I found myself quite content in the beginning of this pandemic. Staying home, being on my own was familiar to me and in fact, at times, I prefer it. I’m what you call an introvert/extrovert – I like my own company and I do get great pleasure out of being with people and being in service.
But before long Covid19 disrupted my usual balance of these, tipping the scale too far one way for my liking. I wasn’t working, shut in at home with limited access to people that fed my soul, missing my clients, and spiraling into anxious depression. That got me evaluating my life and the work that I do.
How will I ever be able to work with people again with this virus out there when I’m in the business of touch?
I was seeing clients a couple days a week, along with some home visit before the lock down happened. Things were starting to pick up for me, I had my regulars, and some new clients who just started their treatment plans with me; but, all that came to a crashing halt when the government announced “You have to stay home, socially distance and protect yourself and others from this rapidly spreading virus.”
Initially, I welcomed the break. I liked being home and could use the time to ‘slow it down’. I found myself cooking, watching T.V daily to get the update of what was happening, contacting my friends here, there and everywhere, going for more walks and sometimes simply sitting outside, my home, observing the stillness as the world came to a full stop! I enjoyed the regular phone calls and texted messages with friends and family, taking care of my day to day at a pace that felt desirable.
As the days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, the stories in the news – increasing death, economy crashing and no end in sight. My thoughts for the future started to dim.
The contentment I felt was slowly turning into anxiety, what is happening to our world? Will my high-risk parents get this? Will I ever feel safe out there? Was I ever going to be able work again? My fears grew – money was becoming an issue, and all my plans for the year had been wiped out. Cancelled and closed became familiar terms in conversations I was having. There was no light at the end of the tunnel. Until there was!
Getting back to work…
Physical distancing has become part of our new normal, and so I was surprised to get emails and text messages from clients asking if I was offering treatments again. I was on the fence whether to start back up, my concerns about the virus were still with me, but I was feeling so down at home and I really missed treating my clients. Not being able to do what I love, touch people, was super hard and resulted in feeling depressed. All you Huggers out there feel me, Right!?!?
As I prepared to go back to work and touch people again, something strange came up – I felt scared.
I didn’t understand it at first, why was I scared? I dug deep and discovered it was all based in survival. The media has been telling me touching is one way you can catch and spread the virus. But, I know that touch is a vital sense for our survival. My brain had conflicting information and I couldn’t figure out what to do with it – until I brought awareness to it and took some action.
Taking action…meant, getting informed and being in service – giving feels good! We all know how the saying goes in the Thai massage world – it’s as good to give, as it is to receive.
I discovered by taking action, getting outside of myself and back out there treating people helped with those feelings of anxious depression. I figured out what I needed to implement as safety measures so that both my clients and I would feel safe.
What did that look like?
For me, it was:
• educating myself on the coronavirus
• have my clients sign a waiver (you can find a copy in the student portal if you’re a student with us)
• for return visit have them sign and date same waiver to save on paper
• have clean sheets and pillowcases for all my props
• disinfecting and changing over the covers in-between each client
• I wear my mask, I give clients the option to wear theirs
• I have hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes
• at the end of the day, when I pack all my stuff up, I disinfect the mats and spray my props with disinfectant and bag the linens separately for immediate washing at home
These safety measures signaled my survival mechanism – letting me know that it is absolutely all right to touch people. In fact right away during my first few treatments I was able to tap into that place of complete calm, lifting any feelings of anxiety or depression, I was able to focus on my client and listen to what their voice and body were telling me it needed. This is the power of being in service, shifting the focus from yourself, granted you’re safe, and helping other humans – for us; using touch is our tool, and Thai massage as our vehicle. I love giving Thai massage and I’m excited that it is still going to be a part of my new normal.