Just a few weeks ago while hosting our monthly staff meeting, one of our therapists inquired about whether we should be concerned about COVID-19. As the Executive Director and meeting facilitator I led an open discussion on this matter as we understood it then. We were reviewing together as a team universal precautions including proper handwashing techniques and strategies we would take to ensure that patients and staff were symptom free while at our clinic. The consensus was that we would continue to operate as usual and stay informed as details continued to be made available.
That was only twenty-three days ago. Since that time, our team and our nation have witnessed the rapidly changing policies put in place in efforts to manage the spread of this aggressive virus. I found myself last week saying repeatedly to friends and family, “This is such a strange time”. At times I would say this aloud, before my brain could fully register that I had even uttered it so others could hear. Perhaps this was my attempt to make known how internally I was struggling to understand, respond and make sense of something that I could not quite wrap my mind around.
As a psychologist and member of the leadership team at Lido Wellness Center, I often feel equipped with juggling a lot. My position requires me to shift quickly into multiple roles in a given day: therapist, leader, consultant, and administrator to name a few. Our team prides ourselves with the regular practice of transparency, an LWC core value. Our team frequently relies on one another to check-in throughout the week, ensuring we are energetically nourished and have ample opportunities to discuss with one another the challenges that can naturally occur in our mental health treatment setting. As safety precautions continued to be implemented, suddenly our team was required to make major changes, including several staff members working remotely and shifting our entire Intensive Outpatient Program online. Additionally, during the first week of shut downs, my family experienced the challenges of our full-time childcare provider being sick and our infant daughter requiring a trip to the Emergency Room.
I am only one person, but likely will share the sentiment of the nation when I say that my seemingly mild statements of the strangeness occurring around me shifted quickly into, “How the F&*@ am I going to get through today?” My bandwidth was severely challenged and I continued to channel what a wise mentor shared with me when times are painful and tough, “Honey, this is where you get to see what you’re made of”. With that running as a constant mantra, I reminded myself to have grace, to meet my humanness and to just be with what I was coming into contact with, whether it be a feeling, a thought, or a sensation. This is where my training as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner serves me well. I trust and know that my body is resourceful. I honor that feelings, thoughts and sensations are energy and that it is my humble privilege to feel and notice them. Because, hey, they are the daily reminder that I am alive and that I am human, which in moments like these, when many are faced with tremendous grief and loss, feels pretty remarkable.
I will leave you with this: notice the natural world around you. While yes, we are all having to make tremendous sacrifices and are facing unforeseen challenges, notice that the trees are still here to support you, your breath is still here to bring life and energy to your body. Hold gratitude for even the small things, maybe even a stranger who noticed you struggling before you even did and wished you safety and well-being. There is a lot to be grateful for as we are facing these uncertain times and it is important to reflect on these things regularly to fill our emotional cup. I’ve shared a few of mine below, and hope that it inspires you to do the same:
- The health of myself and my family.
- My incredible Lido Wellness Center team.
- Walks around our neighborhood and seeing friendly faces from afar.
- Rain and crisp air to bring freshness to all that I see.
- Technology that allows our team to continue to do our important work and serve our community with mental health services.
- Visiting a local farm and eating strawberries as large as baseballs.
- Cooking for my family.
- Virtual Yoga Classes.
- Headspace and daily meditation.
Lesley A. Tate-Gould, PsyD, SEP PSY25203
Executive Director, Lido Wellness Center