Life Under Lockdown
A GLOBAL PANDEMIC AND NATIONAL LOCKDOWN
When the possibility of a national lockdown due to the looming pandemic was first verbalised in February, I became increasingly concerned about my clients, many of whom were elderly, often living alone and very dependent on social outings including excursions to shops, for meals or coffee, bingo, talks or other social activities that provided their social life. I feared that they could be facing life alone with their television.
So, I started the morning virtual ‘Coffee Club’ via Zoom that provided the sort of chats that one might have when meeting up with friends for a casual cup of coffee. It started small but grew rapidly and led to many requests for me to also provide more structured talks around specific topics. I originally started these ‘Evening Talks’ on Facebook Live but after a few short weeks, Facebook blocked me. I can only assume that I said something that they didn’t like! I then began to hold these talks every evening at 6:00 pm via Zoom. I am committed to keeping these going whatever it takes because I feel communication is the fuel that feeds our learning and human growth.
When I was in Australia, it was common to find people talking about reincarnation, exploring it and the ideas of spirituality, just as frequently as they talked about religious beliefs. When I returned to the UK in 1996, it was rarely discussed and even less rarely considered to be credible. This has changed radically in the last couple of decades and we have lively debates and discussions on this topic every Sunday evening which people are finding both interesting and helpful.
NEW WEBSITE AND THE PLANNED VIDEO LEARNING COURSE
In the spring and summer of 2020, I had developed my new website and planned the Video Learning Centre. This was to sit alongside the clinic and practice section (CanSurvive Resource Centre) and Xtra Health (the supplement dispensary) on the website. We planned to record a series of general interest videos which could be accessed via a general membership to the Learning Centre on my website. These general interest videos were designed to be free and available to anyone who was on our mailing list. We hoped in this way to encourage membership to anyone who was interested in cancer, and particularly in the Metabolic Approach to Cancer Support, and explore the possibilities that are available for people diagnosed with cancer but which are generally difficult to discover.
We then planned to have a professional membership section for which there would be a small fee. Anyone could join but this was really intended for practitioners and final year nutrition students who were considering specialising in cancer or who just wanted to learn more to increase their knowledge on the topic either to support themselves, friends, family members or clients who were either diagnosed with cancer or just looking to prevent a diagnosis in the future. I had planned to record various seminars that would be available to professional members. The content would be more technical and with more of a theoretical and biochemical background.
One of the victims of these past six months has been the video learning project, but that may yet come to fruition. From time to time I have, with permission, recorded some of the Coffee Club talks and discussions. However, they would take quite a bit of editing as they intermingle with the stories of the participating individuals, some of which is often too private for the purpose.
WITH THE ADVENT OF LOCKDOWN THINGS CHANGED…
Two of my stalwart and much valued assistants retired to their homes and families, understandably choosing to be locked down with their loved ones. Working remotely, one focused on formal business administration, accounts and financial matters. The other focused on education and seminars. They have both been very supportive and this has worked well. A third, and very intermittent part-time assistant and full-time friend and IT expert have also been able to work from home and while there has been little for him to do, somehow we managed without his physical presence. The reception and practice assistant chose to leave entirely, knowing that she would miss the daily meetings and interchange with both the clients and other assistants and that it would be difficult to carry out her tasks from home.
Clearly, this was not the time to look for and recruit a new member for our team. So, it was clear I would have to take over her duties and somehow do two full-time jobs. This meant a steep learning curve as I took hold of the general office admin, finding my way around both the physical and IT files and systems, the booking of clients, taking and processing orders, mastering the stock control and invoicing programme, the Parcelforce system and the relatively heavy physical activity of packing and lifting parcels that my fractured back did not appreciate!
I also had to deal with calls on four phone lines, one fixed, two cordless and one mobile, all in different parts of the house. With my dodgy spine (after the previous year’s bus accident), I soon realised I would never get to the phone-sets in time to gather up each call and so started to wear a large ‘bumbag’ with all the handsets. I also had to leap (stagger!) up and down a tall flight of stairs multiple times per day, as we had set the place with my practice and desks etc, on one floor and the admin on the floor below.
Initially, it seemed as if patient numbers, and so client bookings for consultations, would go down. But after a couple of weeks – a respite for which I was supremely grateful – client numbers returned to normal. People realised I was continuing with consultations as before, though now by Zoom rather than face to face. This kept the pressure on me as I was frequently booked ahead for two or even three weeks in advance. I could have turned people away, but I was definitely not comfortable with this and was determined, somehow, to manage, even though it meant booking clients in seven days a week instead of five. In fact, for the next five months, I did nothing but rush along a fast-moving conveyor belt, as I tried to keep up with all I had to do. I never started later than 8.30 am in the morning and rarely finished before 11.00 pm at night. I missed many meals and rarely even had time to put makeup on. However, in an odd sort of way, I did enjoy the challenge and was delighted that I could keep up with it. I also realised that without it, and without my usual evening activities, mostly centred around professional meetings and talks, with their associated social gatherings, I might have found life somewhat dull.
