Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Handing over Holistic Therapists Support Group to new Co-ordinators

Isobel Hamid and I set up Lancaster Local Support Group five years ago, in association with the FHT - the Federation of Holistic Therapists - the largest and leading professional association for complementary, beauty and sports therapists in the UK and Ireland. Having been voluntary Co-ordinators for the group ever since including organising 47 meetings with speakers on a wide range of topics we are stepping down at the end of this year and handing over to new Co-ordinators Sarah Bowers and Fran Leaver. 
From January 2016 they will continue to offer 9 meetings a year at the St John's Hospice (at Beaumont Bridge, Slyne Road, Lancaster, LA2 6ST) though now in the Oak Centre instead of in the Education Room.

I am passing the group on in deep gratitude to all the speakers to date for their time and efforts. Most of our speakers have been local practitioners. We are very lucky to have people with such a range of knowledge and skills in this area. 

I am also grateful to all our lovely attendees, who have made it such a friendly group, whether attending regularly or occasionally, especially those who have made the trip to join us from further afield in North Lancashire and right across South Cumbria.

Lastly, I am very grateful to Fran and Sarah for taking on the work to enable to group to continue, and wishing them all the best and looking forward to seeing what speakers and topics we have in the future. :)

I did have a whole page on this website about the group, but with stepping down I am removing it today, but I wanted to keep a record here as I am very proud to supporting the very many practitioners who have attended regularly or occasionally from not just locally but from further afield in North Lancashire and right across South Cumbria.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Being busy, and looking after my own health and wellbeing

So I recently realised that I've gone all year without doing a blog update!

So, its been a busy year. I started Holistyx nearly 7 years ago, and the first few years it was very slow going getting regular clients. Whenever I meet a discouraged Holistic or Complementary therapist in the first few years of their practice, I tell them that after my first 3 years, building up this business part time while also doing other work to make a living, I had earned so little once my expenses were taken out of my takings I seriously considered giving up, packing it all in. I am so glad that with my partner's support I kept going.

This is the year I have become so in demand I have had to learn what my physical, mental and emotional limits are, and to respect them. I've had burn out before in my previous career, don't want to do that again. I have seen a local massage therapist get such serious repetitive strain injury from overwork that she had to have no clients at all for over a month. I have read the dreadful statistics on drop out rates in the massage profession due to strain and injury. I am determined that's not going to happen to me! So I have set my limits to look after myself.

I had already decided at the end of 2014 that I would have no more than 2 evenings a week where I get home after 8pm, 2 Saturdays a month off, and have Monday mornings to catch up on admin so I sometimes get a full weekend. One less evening a week working late also meant I could start doing a weekly Pilates class to support my core strength and general fitness as well as continuing with my weekly Yoga class. .

As the year progressed I realised I also could not - cannot - do the number of sessions a week I thought I would be able to. I was aiming for 20 every week. I have discovered I cannot sustain that level of workload without my own health and wellbeing suffering, and also the quality of my work. I am aiming for an average of 15 clients a week, with a maximum of 17. I also decided I needed to have no more than 4 clients a day, pretty strictly.

So now with those limits in place, most weeks I don't have any unbooked spaces unless I've had a cancellation and even then it often fills up. I am still not quite used to the fact that sometimes - mostly before or after I take any time off - I get so booked up that I get a waiting list. I am starting to get used to responding to an enquiry from a potential new client and knowing that they may not wish to or be able to wait until I am available - especially as my evenings and Saturdays sometimes get fully booked up 2 or 3 weeks, even a month ahead - and so may choose to go to someone else who can fit them in.


The other thing I have done this year is to practice what I preach and.... get more massage and Reflexology myself! I am having Reflexology every other month, and massage about every 6 weeks.

Last but not least, in terms of looking after my own energy and not trying to do too much... 5 years ago Isobel Hamid and myself started a Local Support Group on a voluntary basis in association with the Federation of Holistic Therapists. Providing education, professional development and mutual support for local therapists in the fields of sports, beauty and complementary therapies.

Each meeting had a speaker on a different topic, and we had an average of 9 meetings a year. 47 meetings later, at the end of this year we are passing the group over to new Co-ordinators. I am looking forward to passing on the responsibility and the work - and also to seeing what speakers they bring to the group!