How are yours, have you checked in lately? Do you have a clear idea as what is sensible and acceptable to you, or are you constantly feeling invaded? I’m speaking to a number of people suffering the newest of modern struggles, “Zoom-fatigue”, and, although some folk have welcomed working from home, have you found that working hours have been blurred as you are now be expected to be available 24/7 for that “quick chat”?! I’m afraid I just don’t have the answers and would welcome any tricks people use to protect their personal time.
Your boundaries obviously include the physical, emotional and professional. I often talk about staying in our lane as professionals because I am often asked questions way beyond my remit and always refer up when I need to. But on a more personal level, I have become friends with a number of my clients over the years and this can be a tricky path to tread. I encourage my clients to speak freely about themselves as, I have often said in previous posts, you cannot ignore the link between mental and physical stress. As an easy example; when you may have an injury and be prevented from your usual regime for a few weeks while you rehab. The mental health side of this can be surprisingly hard-hitting and usually needs addressing as well as the physical side. More so if your profession relies on your physical fitness like the dancers I work with. But as a physical therapist, where is my remit here? Am I staying in my lane? This was the motivation behind my upcoming course on mental heath awareness and I look forward to being better equipt for this sort of situation. We don’t call it massage “therapy” for nothing!
In spite of this, I am quite a private person and prefer 1:1 situations which suits the way I work. But sometimes my openness in this setting can be misunderstood and it then becomes hard for me to speak up if, for example, neighbours are invading my personal space at home (which happens a lot!) because they probably just think I don’t mind – I just hate awkwardness and confrontation but I really need respect for my personal space, no matter who you are! It’s again a difficult line to tread as you try to rub along together.
Anyway, as we head onto a new month, possibly the last month of working from home or, for us therapists, a few last weeks before we can finally practice again (hoorah!!), are you in danger of just slipping back into the status quo? Can you bring any positives from enforced lockdown and distancing forward into our new normal? Can you strike a balance between limiting that hideous commute but respecting your boundaries at home. Have we proved that the office is not necessary 5 days a week and the odd day of school missed is not the end of the world.
Personally I’ve been though a whole range of emotions during the last 2 months; shock at first and then utter panic at the realisation I was unable to work and would not be getting ANY financial support (#forgottonLtd). I then found a new motivation to exercise and take more time to focus on my body and my lost passions. But then a new wave of sadness hit with the realisation this was not going to be a quick process and I realised quite how much of my self esteem hung on my work and the gratification I get from helping people and their appreciation of me. I didn’t think this was quite such a strong part of my current self until it was taken away. So with that, I have realised why I often work myself to burn-out. I want to be available, useful and effective at what I do for people. But losing 85% of my earnings and managing to still stay afloat but rapidly diversifying and switching to more Pilates online, I managed to survive and remain connected to my community. So I’ve proved I don’t really need that extra appointment in my week if I have a cancellation. I don’t have to be so accommodating in working so late every night. There’s no need to panic and certainly I need to stop filling my days to the brim when I have a flare-up or feel too fatigued to go on. It does no-one any favours and I hope we can all agree to move forward to a more mindful and supportive way of working together across all industries.