around coronavirus, pain has increased quite significantly in some individuals as the body has gone into “protect mode”. Lack of activity and sleep disturbance can be a primary reason for an increase in pain. And we heard lots of this during our online conversations with our patients.

My patients have adapted brilliantly to the new virtual world. They have used the sessions we have to empower themselves to help their health condition to improve using their own self as their primary resource to do so.  It’s been a revelation.

I feel that I have found joy in the ordinary. Those moments that either didn’t happen before, or I didn’t notice. Like my children getting along for the first time in forever! Seeing the beauty in the mustard flowers in the fields. Listening to a whole 12 hours of an audible book which took me to another world! Like watching box sets on Netflix with my husband and actually finishing them! I am deeply grateful and hope that I can take the essence of those opportunities that have presented themselves to me into the next chapter. Exactly how will be my next challenge.

I have a paradox of thoughts and emotions about the post lockdown period. On one hand, the world could look like a place of previously unseen gratitude and collaboration for good. I’m open to see what the world has to offer. I’m excited and apprehensive in equal measure. I have learnt a lot about acceptance too, accepting the moment for what it is and trying not to over-identify with the emotions it brings. What will be will be."

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© 2020 Ruth Towell