Reflecting on 2021
Well, 2021 is rapidly drawing to a close. I don’t know about you but I found 2021 much harder than 2020. Just as in 2020 there were another 5 months where I wasn’t permitted to work as a massage therapist. The uncertainty was very challenging for me.
I understand that my reaction to this pandemic was triggered by trauma in my past. When I feel threat, real or perceived, my autonomic nervous system will react to keep me safe. My usual pattern is to freeze. Avoidance and procrastination seem to be my usual pattern of behaviour. I often struggle to deal with what I consider to be authority figures.
Some people might go into Fight. Reacting to the slightest thing, getting into arguments, using their fists… whilst others might go into Flight. Running away from conflict, maybe even literally moving. While some, like me, Freeze because fighting or fleeing was not an option in childhood.
Sadly, I know people who are really struggling with the change in their way of life because of the pandemic and often contemplate suicide. Some have succeeded, tragically.
Looking back over the last 2 years how do you feel you coped?
I dislike the term ‘social distancing’ because we are social beings and require social interaction to thrive. I understand the need for physical distancing to minimise the risk of spreading the virus. But I believe we need to keep interacting with friends, family, colleagues, neighbours all the more. We are fortunate to be living in a time when technology means we have an array of communication possibilities that allow us to see and hear others via the internet. It’s better than nothing. It allows us to stay connected.
And it has allowed me to continue to learn, deepening my knowledge all through the last 2 years. It means I have been able to work on my own healing journey. The NO HANDS Massage Association provided ongoing support and professional development. As has the QEC team. If I not been able to see and speak to my peers regularly, to talk to like minded people, I know my resilience would have been very low indeed.
It has been wonderful to offer QEC to clients. Obviously I can see people within my therapy space but even if local we have the choice to meet online too. And I am not restricted to working with local clients. This makes a difference when there’s a pandemic and it’s not so easy for people to be confident in the close proximity of massage.
Yet it’s probably safer coming to me for a massage than it is to go to the office or the shops, due to the measures I have in place. And of course the benefits to your immune system from having regular massage cannot be overstated. This is why I have continued to get a massage twice a month myself, when not in lockdown.
Six weeks ago I was invited to attend emotional CPR, and fortunately had space in my diary. I found this to be an invaluable addition to my professional and personal development. I intend to take this further because I know it’s something that can make a significant difference to people and I want to share it with others.
In the last few months I have been leading Self Soothing sessions online, with fabulous feedback. At the end of a 6 week block participants reported sleeping better, being less reactive, feeling calmer and more connected to their body.
You may feel that you are OK but if you are comfort eating or turning to alcohol, if your sleep patterns are poor, if you are easily irritated, if you lack motivation or interest in things you used to enjoy it may be that you are affected more than you realise.
So, if you want to work with someone who can help you build resilience in these times of uncertainty and stress get in touch.
2022 can be the year of post traumatic growth.