Living through a Pandemic
Traditional Behavioral and Mental Health Services require better solutions that adapt Integrated Therapeutic Services for Holistic Healing and Wellness
ADJUSTING TO THE NEW NORMAL
Currently we are living in a world and time where “traditional, normal, and usual” are words that are not really relevant anymore. I am not sure we know if/when they may be again. The truth is we are living through a pandemic which has impacted us all in most, if not all, aspects of our lives.
Well, that is today anyway. Changes, unforeseen consequences, tragic consequences, unknown potential consequences, and living in a constant state of adapting to all of these things is how we are all supposed to “live” through this.
It has been well documented that this is taking a tremendous toll on our overall health. Because of this, it is important we consider how combining our medical, behavioral, and alternative/ complimentary health care services could help us provide better quality care, preventative care, and holistic healing during such a difficult time. Further it has been documented and proven that the pandemic is impacting us mentally, psychologically, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and socially and/or as a community.
The following are different ways in which we are being impacted socially and/or as a community:
- In our home life (whether you live alone or with others): loss of connection, isolation, fear of leaving the house, increased addictions, increased stress, increased mental and physical health symptoms, strained relationships due to changes within the home as a result of the pandemic, increased domestic violence and family conflict, and skeletons coming out of the closet, as it is hard to hide and avoid certain things when living in such close quarters. These are just some of the things individuals and households are struggling with.
- Our close relationships (family, friends, and family of choice) have been strained. This is simply due to the lack of the ability to connect with and see our loved ones because of the restrictions placed on staying at home and traveling. It may also be a result of losing someone we know and loved during the pandemic. Losing loved ones during this time has been extremely difficult as the traditional services for these losses are not possible which is complicating already complex grief. Different schedules, different life choices, different ways of adapting to the pandemic, and fear of additional health concerns are other things that are interfering with the relationships we have with our loved ones.
- Job security, financial concerns, and work related changes continue to be problematic in many ways due to the pandemic and the ways it has impacted businesses all over the world. Uncertainty about job security broad impact on one’s life. If you are fortunate enough to still be employed, job loss not only means the loss of income, but also the loss of health insurance for many. Fear of losing a job causes stressors related to affording healthcare at the worst possible time, paying bills, or simply living within one’s means. Many people are now working from home full time which can add stress from the inability to focus, perform job responsibilities or feeling overworked. These stressors impact the ability to focus and do our jobs well.
- Our social and community support has been impacted. Connecting with others, whether they are people we already know and/or people we would like to get to know better becomes difficult with social distancing and the restrictions on the places we can go to connect with people socially in our communities. While online and virtual platforms have improved and made social activities that are usually done in person an option virtually, it still is not the same. This is something we all are adjusting to. This changes the way we interact with people in public, the way we connect and meet new people, the ways in which we may find healthy support in the community, the way we interact socially has been limited and we all have had to make adjustments. Simply putting on a mask changes the way we socially interact. Going to the store is a whole different experience than it was a year ago. Perhaps you don’t even leave your house and now have your groceries delivered? Even getting healthy support has been difficult, I had a new client tell me, “Finding a therapist who would see me in person was more difficult than finding toilet paper in March when the pandemic started.” That really put things in perspective for me and how important it is as a community that we work together to ensure that we find creative ways to fill this void.
For all of these reasons, the new normal is impacting us in multiple ways and in various areas of our lives. Moving beyond traditional therapy, it is essential that we adapt and ensure that these multiple ways and various areas of our lives are addressed through Integrated Therapeutic Services.