Friday, November 12, 2021

It's Okay To Be Not Okay Post-Pandemic


Are you worried that you're not 'back to normal' with the lifting of the lockdowns? If so, you're not alone. Also, I think you should not worry about not being as you were pre-pandemic. Here's why.

We're being told that going out of lockdown = normal. No, it's not.

When we go out, everyone is wearing masks. It means we can't see expressions, and it reminds us of the pandemic. Not normal.

Also, everywhere you go, you have to check in, take temperatures and there are police and guards all over. Not normal.

If you're at work, there are SOPs, probably more masks, and you're constantly aware of having to maintain distance. Plus, you may be worrying that someone is infectious. Very stressful. Not normal.

Finally, if you do meet with friends, it's likely a part of the conversation is about the pandemic. While it's natural, that topic also reinforces the fact that we're in a pandemic. The tail-end of one, but still a pandemic.

So, my suggestion is this:
  • Things are not normal.
  • It's perfectly okay to feel what you feel.
  • Accept that having feelings is a good thing. Being human means having feelings.
  • Also, as emotions and feelings are notifications about your inner world and your environment, try to figure out exactly what you're feeling.  You may be uncertain, fearful, angry, sad, intent - whatever it is, just see what is going on with you.
  • Once you figure out what your emotions are telling you, help yourself cope. This can be tricky because it's intensely personal. But usually, knowing what's going on, plus a bit of breathing, and distraction (pet the cat! Talk to a friend!) can work wonders.
  • But most of all, know that your reactions are perfectly okay. This is not normal times.

PS if you need help figuring out coping strategies, contact me. We can work it out together

Note: Image by Bella H. from Pixabay

Monday, November 1, 2021

Mental Health Therapy Session Gift Vouchers – An Ethical Gift For A Friend Or Relative

Ellen Whyte, gift certificates for therapy sessions
Ellen Whyte, gift certificates for therapy sessions

Do you want to pay for a friend's therapy sessions? Or perhaps for your sibling or parent?

Paying for someone else's sessions is a kind gesture, but there are some ethical considerations. Thankfully, I've figured out a fix for this a few days ago, so no worries! See the end of this post :)

But first, let me explain why paying for someone else's session is an issue.

First, people who go in for therapy knowing that someone else is paying for it, often feel guilty. "I should be woman/man/adult/successful enough to pay my own way."

And because of this, they want to rush. "Can you fix me in one session, because I don't want to burden my friend/employer." But therapy works best when everyone is calm and thoughtful. Rushing tends to lead to poor results.

Second, getting help with mental health issues is a very personal matter. As personal as debts or having surgery for your private parts. And when someone else is paying, they know when you have a session.

With considerate givers, they pay and ask no questions. Even so, the person knows that they know, and it's uncomfortable. Maybe they feel pressure to report back. And that's uncomfortable because therapy is really, really private.

With less considerate givers, they say 'helpful' things like, "I just paid for your session. How's it going? You seem so much better!" While it's well meant, it rams home the knowledge that private matters are not very private, and that is uncomfortable.

In the past I have asked people to gift money to those they want to sponsor. But this week I had a brainwave and came up with an elegant solution: gift cards!

You may buy as many or few as you like, and hand them to whoever you like. They can use them when they like and nobody is the wiser.

And to make sure that it stays totally secret when or if these cards are used, the buyer gets no feedback. Just like when you give someone a book token, the bookshop doesn't tell you if it's redeemed or not, I will never tell which gift cards have been used.

Let me know what you think? And contact me if you want to gift mental health to a friend or family member.