Lisa Andrews in conversation with
Nicola Wingfield is a self-employed reflexologist and Thai massage therapist and a mum of two. Lisa Andrews is a freelance writer and editor. Nicola is also my much braver sister.
Note 1: March-May
The two weeks before lockdown were stressful – I’d talked to clients about it, but no one was cancelling. Seeing the news from Italy and Spain made it feel much closer to home and I didn’t know what to do for the best. It was a relief to have clear guidance.
There was a strong sense of helplessness initially – I do what I do to help people; there were all these doctors and nurses doing that and I couldn’t. In the end, I decided to concentrate on home, just being.
I’m not a natural teacher, but I’ve realised it’s better that we have that structure to the day. The kids are happy, which is what matters. Since they were born I’ve worried about money. But the worst happened and we’re okay. I feel like I can drop that. I like the simpler pace and would like to be more structured with my hours when I go back, take more time for myself.
Note 2: May-July
The following conversation occurred in two parts – before and after the government changed the rules for close contact services…
It’s been frustrating. We thought we’d go back to work from 4 July – but the government deemed us ‘close contact services’, alongside nail bars and tattooists. In the meantime, osteopaths and physios, for example, can treat clients because they take stress off the NHS. We make a similar contribution but isn’t formally acknowledged.
Right now, I have no idea when I’ll be able to practice again. It’s depressing, especially when we’re letting people get on a plane with no social distancing. There’s no logic.
So I’m trying to focus on building my knowledge and am considering a more in-depth course with my tutor. I’m also exploring the idea of creating a side business in candle making. I’m thinking it’s good to have different strands and working out what fragrances and containers I want to use, what sort of branding has been quite creative and fun.
The change in the rules came very suddenly – I felt very giddy and couldn’t concentrate that evening. There was definite relief at being able to earn money again but also just knowing I could help people who had been desperate for treatment. I’ve been fully booked since, although I’m managing my time more now, so I’m as busy as I want to be. The kids were still doing school work my first week back but they’ve been brilliant.
Note 3: July-August
It’s been busy, which is good, but the kids are back at school and we’ve already had sore throats. It’s going to be a long winter. Trying to keep up with the constant changes in policy is exhausting.
Business has been busy ever since they relaxed the rules on close contact services, which is great. I’m also starting a new candle-making business. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while – I did all the research but at the time it felt like one thing too many. Setting up a business is hard work; there are a lot of decisions to make. The labels have just arrived, which is exciting – makes it feel real – and I’ve had some pre-orders.
Then there’s the course – that’s teaching me new therapies and approaches to my business. There’s a lot of homework so I have to be super organised. But it’s in the back in my mind that if we go into lockdown again, I need these other things.
Looking back on the past 26 weeks, I think we’re more relaxed as a family, which is a nice surprise. It’s changed my attitude to money as well – less worry but also a recognition that it’s okay to be ambitious. There’s been a lot of time for reflection, recognising that I’ve already built one successful business, why not do it again?