Covid 19: Social Distancing, Panic Buying and Breaker of Businesses

When I get anxious, I stress eat… I mean really stress eat! It doesn’t occur to me how much sugar, how much caffeine,
how much anything I am putting in my body. And I don’t think about the inevitable consequences I am going to face in a few weeks- it just doesn’t matter at the time.

However, in the current climate of the dreaded COVID-19 and all its devastating effects, it looks like I’ve gone the
opposite way. Food doesn’t mean much anymore, I’m drinking protein shakes just to get something down and in the
evening I am forcing a meal down to get some nutrients. I will feel terrible in days to come if I don’t.
It’s funny how our bodies work in times of stress. I don’t think of myself as a stressed out person usually- I have anxious episodes as I’m sure most people do. But after my initial freak out, I remember this: “ For every problem you encounter, there is always a solution”.

I have heard this saying a thousand times during my life. But it wasn’t until I did a CPD course for gel nails a good eight years ago that it spoke out to me. Why then, I do not know. It was a Calgel nail course for crying out loud, but my tutor told me (after I mucked something up during my qualifying assessment and was having a right tizz-wozz that the gel had already set so I would have to start the whole thing again rah, rah, rah…) that with Calgel, there was a solution to everything. I took her word, thought about what I needed to do to rectify the situation and went on pass my assessment with flying colours. Ever since then, this has stuck with me and I have since tried to apply it wherever I can.
Now, such a simple thing like this, you wouldn’t expect to have such an impact but it did!

“And so it begins…”

Back to the current situation (or rather, major global problem…) following the original outbreak of coronavirus, I had my positive head on. If you didn’t already know, as well as running Eternal Therapies, I am also a dance and aerial instructor.

This term was the run up to our next ballet exam session at Dance Fusion so I was kept rather busy preparing our students for their exams. This weekend just gone was their chance to shine and as many teachers would be, I was made up with joy to see them achieve so much. I do stress during the run up to exams, not for any other reason than I want my students to do their best whilst enjoying the whole process. Like I always tell them, “leave the worrying part up to me”.

I love teaching in every way possible, the feeling you get seeing your students achieve things they never thought they would be able to do and just being in a position to able to help people in such a way is liberating. Dance Fusion gave me fantastic opportunity 6 years ago and I have never looked back.

So up until Sunday, exam day, everything felt normal. I wasn’t worried at all, it was a case of “if it comes to lockdown, we go into lockdown and that’s just how it is”. It didn’t occur to me what else might happen. Heather, Dance Fusion owner, had thought of absolutely everything when “you know what” first entered the scene. She had me set with Dettol cleaners, alcohol wipes, you name it. Props were out of use unless we could clean them and all other special precautions taken.

As I set up for my usual Monday classes I suddenly felt a deepening pit in my stomach watching alerts ping up on my phone about new regulations that the government were setting in place- it all started to feel very real and disconcerting… Dance schools are technically classed as social clubs as well being an educational source so we were advised to stop classes, effective immediately that night. This was 3 weeks before the end of term. It was by far the most sensible idea with the school spread around the county. With the risks increasing of more people becoming possible carriers of COVID-19 and with both students and teachers being at possible risk of contracting it, it was by far the safest option.

Heather is one who never shows her worry and just gets on with things and the next thing we were doing was booking the hall to film as much syllabus work as we could for our students to practice at home whilst we couldn’t be there for their physical dance classes. Thoughts for next term in place, possible online lessons and lots of stretching, pilates and conditioning exercises available to keep all the students ‘dancing fit’. The thought of not getting back to normal dance classes until September is daunting but we will do what we need to do to keep business going!

“And so it continues…”

On the spa events side, I was swimming through what felt like an endless stream of emails first thing on Monday and Tuesday morning requesting refunds for pre-booked treatments at holiday cottages all over the place. (Oh shit!) After our best profiting month in February, suddenly it dawned on me that that was about to change and my business that I have worked so hard to grow literally from nothing (I’ll write that story in a future article) is about to fall flat on its face. Luckily I was up to date with paying therapists wages and it could have been whole lot worse. At the time, this didn’t feel the case.

After spending a morning responding to emails and setting up refund procedures I was ready to have a complete meltdown- in the space of 2 weeks I had gone from the positive “everything will be okay and I can sort this ” mind strong being that I like to think I am a lot of the time to complete gibbering wreck “I don’t know how I will recover from this/ there is nothing else I can do to help this situation”. Thinking about it now, I actually couldn’t be more

The thing is, by this time, the world has gone mad, panic buying food and toilet roll as if we are bound for a food shortage…it was like becoming an adventurer in the wilderness just to find a piece of chicken for tea!

“More businesses set to close to help stop the spread of coronavirus with immediate effect.”

“All hope is almost gone…”

During the last few days I have been so lucky to still be able to train and continue instructing at the pole and aerial studio I work at. Pure-Studios is run by Annie Norris- pole goddess and another fabulous business owner. She has also taken lots of sensible precautions regarding social distancing which has enabling her studio to safely stay open for now at least until the government say otherwise.
Pure-Studios has become my absolute haven over the last few years. I feel so honoured to be an instructor at this amazing place. It gives me that same liberating feeling that dance teaching does. It doesn’t feel like work! Neither does the spa, I am so lucky to be able to call all my jobs my hobbies!
Although with my eating being minimal the last few days due to the stresses that have been thrust upon us elsewhere I could at least try to take out my frustrations on my latest competition routine that I am working on currently and it has, at least for the 4 minutes that the routine lasts, it has allowed me to cut myself off from the outside world. This worked for me up until Thursday and then I increasingly found that I couldn’t think of anything else.

