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How to cope with winter

Are we over half way through the pandemic now; no one knows? As we face rising coronavirus cases and a return to countrywide lockdown for Wales what have we learnt to help us hang on until spring?

Let’s trust that next year we will be returning to more ‘normal’, less restrictive ways of living. It’s difficult to stay positive in the face of increasingly short grey days and falling temperatures. Christmas may be unrecognisable; let’s hope we can be with some of our close family and friends.

New ways of working

Personally after completing courses, risk assessments, changing clinic locations and developing new protocols it was great to return to work in July. I feel I have been on a huge, exhausting learning curve. Phew!

Clinic rooms are more ‘zen’ (read ‘empty’) to facilitate through cleaning between patients.

My current clinic, as of the time of writing
My current clinic, as of the time of writing

Reducing contact time, paperwork and cash handling became paramount. Treatments have a ‘room airing’ gap after. My well behaved patients can now complete a COVID screening questionnaire online (along with other admin). Payment is made in advance and patients bring a blanket with them and their own water bottle.

Treatment objectives are planned in advance. In my acupuncture work, it is helpful to see a patients tongue so I ask for a photo of this in advance. As we both need to wear masks on the treatment premises it isn’t always as easy to see expressions and understand non-verbal signals but treatments do seem to be effective. Reviews make all this extra work worthwhile.

fter 48 hours if either of us develop symptoms we must advise and act. Keeping up with national and local restrictions is vital and my membership body has a designated COVID email address which responds promptly to queries. It has proved invaluable.

Everyday life

On the one hand our lockdown in March was such a huge unknown; we had no frame of reference for what was coming. The weather helped and the chance to catch up, ‘nest’ and slow down was embraced. Now however we are going into winter and the future looks pretty uncertain. So what can we do?

It’s not worth wasting time and energy fighting what we can’t change. We can plan ahead, be kind and dignified in how we deal with this. Make sure you have warm, weatherproof clothes so you can still get daily fresh air and observe the changing seasons. Have you got plenty of snuggly blankets, candles, cheerful indoor plants and reading, listening and watching material to hand? Stock up on aromatic bath products to enjoy the home spa experience.

Some structure to your week is helpful. Book in regular family online catch ups and friends dates. The Christmas light switch on in my area is online this year. Can you still meet a friend outside, well wrapped up and around a fire with a hot toddy perhaps?

How about some help seeing the positive side of things; I completed a 10 day happiness course; it was free, not onerous and very helpful. Garden centres and outdoor markets are still open in some areas at the time of writing.

Ultimately we need to observe guidelines and do what feels right to protect ourselves and others. Stay sane and safe! Hx