When we were first put into lockdown, everything I was working on; normal stuff that would take the school and my online massage coaching program forward, was put on hold.

Instead I found myself working fast and anxiously, paddling furiously to keep my head above water, dealing with one crisis after another.

Trying to support, rescue, investigate, reorganize and then to have all these restrictions put in place was very stressful. It was like working in a war zone, ok maybe not that dramatic a comparison, but it was high level stress stuff.

Working like this day after day took its toll on my motivation. It was more than just having to think outside of the box, it was this sense of being in danger, all the time.

I was being asked to think, act and behave relentlessly like an expert, like someone who had all the answers when oftentimes I was just as clueless as the rest of the world; it was exhausting. It zapped my energy and all I wanted to do was take long walks, be in a quiet place so I could think, consider and plan out my strategy. However, more often than not, I found myself in amongst mini fires, trying to put them out; one would sizzle while another would form. This meant I was not having time to think beyond the moment. No time to re-energize. So eventually I shut down, not for long, but long enough to realize I had to prioritize if I was going to survive this madness.

So my world was turned upside down; routine dramatically interrupted, priorities changed and my current plans had to be put aside. I feel for those that are in a situation where they are stuck in a small room, no outside space, little human interaction, and they try to remain motivated, finish coursework, study and keep learning when it is so much easier to flick on the idiot box and watch something that lets you forget. But part of my objective was to help keep students motivated, encourage them to move forward, replace despair with hope, and instil in them that it is about looking ahead. This will all end eventually, and we will come out of this in a better place.

For the most part people were great, they got it, they understood that the intention behind everything that was happening and that we were doing everything with their best interests at heart. It is about survival, continuity, working towards a future. Stopping their training would mean more than just this small part of their world collapsing, its significance would be far more reaching. It is an attitude, it is about resilience, an ability to pick oneself up and keep the momentum moving forward, finding solutions, looking to be a part of a future that holds hope.

This moment in time has shown me who I am, I am a chameleon, I can wear many hats and still be my own person. I have also learnt that I mustn’t let the panic become part of me. I know it will require more than we ever thought possible, but I think we can all do it.

My wish is that everyone works on being the better part of themselves; be forgiving, look beyond yourself, see the bigger picture, understand how our actions can have a far reaching effect. Over the next few days and weeks, try to figure out how you can have a positive impact on others. One thing this has made crystal clear to me is that it is in no way just about me, or even us, this is a global crisis. This is about humanity.

I have found my mojo, bring it on.

Susan Findlay
Susan Findlay

My name is Susan Findlay and like most of the people I teach, I came to sports massage & remedial soft tissue therapy by way of a journey.

My journey began with classical dance and gymnastics back in my home country, Canada. When your body is the tool that you work with, you learn to take notice of it and it was this interest in the human body that led me to retrain as a nurse.

Fast-forward to 1992 and I stepped off the plane onto English soil and my future life. After briefly working for the NHS, I made the choice to be my own boss. Still in the health and fitness field, I worked with GPs and health centres, setting up different schemes for a range of clientele. Holding 20+ classes a week and running multiple health programmes, I discovered a love of teaching and enjoyed the rewards of helping clients to reach a goal.

Sports massage and remedial soft tissue therapy helps to bring all my skills together. I gained my certification in 1996 and began teaching in colleges and lecturing across the UK two years later. Although I am the director (and senior lecturer) of NLSSM, I have never given up the practical side of the profession and I still run my own clinic in North London. Keeping up with the real world helps to keep me inspired and that helps to make me a better teacher.

I’m passionate about providing the very best quality of training and that goes beyond my teaching. I sit on the board of the General Council for Massage Therapies as well as having been a Profession Specific Board member on the CNHC.

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