By now most of us are experiencing cabin fever. We are trying to find stability in a world where every day the laws and rules that govern us are ever-changing due to COVID-19. For many, the problems that we were experiencing only a month ago are no longer of importance. A month ago, my problem was that I was overwhelmed and stressed from my full-time job as a Family Therapist and my part-time private practice that was fairly new. I was giving my clients from both jobs my all but my tank was running low and I had very little left to give myself. I was ready for the week off that was coming up in late March so that I could relax, relate, release. Then everything shut down and we were told to stay at home until further notice. I took this as an opportunity to focus on my health and well-being.
Now here we are going into week 4 and my problem is that after de-stressing, I am stressed again but it just looks different. Week 3 was my return to my job albeit remotely. For many therapists who work in government, schools, hospitals, community agencies, or non-profits, our jobs require direct face-to-face interaction. The stay at home order presented challenges for these businesses that were not equipped or ready to provide services to clients. Even though I provide telehealth services in my private practice, this was still a learning curve for me. Week 3 found me contacting my clients at my full-time job to inform them that I could continue to support them through online counseling sessions. I knew my clients and their families would be in survival mode with trying to navigate their children's academics online along with their job loss or working from home situation. According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs an individual's physiological and safety (aka basic needs) need to be met first before an individual decides to focus on his or her psychological and self-fulfillment needs. This was true for my clients. Therapy was no longer a priority, the issues that we were working on prior were now in the background. During this time of crisis, very few of my clients were scheduling services. My clients were now focused on trying to create balance and normalcy in their households.
This brought about a myriad of emotions and stress for me as a therapist. For one, how am I suppose to meet my work requirements if I am unable to schedule clients? Secondly, I became a therapist so that I can help others, but right now I don't feel as if I am supporting my clients. Lastly, putting a drop in my client's bucket in turn helps to put a drop in my bucket (https://www.amazon.com/How-Full-Your-Bucket-Kids/dp/1595620273). After speaking to a few of my colleagues, I realized that I was not the only one feeling that working remotely was surprisingly more stressful than we imagined. We were thankful that we had jobs but at the same time we also felt helpless because we were limited as to what we could do to assist our clients during this pandemic. A therapist friend sent me this link https://mobile.twitter.com/seanieflanagan/status/1245257559793156098 which helped me to put things into perspective which is that I am at my home during a crisis, trying to work. My mental, physical, and emotional health are far more important and that trying to keep up with my work productivity cannot be measured in the same way as it once was. Worrying and stressing will not change anything, but embracing growth and change by journaling during this time will help me to focus on my health and well-being. I can only do what I can. How are you embracing growth and change during COVID-19? What fills your bucket? #Stepstowardswellness #BlackandBurntOut #BlackTherapists #BlackTherapistsMatter #TherapyforBlackGirls #MelaninandMentalHealth #Self-Care #MentalHealth #MentalHealthMatters #Bucketfiller #Therapy #Wellness #WorkingRemotely #EmbracingGrowthandChange #Counselors #Psychologists #SocialWorkers #Therapists #Telehealth #Covid19 #AloneTogether