Before lockdown, I always said that adventures don’t happen in your living room.
I keep being asked to write articles about what to do when we come out of lockdown. I’m sorry, but I am just not that interested.
I think everyone has their own reaction to this lockdown. I’m one of the lucky ones who has worked from home for a long time now (If you don’t count world tours, and teaching reflexology).
Like most therapists, I have not been able to see any clients one-to-one, and I must live with the uncertainty about whether we will be able to do that anytime soon.
Am I despondent? Not at all. I have been working on projects I have been thinking about for a long time but not had the time to do. Two years ago, I wrote a “How to do reflexology” book but hated it. I was bored writing it. I was bored proofreading it. I sent it to my graphic designer and she never got round to finishing it. I cancelled the book. I revisited it, and realised I loved chapter 10 which was all about other forms of reflexology. It excited me. At the same time, I noticed on the social media groups that reflexologists often asked “What CPD courses should I do?”
Out of that, I decided that it was time to have a book containing all the different reflexology styles to reflect all the changes that have happened since I began my reflexology career back in 1999.
At the time I had this idea it was Christmas and I was too busy. So I asked all the gurus if they would write a chapter each and when lockdown began I suddenly had the time and head space to pull it all together.
Is lockdown the right time to launch a book?
I agonised whether lockdown was the right time to launch a book. Therapists were out of work and not earning. Should I wait until after lockdown when they were back at work? How long would that be?
I discussed it with everyone I knew. No-one had any idea. Eventually I had the finished book. Once I saw the magic the graphic designer had worked, I was so excited that I decided that I couldn’t wait to launch it. I got caught up in the excitement and just did it anyway.
The day after I sent all the pre-orders out, I felt the fear of “What if they don’t like it?” Again, an agonising few days until the first reviews started coming in. Phew. What a relief. It was worth doing it. We even sold a third of what we expect to sell a year, within the first three weeks. Talk about worrying for nothing!
How many books can you launch during lockdown?
After the success of the Gurus’ Guide Book 1, and because it is still lockdown, I have sent a brief to other gurus to get book 2 and book 3 underway. Am I the only one who hopes lockdown will last a bit longer? That sounds a bit selfish, but you get my drift.
What else is happening purely because it is lockdown? One of my long-term ambitions is to write a book of fiction. I don’t know how to do that, and I am scared of doing it because I read so many fabulous books.
However, I read “How the hell do I write a book” by Vicky Fraser in which she suggests that you write one page a day of your “S####y first draft” and progress your book in “tiny beetle steps”.
Twenty days in I have twenty stories written. I rang my graphic designer and asked what’s the minimum number of pages I need to write to make a book. It turns out that if the pages are small enough, she can turn 20 A4 pages into 60 pages of a book which is the minimum she has of the type of binding I prefer. I will not be stopping at 20 pages, but this is indeed encouraging news.
Can you work online?
Since about 2005 I have had an online foot reading workshop which covers all the theory that you need in order to do a foot reading. Since lockdown, I’ve finally had the time to look at creating the online workshop in another language.
I have been in contact with my former French students to ask for their help in translating my elearning into French. They are enjoying the revision and I am improving my French. Happily, my French colleagues have returned to work which gives hope to us therapists in England.
But there is a downside. This means that I haven’t finished my translation project and will need to find another way to complete it. But without lockdown I wouldn’t be this far ahead with that project or indeed have started it yet.
Should you learn new skills?
I noticed many reflexologists joining a new group set up by Wendy Watson on Facebook in order to experiment with Distance Reflexology. They drew names at 4pm and partnered up with strangers to them.
I became fascinated by all the stories they posted about how they had shared a treatment with someone on a different continent. Both therapist and receiver reported their experiences.
It has been a fascinating thing to watch happen. It is amazing how resourceful we become when we face restrictions and are given enough time and space to look for solutions.
I found that I was working too hard with all the books and learning so I decided I needed to do something to unwind.
At Christmas, my sister bought me a kit to make your own ukulele. With lockdown I have been able to make the ukulele and start to learn how to play it. I am a member of the U3A (University of the Third Age) where retired people share their knowledge and you can learn new skills for next to nothing.
They emailed all their members some sheet music for the ukulele, so I wrote and thanked them and told them about my new ukulele. The next thing that happens is a ukulele teacher from the U3A contacts me and offers me free ukulele lessons over Zoom.
How do you meet new people during lockdown?
Having found a ukulele teacher whilst unable to go out, I started to wonder, how do you meet new people when you are confined to your living room?
The answer arrived in the form of my friend Andy on two separate occasions. On the first occasion, he invited me to a Freemasons Ladies Night via Zoom. We dressed up in our finery and made a real occasion of it.
As a result of that night, I have been invited to give them a talk when we are out of lockdown. The second occasion was when he invited me to join a group that had just started. Every night at 7pm I join them to hear them read a chapter out of one of Syd Banks’s books about The Three Principles, then we discuss it.
Having done it for 80 days straight, it was an amazing way to learn something new and to gel with complete strangers on a deep level. I think the friendships formed in that group will continue long after lockdown is over. I even attended a three principles conference and met people in the breaks as they had set up breakout rooms on Zoom for socialising. Thus emulating the networking that gets done in the breaks at live conferences.
Now that people are getting used to lockdown being the new norm, we’ve been finding ways of doing what we love differently. Some people are working in their pyjamas from home. Others are doing Joe Wicks keep fit sessions in their living room.
Pops and I have been making cheesy live videos on Facebook to promote the new book “The Gurus’ Guide to Reflexology Book 1” and having lots of fun in the process. It seems the more fun we have, the more fun everyone else has. We are probably breaking all the rules about how to be professional but somehow being authentic is working better than being professional!
What is your overall learning from lockdown?
Before lockdown I always said that adventures don’t happen in your living room.
Now I know better!
Jane Sheehan is the UK’s leading foot reader and Amazon best-selling author of “Let’s Read Our Feet!” “The Foot Reading Coach”, “Sole Trader: The Holistic Therapy Business Handbook” and “The Gurus’ Guide to Reflexology”. To find out about her clinic, books and cards, or foot reading workshops see https://www.footreading.com or https://www.lecturedespieds.fr