On Friday came the news that all restaurants, pubs and gyms had to shut down and the studio with them. Gutting isn’t the word. I am feeling so disheartened- not just for me but everybody this is affecting, jobs have been lost altogether, postponed… it bloody well sucks! That’s me putting it politely. Similarly, Annie had clever plans for online classes consisting of strengthening/conditioning, chair dance routines, dance workouts, handstand training, all that could be followed at home and that could be adapted for small spaces. For us instructors, these could be taught from home too
should we go into lockdown- what a plan!
A truly devastating circumstance to be in but again, she is doing what she can to make business continue. None of us know how long this will go on for so we need to do the best we can.

“”What the hell do I do now…?!”

We come to today. It’s Saturday. My morning, like many of my friends, has been spent mainly slumping in bed and then curling up in a ball to the sofa…feeling very sorry for myself and those around us. After A LOT of tears shed this week I have finally found my motivation to get started on ideas for building my business and supporting others during this crisis. There has to be a way to turn this negativity into positivity right?
Don’t get me wrong, as soon as someone asks if I’m okay- the waterworks start flowing and I’m pulled back to reality and so many times I have found myself fighting to hold it together and failing. I am scared. Very scared. Of the disease, of the effects it is having on my business and other income, the thoughts that if I contract it, being asthmatic, it could make me seriously ill, of how long this could go on for. I am scared of the whole reality and uncertainty of it all.

“We can get throught this!

In light of the, I feel, inevitable lockdown we are preparing for, I have started to slowly pull myself together and think more positively. Going back my original statement- “for every problem you encounter, there is a solution” So… what is the solution to this problem??
Today I sat down to write my to-do list (I do love a good list) and put my brain in gear and asked myself these questions:
1) What can I do to help my business whilst it is essentially on hold for what could be
up to 6 months?
2) What can I do at home to distract me from what’s happening in the outside

The main thought inside my head being- keep advertising your business and
supporting other businesses too- this can’t last forever.

Things you can do to help your business:
• Get creative with new social media posts you can post online to keep your news feed alive.
• Blogs, videos, tutorials of anything that your clients would love to see. I personally have been very lax with this recently so maybe this couldn’t have come at a better time to make me do these things!
• Talk about future plans with your customers. Allow them to get involved. What would they like to see more of?
This is just a handful of things that will keep you ticking over during this time. On a side note, don’t have Netflix or your TV playing in the background whilst you are working…it’s taken me 7 days already to write this piece and surely without The Hunger Games trilogy distracting me it would have taken half that time. In other words- schedule some quiet time to do these things- don’t be like me! (Don’t be Beth!)

Other things that are on my ever-growing to-do list include the following:
• Make our flat more saleable, yes, this was meant to be the time that me and my husband move house…but on the plus side, it has given us more time to give the place a good tidy through and throw out any last bits that we don’t need to move with us.
• Start boxing things up ready for when we do move (or maybe not…I’ve been meaning to do that for the last month or so and that still hasn’t happened so we’ll put that down to a pipe dream!)
• Keeping healthy and EATING PROPERLY (that’s shout out to myself right now). It is so important for maintaining a positive outlook- they say you are what you eat and I totally believe it.
• Keep your water levels up- remember our bodies are made up of approximately 60-65% water so it’s important to stay hydrated.
• Keep an eye on your vitamins- any pesky vitamin deficiencies can sneak up on you out of nowhere and cause havoc with your mindset.
• A spot of decent exercise will help too so get yourself out on a calm walk in the fresh air- it’s amazing what simple things like this can do for you. Lots of places including Pure-Studios and Dance Fusion are offering online sessions which will benefit your health and mental wellbeing so get yourself booked on to some of these.
• Plan ahead! Look at holidays you want to go on, places you want to visit, things you want to do, classes you want to start. It’s important to have stuff to look forward to.
• Don’t get wrapped up in social media about the crisis. Only trust information you know to be true and comply with the regulations we have been given and this will hopefully blow over sooner than we know it.
• Check on your loved ones, they will be feeling as worried as you are. We have so much technology at our fingertips and often don’t appreciate it. Give them a call, Instagram, Facebook, anything. Stay in contact.

All in all, keep yourself busy. Don’t give yourself time to think about it.
I may not be making any money whilst doing these BUT it will all still benefit me when we find our new ‘normal’ and get the spa events back up and running again.

“Don’t stay in bed, get up, get dressed and make this work for you.”

I have, since started writing this, had to continue to make further refunds which have broken business further. I have however created a new mindset for myself to ride the storm out. I should add what a fantastic job the NHS are doing and that we are extremely lucky to have the healthcare that we have, I’m not sure that it’s always appreciated as much as deserved. If we comply with the regs that the government is setting, the NHS won’t suffer. This will pass if we work together!
I feel I need to share this with other individuals who may be feeling as lost and helpless with loss of business as I do. I wanted to give people some hope and a sprinkle of positivity and say there is help at hand and even when times are feeling really bleak- it won’t be like this forever and that for every problem you encounter, there is always a solution. Stay strong and stay healthy. Big virtual hugs to all who are in this dreadful position.

We can and we will get through this!!!