Am I doing enough?
I’ve found the last few days in particular a bit challenging; perhaps it’s the work that I do or the head-space I find myself in at this particular time but it seems the uncertainty and the realities are hitting me now: now I have more reflection time.
There have been some birthdays I could not celebrate fully, friends I’m starting to miss, work colleagues and people important to me where communication is less than frequent. Being generally a reflective person anyway it’s taken key dates to help this hit home for me personally.
So, like many of you I suspect, I’ve had some down days, some negative thoughts and a few wobbles where it all just seems a little too bizarre or too much to take.
I’m lucky to still be actively counselling via telephone, email and video calls. The client experience is of utmost importance to me and I wondered how remote sessions would translate into benefits for them. I found myself asking:
‘Am I doing enough?’ This keeps cropping up for me whether in client work right now or in those moments when I’m just going about my daily life. ‘What more can I do?’
I’m hearing this in the therapy too. One of the biggest themes I’m coming across right now is the expectations people are placing upon themselves. The same expectations they had of their abilities 1 month ago.
The work I’m doing most frequently right now is challenging negative thought processes and assisting people in coming to terms with what is normal right now.
Being the best parent, working at 100% flat out, keeping fit, not having down days or not letting people see your down days…
- How can you maintain this right now, is this current climate? Holding on to these expectations so tightly in a time of restriction, isolation, low supplies, no schools etc.
- How can you be perfect in an imperfect situation?
In short, you can’t.
What do you replace this with then?
You maybe realising that although you might not have given it much thought before, that do have high expectations of yourself; standards that must be met and that you’re much more goal orientated than you previously imagined. Working in a world where you now can’t do this will be causing distress, overwhelming emotions and feelings and you’ll no doubt be berating yourself too for not being perfect.
Help yourself by readdressing your expectations, understand that the goalposts have moved and that your outputs have equally changed too. Be kinder to yourself and consider: ‘What does good enough look like?’
- Really engage with the fact things are quite different right now and you simply can’t do the things you were doing before to the same standard.
- Modify your priority list for the day, take it day by day.
- Set realistic goals by prioritising the most important jobs- if you manage only 1 thing then that’s 1 thing less to worry about.
- Assess if you’re well enough to do what you are asking of yourself- both physically, mentally and emotionally.
- Have you had a rest day yet? If not, enforce one!
The same applies to me:
- ‘Am I doing enough?’ Yes- I’m still able to support my clients, even though it’s not in my preferred way.
- Are they still finding benefits from remote work with me- yes, they keep returning for sessions.
- ‘Can I do anymore?’– No, not right now.
- ‘What positive thing has come out of this’: I can now offer more flexible services once we return to normal; providing more benefits to clients.
Highlighting that Counsellors do practice what they preach!
Remember this week to:
Change your line of self-questioning
Admit things have changed
Understand you need to adapt right now
Focus on what’s GOOD ENOUGH rather than perfection
Tune into your emotions, thoughts and feelings
Be kind to yourself