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So long 2020 and Happy New Year 2021!

There are just over 10 hours left of this truly bizarre year. I certainly couldn’t have predicted what 2020 would bring. At the end of each year, I like to do a wee review and reflect on the year’s events. Throughout this year, I have found myself with conflicted emotions about the lockdown and subsequent levels of restrictions. The first lockdown in March was scary and full of unknowns - it was the first time in my adult life I had experienced my loss of freedom to work and to see my friends and family. I worried about the impact the isolation would be having on my friends, relatives and patients, particularly those living alone or clinically vulnerable. I worried about my older two children who were supposed to be sitting exams - and my eldest who was supposed to be going to University. I worried about our financial state and my business and my husband’s and when we’d be allowed to get back to work. All this worry was set against a backdrop of terrifying news bulletins full of gloom and doom.

However, in spite of all the worry - we enjoyed one of the best Springs I can remember. We had weeks of good weather and time to spend with our household away from the stresses of school and work. I am very aware of how fortunate I am to be living in a nice house with a garden and my 4 favourite people (and two daft, cuddly cats). My eldest left home to go to University in September, so lockdown gave us some precious family time to spend together before he left a Sam shaped hole in our house. Another of my children hadn’t been having a very good time of it at school early last year, so lockdown gave a much needed break with time to regain some self-confidence in the bosom of the family. And, I had time to spend tackling a gigantic bed of weeds back into the vegetable patch it had once been.

Professionally, lockdown also gave me time to take a step back and evaluate where my acupuncture practice was and the direction I would like it to take. I had time to attend a great many online CPD (Continuing Professional Development) events which meant I came back to work reinvigorated and full of new and consolidated knowledge. It also gave my the nudge I needed to finally make the break from my Edinburgh practice. Although I was sad to leave the lovely patients and colleagues, it has been an incredibly positive move. My Aberfeldy practice is flourishing and certainly benefits from my energies being more focussed in one place rather than scattered across two.

As for the future, well, necessity as they say, is the mother of innovation – and this is true of the direction my practice will take in the coming year. The pandemic opened my eyes to the vulnerability of my livelihood and it’s dependence on being a face-to-face way of working. I was able to offer some level of continuity of practice to my patients with telehealth sessions during the first lockdown, but this doesn’t suit everyone. The main reason people come to me after all is for acupuncture – which cannot be done remotely – no matter how much darts practice I get in! Whilst I have been able to return to face-to-face practice with enhanced hygiene measures and with the hope of the pandemic eventually coming to an end with the vaccination programme being rolled out, I am nevertheless keen to do some future proofing. I am passionate about supporting and improving health naturally and providing an alternative to pharmaceuticals and the unwanted side-effects they can bring. Early in the new year, I am hoping to do another post-graduate diploma this time in Integrative Functional Nutrition to enhance my knowledge of using food as medicine and to better understand micronutrients influence on our wellbeing. The majority of the course is online, so I’ll still working in my practice whilst studying on my days off. I’m really looking forward to it as I have always integrated some level of nutritional information as part of my practice to my acupuncture patients and this will give me the chance to formalise and enhance my learning I this area.

And for the future on a more personal level, it looks as though there will be more of the same treading water for the time being, patiently waiting for the loosening of restrictions… Dreaming of a time when I can see more than one friend at a time and see members of my family I haven’t seen in so long. A time when I can actually plan a holiday and book tickets to the cinema, the theatre, a gig… Oh the possibilities I so look forward to when all this is over… I hope that 2021 brings some better news and better times for you all. Happy new year!

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