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Take time out for yourself this Christmas

The carol O Little Town of Bethlehem contains the line ‘the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight’. For all of us, regardless of the carol’s religious associations, they are words that have special significance as we draw towards the end of a year that has been like no other in living memory.

2020 exits stage right leaving in its wake a strange legacy indeed.

For many it has been an incredibly difficult year of ill health or loss or both. There have been financial hardships, harsh economic realities and practical limitations that have triggered anxiety, fear and loneliness.

None of us have been completely immune to the impact of Covid-19. Here at The Acupuncturists we were forced to completely suspend our services for three months of the year and treat only urgent and high need patients during November.

And whilst that has been challenging for us as a business, our primary concern throughout has been the deprivation of day-to-day care that our patients have faced.

For many of the people who rely on us, acupuncture is a treatment that can be the difference between feeling well and not, between happiness and sadness, between leading a fulfilled life or not.

Like many businesses we offered whatever remote support we possibly could in a virtual format via video or by telephone consultation.

But proud as we are of the efforts we made to be there when our patients new and old needed us, the fact remains that there really isn’t an effective substitute for acupuncture delivered in person at the clinic.

I said Covid’s legacy was strange, and what I mean by that is that whilst the impact of lockdown on all areas of life has been unremittingly tough, it has also been an opportunity for reflection and review.

One of the trends that emerged from the spring lockdown was a sudden surge in the residential housing market as people who had been forced to live almost exclusively within the confines of their homes reassessed their need for both indoor and outdoor space.

The rising infection and death rates also brought home to many of us the fragility of good health and laid bare the way in which we previously took life for granted. As a result, many people are perhaps more inclined now to look at their health as something deserving of investment of both time and money.

I think 2020 has also encouraged us to be more grateful than we had been for what we have, whether that’s the gift of good health, family and companionship, or the material and practical benefits of a job and a roof over our heads.

Now that a vaccine is in the process of being rolled out, there is a brighter light on the horizon.

As the government is quick to point out, we’re not out of the woods yet, and even when coronavirus is under control there will be other challenges in 2021 that we will need to overcome together – Brexit not least among them.

Christmas is a good time of the year, and while we all need to remember that a large proportion of the country does not observe this Christian festival, its overriding message of hope and goodwill is one that we all probably share. Certainly, it’s one in which we can all find common ground after the year we’ve had together.

Traditionally, of course, Christmas has also often been associated with stress, anxiety and exhaustion as we run full pelt to spend time with family, see friends and generally try to juggle a thousand and one commitments over the course of December.

While the government has relaxed the restrictions that are currently in place across the UK for a few days over the Christmas period, the inability to mix with friends and family, whilst hard for those who are alone or who rely on family, also offers an opportunity to relax, recharge and reset.

All our hopes for 2021 are that it is a better year than the one we have just experienced. But as I’ve already said, there will be challenges that will need to be met and we will have a better chance of meeting them if we can face the year ahead with renewed energy.

So, whether you observe Christmas or not, take time over the next three weeks to indulge your own care and needs.

Reflect on what has been good about 2020 without dwelling on the things that haven’t gone so well. Resolve to be as kind as possible both to yourself and to others. Recommit to putting self-care at the top of your own personal agenda.

Above all, face 2021 with a sense of renewed hope, where your health and wellbeing take priority so that you have the greatest possible chance of making the most of the opportunities that the year will undoubtedly bring.

If you’d like to find out how acupuncture can be part of your journey to better wellbeing during 2021, please do get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.

Wishing you peace and joy. You’ve earned it.


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