As a therapist, people tend to look to me for answers. We ask the questions to gain understanding and help guide and walk with people on their journeys. In the midst of a pandemic, how does that work though? That is a question I have been asking myself over the past couple of weeks in the midst of the chaos. The truth? I am sitting with you and beside you in the chaos with little to no insight or knowledge on the COVID-19 pandemic.
What does this mean as a client who is coming to outpatient therapy seeking answers to unknown circumstances? It means that all of us, as therapists at CARE Counseling, are doing our best to be supportive of the struggles that are being faced as we face them ourselves. I have found that the advice I can give is the advice I am trying to take for myself and learn from. Here are the three questions I am challenging myself with, encouraging my clients to explore, and would give to anyone I love to challenge themselves with.
What do I currently have control over? In a pandemic, there is a loss of control that is unexplainable. It is a great time to remind ourselves that even when we feel overwhelmed by the things we DON’T have control over, we also have things that we DO have control over. I have control over how I will spend my time. I have control over my emotional reactions. I have control over my sleep hygiene and diet. What do you have control over right now?
How can I make a valuable connection with someone this week? Social distancing is a difficult situation. We are social creatures that crave attachment, understanding, and comfort from others. How do we make connections when we have to be six feet apart or have Stay at Home orders? I have found that video chatting with friends, family, and loved ones has been extremely valuable during this time. Another thing that has been valuable for me is bringing back the lost art of snail mail – what an intimate way to communicate without seeing someone!
What am I grateful for? I tried to save the best for last – this one may just also be the most challenging question. In the midst of job losses, furloughs, out of stock grocery aisles, and constant media coverage of deaths and newly stricken ill numbers, it can be difficult to find the good. Let’s take just one minute to focus and really find the good. Why? Because now, more than ever, we need to continue hoping and being grateful for who we are, where we are, and what we are still capable of.
So what am I grateful for? I’m grateful for my health. I’m grateful that I have clients who I care about deeply, who have kept appointments to show they support and care for me. I am grateful for my family and friends. And sometimes, in the midst of the confusion, doubt, and difficulties, I am grateful I made it out of bed and started the day. Gratefulness is not always a grand gesture or act that we have experienced – sometimes it is the moment of quiet in the day.
What would happen if we all took just five minutes to reflect on these three questions in the midst of this pandemic? Let’s find out together.