Shed Talk - Self Care and Being Kind to Yourself by Ann Foley

Hi all,

I’ve been invited to write a piece about health and wellbeing. As a massage therapist and reflexologist, I believe that self-care and being kind to yourself should be at the top of everyone’s list.

These last few months have been hard for us all in one way or another. Whether that is because you’ve had to work at home AND teach children (I take my hat off to you if you fall into this category), you’ve not been able to see loved ones for a kiss and a hug or maybe you’ve not been able to work during the lockdowns or you’ve lost your job. If you come under one of these headings, or are having a different experience, the time has come to look at your self-care.

Self-care can take many forms; cooking yourself a gorgeous meal, having a regular massage, having your nails done, losing yourself in a book, having a well-deserved sleep in or ensuring you have time to exercise regularly.

My usual self-care routine would be to have a regular massage (at least once a month), reflexology treatments and a facial every couple of months, that has all gone out of the window – I’ve not even had my hair cut for 13 months!! - if you see a woman with very big hair walking down the street, that’s probably me!


But that’s not to say I haven’t been kind to myself, first of all I’ve turned the notifications off on my phone. This is a BIGGY, especially if you’re constantly being bombarded with news about Covid-19 or you’re always seeing posts about your friends and their kids making the tastiest cakes ever and having THE best time. This is when your anxiety levels are going to start soaring and self-doubt will become a regular visitor.

Most people see me as a positive person but when we went into Lockdown 3, although I was expecting it to happen and I thought I was mentally prepared, it really threw me. I’d made a long list of things I wanted to do, including cleaning the house, studying and painting the bathroom but I really could not motivate myself to do anything. At first, I was quite harsh with myself but then realized I was grieving: I couldn’t work, and I couldn’t help my lovely clients, so I decided to help myself by giving myself permission to sit and read or watch tv (which is something I rarely do during the day) or just sit and do nothing, it was very liberating.

Taking the pressure of myself worked. I can’t say I’m making fabulous cakes and I haven’t painted the bathroom yet, but I have cleaned the house (more than once!), I’ve started my studying and I’m making time to exercise – with occasional online Pilates and yoga sessions, gentle stretching and walking every day.

I love walking! It’s free and makes you feel fab. And you never know who you might meet for a socially distanced chat.

Yesterday I walked 6 miles out across the fields but today, well today I’ll be walking around the village. That’s the great thing about walking, you can go as near or as far as you want and Brixworth is a lovely village to discover.

I love the view across the fields from Woodsfield and Froghall and whilst you are down in the old village, have a wander around the outside of our gorgeous church and spend some time reading the old gravestones, there’s so much history there.

If you don’t fancy walking for walking’s sake, why not follow the Brixworth Heritage Trail and find out more about our old village, who knew we had so many pubs?

There's a blue plaque I particularly like, it makes me smile every time I read it, although I’m pretty sure it’s not part of the official trail! You can find it on Northampton Road.

Why am I advocating walking as your self-care? Well, it is something most of us can do, it doesn’t cost the earth (environmentally or financially) and getting out in the fresh air will clear away your cobwebs and bring a little peace to your mind.

I’ll be back with some more (hopefully helpful) tips but in the meantime get on your shoes, boots or trainers, grab your coat and give your body and soul a little self-love.

Ann Foley

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