August approached and all the earlier plans for my milestone 80th birthday went by the board due to the restrictions on socialising. However, with the determined initiative of the Coffee Club group they managed a group of reduced celebrations over adjacent days. The cards, presents and expressions of goodwill, warmth and appreciation were heart-warming and much appreciated.
After that, things were settling down a bit and after five months of this hectic life, I was able to both advertise for and train a new office assistant for XtraHealth. After a couple of nearly disastrous starts, we finally found and hired an excellent replacement. The receptionist part I continue to do myself, and I’ve been surprised at how well we have managed. It is amazing how much more efficient one can be when one has to!
In addition to all of this, I was spending over 14 hours per week on Zoom calls, covering and answering the various questions asked by attendees and exploring the talks and discussion topics outlined below.
On the positive side, and balancing this, was the completion of a project started a couple of years earlier. I had been encouraged, somewhat against my inclination, to write my autobiography. I was quite sure people would not be interested in this, I am not, after all, a particularly or publicly well-known individual. However many of the students, both at the various colleges where I have taught, and at my seminars and the more recent members of my online Zoom community, pointed out that, all the case histories and professional anecdotes that I speak of while explaining topics, have given them an increased insight to the roles of naturopathy and psychotherapy. I was finally persuaded that my career path could possibly be of interest as professionally I have had a very mobile and interesting life, enthusiastically picking up and proceeding with all the various opportunities that have come my way.
SEMINARS AND WORKSHOPS OVER THE YEARS
These seminars were typically held over one or two days on the weekend for a small charge.
Given the concern for health and safety due to the virus, I have started to offer some of these popular seminars as a series of online tutorials. We are just finishing the Four Temperaments. The tutorials have taken place on four consecutive Sundays, from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. If you are interested in tutorials on any of the below topics, please let us know by emailing your interest to email@example.com.
Understanding the Four Temperaments and Personality Types
This enables people to understand others. This seminar is for everyone – for professionals to help them understand and relate with their clients, for those who wish to improve relationships by understanding the unique characteristics of both themselves and others and work towards developing the best of them.
Unique Metabolic Needs
People are unique and there is no one diet that suits all. In fact, a diet that helps one person can lead to serious health problems for someone else. Nor is there one perfect diet for a specific disease, whether it’s diabetes, heart disease or even cancer. Most people with cancer are too “acidic” while others are in fact too “alkaline.” It is vitally important if you want to achieve optimum health, that you follow the diet best suited to your metabolic type. This also extends to nutrients. There is no standard level of nutrients that we all need. A study reported decades ago showed that some people required 200 mg of calcium, while others required 1200 mg.
Very few people would argue that stress is a contributing factor to poor health in general and certainly to cancer. Yet, there is no such thing as stress! There is only the individual’s response to stressors, what they say to themselves and what they choose to believe is true. This being so that you can take control and change your response, an approach that permeates these workshops.
This is a fun and relaxed workshop whereby people learn and uncover behaviours that are not helping them and learn how to change them to more positive behaviours.
A useful technique for sorting out what matters most to you. You can then stop many worries and concerns squirrelling around in your brain and causing you to get your guts in a knot. Having achieved this, you can focus on your top values and priorities and lead a calmer, happier and more productive life.
The Advanced Cancer Care Course
We have run this course five times in different formats. It is limited to practitioners and final year nutrition students, as people need a background such as this on which to build their understanding of the course.
I welcome you to join my online community!
The morning Coffee Clubs are open to anyone with the slightest interest in cancer or other current health issues that they would like to discuss, or about which they would like to learn more.
Caveat: These are all intended to be purely informative and educational talks and discussions. They are not a replacement for consultations or the place to ask questions about, or advice for, an individual’s health or health care.
None the less, cancer is largely a problem of our poor diet, poor lifestyle and exposure to toxins, plus an overload of stress. Therefore, resolving cancer means resolving or correcting these factors, and for the most part, in ways that are general and applicable to most people.
Until Lockdown and the start of this program, if a client left the office and then had more questions re procedures or the application of various recommendations, they had to wait for, and pay for, their next consultation. With the formation of our program of Coffee Club Talks and Discussions, they can now join online, up to twice per day seven days a week – all of them if they wish – and ask general questions or join in the discussions.
Weekly Free and Open Online Meetings:
Coffee Club Chats Monday – Friday mornings at 9:00 am, and Evening Talks every evening at 6.00 pm.
These hour-long meetings have developed into fun, interesting and informative
chats and discussions on a wide range of subjects.
The link for these events is posted on the homepage of my website http://www.xandriawilliams.co.uk/ each Sunday evening for the following week. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are on my mailing list, you will receive the link via email each Sunday afternoon.