Disruption brings massive change …. but also POTENTIAL

Blog courtesy og Joanne Dowds, Clinical specialist physiotherapist.

The summer has seen life loosen a little bit. Hopefully like everyone Ihave got to see family and friends(and hairdresser) the general question of how was your lockdown?  Its not the easiest question to answer as the last 6 months has been a sea-change in life and yet nothing has actually happened. My day to day has been a bit monotonous . A wise friend of mine described it as we are all in the same storm only in different boats. Every boat weathered the storm with it’s own challenges and blessings.How was mine…well I survived, without any permanent damage, thankfully.  Extreme swings, as busy as I have ever been in work, with nothing else happening outside so bored and a bit lonely. 9-5 surrounded by people ( all appropriately kitted out), but more often alone. Aiming for innovation and achieving huge work based changes swinging to zoning out in front of hours of TV. Its been 6 distorted months, it both feels like a decade and only last week that I watched a new virus track across the globe.  We might be tired of Covid-19 but I’m not sure it is done with us yet.

Accounting for the time spent and allowing some reflection is a good idea. What did i do over the last 6 months, what worked, what didn’t . Well Iworked… a lot… Like every other front line healthcare staff member. It was hard, challenging, interesting, rewarding and completely unlike any other time I have ever worked through before. I used Zoom for the first time. Initially I loved the medium but it didn’t take too long for the novelty to wear off. It is/was an acceptable way of being included in exercise classes and catching up with people en masse but it isn’t the same. It’s fine, but I am glad to see people face to face again. I cleaned,for a bit. I moved most of my furniture around to make more space for at home exercising. I shopped online, impulsively and possibly compulsively ranging from a onesie to lounge in, to a black tie dress ( was on sale and well,everyone needs a ballgown in a pandemic). Neflix was a saviour,I watched all the talked about series ( tiger king etc) and have worked my way through the complete back catalogue of Fraiser and have now pulled it right back to Cheers. I spent an inordinate amount on vegetables that could only be justified by being hand picked by a princess under a full moon. Didn’t drink for 2 months, then did and suffered heavily.

What worked- rest and its opposite exercise, possibly most important, listening to myself and my body, choosing well.  Sea swimming – it is a joy and an whole embodied experience. Connection albeit remotely. Meditation. Cereal for dinner is perfectly acceptable. What I didn’t do- I didn’t bake, no banana bread, no sourdough. I seemed to lose my concentration, couldn’t read any type of serious work, articles or books – have a stack of books that i kept adding to that are still awaiting my attention. Unexpectedly I have come to appreciate small talk and casual conversations. I have always been ok being by myself but i missed people. I spent  time indoors, I missed the countryside and really felt the lack of a garden. And also killed a couple more houseplants. I did a tonne of zoom yoga classes, from phone in my rearranged bedroom, being  honest I spent a lot of time either in child pose or on the flat of my back zoned out.
Physically exercising with others is different whether it accountability, peer pressure or distance from your bed and a duvet. I am very glad to be back in a studio for socially distant classes. As for the covid 15, I don’t know, I haven’t weighed myself in years. I actually found it had too big an impact on my mood to be a positive objective measure. As i have said previously set your own ideas for what fitness and health look like to you. BMI is a population health tool that doesn’t  work  at an individual level. I know we are Irish but shame is no way to get health change. Closing life down is hard but so is opening it up. Transition is hard and the oscillation between all of these opposite states definitely had a toll, collectively we are getting through. It was and is a huge learning but that extent of disruption brings massive changes but also potential.  In all this uncertainty I hope you can find some little moments of joy, opening parcels, delicious mouthfuls of food, exercise endorphins, chasing a little one on a beach, a beautiful sunset. Whatever got you through is ok with me

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I qualified with an Honours degree in Physiotherapy from Trinity College Dublin in 2004. Since graduating I have worked in St. James Hospital Dublin and have worked in all the areas of speciality within the hospital including cardiorespiratory, orthopaedics, rheumatology, care of the elderly, neurology, burns and plastic surgery among others . I have also completed a post graduate certificate in acupuncture in UCD 2009. The Physiotherapy Department in SJH has strong links with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and I have supervised undergraduate and postgraduate physiotherapy students on practice placements and also delivered lectures on the undergraduate academic programme in TCD. I have a keen interest in all sports and currently plays with Cill Dara RFC 1st team squad, and Milltown GAA. I have previously worked as Physiotherapist to Co. Carlow Senior GAA Team, Milltown GAA, Leinster Junior Rugby Team and Cill Dara RFC. I am an experienced runner and competed in the Dublin City Marathon in 2002. I continue to participate in running events and multisport disciplines such as Gaelforce West, Gaelforce North and the Motivate Challenge. I have a particular interest in strength and conditioning. I utilise this knowledge of resistance training in the treatment of his clients. I am committed to continuous learning and development in order to ensure the optimal level of care is offered to my clients, and with this in mind I am currently undertaking a certification in Strength and Conditioning (CSCS) with the NSCA.

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