Feeling crushed by pandemic fatigue? You’re not alone. Two years of masks, lockdowns, and social isolation has left many of us feeling emotionally exhausted. Registered psychotherapist Janna Comrie offers advice on how to fight your fatigue and what therapists like herself are doing to adapt to changing times.
00:00:00 Speaker 1: this is Life Speak 00:00:04 Speaker 2: podcast about well being mental 00:00:06 Speaker 1: health and building resilience through knowledge. Here's 00:00:10 Speaker 2: Marianne Wisenthal, 00:00:13 Speaker 1: my 00:00:13 Speaker 2: guest today is registered psychotherapist, Janna comrie, Janna holds a master's degree in counseling psychology and has a research background in brain behavior and cognitive science, Janice the director of comrie counseling in Ontario Canada where she and her team work with individuals, couples and families who've experienced trauma. 00:00:31 Speaker 2: She's joining me today to talk about something that many of us are experiencing around the world right now. Pandemic fatigue 00:00:37 Speaker 1: Jenna, welcome to the Life 00:00:38 Speaker 2: Speak podcast. 00:00:40 Speaker 1: Thank you for having me. 00:00:42 Speaker 1: So wearing masks, physical 00:00:43 Speaker 2: distancing. Being away from family and friends going in out and back into lockdown. 00:00:49 Speaker 1: What are you hearing 00:00:50 Speaker 2: from your clients in these past few weeks? 00:00:53 Speaker 1: Oh, the past few weeks my clients have all been saying the same thing, they're tired, they're frustrated, they're feeling burnt out. 00:01:02 Speaker 1: And a lot of them are just saying, they don't know how much longer they can do this there. 00:01:07 Speaker 1: I'm tired of being isolated from friends and family. Every time they get into a groove with activities and they start to feel a little bit better. It seems like those are taken away. So there's a lot of, there's a lot of frustration, there's a lot of, you know, there's a lot of, almost resentment for the masks and having to do all of this. You know, there's that one side they understand, but on the other side they're really tired of it? 00:01:27 Speaker 1: You 00:01:27 Speaker 2: know, we're two years into this. Um you know, have you been noticing ebbs and flows in the way that people have been managing? 00:01:34 Speaker 1: Oh, absolutely. The first couple of weeks, I think people were like, okay, I can do this. The lockdown was extended the first time, you know, we saw a lot of people who were, who were really nervous and trying to figure out 00:01:47 Speaker 1: how are they going to manage 00:01:49 Speaker 1: work and home or if their job had shut down, how are they going to manage financially? So we've definitely seen some ebbs and flows right? You know, as, as government support has come out, people have gotten a little bit better as restrictions have lifted in the summertime days sort of came and the days got longer and the weather got warmer and people could be outside, people lifted 00:02:09 Speaker 1: as we've gone back into sort of those winter. The darker days, the shorter days, the colder temperatures. You see, people start to uh start to regress a little bit. And I think every time we've had to go back into a lockdown, I've seen people a little less patient with what's required in terms of masking social distancing, handwashing, staying away from friends and family. So 00:02:32 Speaker 1: there's definitely been ebbs and flows where in certain seasons where things have been a little bit more relaxed, people start to get better and start to find new routines that work for them. And as things sort of closed off, people have definitely been 00:02:45 Speaker 1: a lot more stressed, anxious, depressed. We see a lot more of that, 00:02:49 Speaker 2: would you say that we're experiencing a mental health crisis right now. 00:02:53 Speaker 1: I would, I think just about everybody I talk to whether I'm in my office talking to clients or whether I'm out on the street, you know, it's kind of funny as a therapist, you know, when you walk around, I have this, I talked to people everywhere. I talk people in line at the grocery store and choppers and you know, any place I happen to be right. So, and it's it's an interesting thing because what people are saying over and over again is I'm so tired of this. 00:03:18 Speaker 1: You know, I miss my family through the christmas holidays every time I was out and about, people were talking about how it's just not the same. You just can't enjoy it the way it's meant to be enjoyed. So it was, it was interesting to sort of see there was a general sort of malays amongst people 00:03:37 Speaker 1: just about everywhere I go and my clients who were already struggling with mental health issues like depression and anxiety pTSd caregiver burnout. They were just beyond taxed. So I saw a lot of my clients who were doing well, actually fall off and start getting worse again. 00:03:55 Speaker 1: This 00:03:55 Speaker 2: has been a really intense and traumatic couple of years as you said, what has the pandemic been like for you as a mental health professional, 00:04:03 Speaker 1: I feel like as a mental health professional, I shouldn't use this word, but I'm going to, it's been crazy. It's been really, really crazy one minute. I feel like we know exactly what we're doing and we're good and the next minute the rules change and we've had to figure out, okay, how are we going to connect with our clients virtually? You know, where I'm doing exposure therapy, where I'm taking people out in the community and helping them 00:04:27 Speaker 1: face some of the stressors that they have, or some of the phobias they have. How am I going to do that now that the world is completely shut down? So it's meant being very, very creative 00:04:38 Speaker 1: and it's required a lot of flexibility? I hate to use the word pivot because I'm so sick of that word. But there's been a lot of pivoting. 00:04:47 Speaker 2: Do you feel like you've changed your approach to your work? 00:04:51 Speaker 1: I definitely have. I actually feel like the pandemic has made myself and all of my team members 00:04:58 Speaker 1: better therapists, we've had to get creative, 00:05:01 Speaker 1: we've had to find other ways to encourage people to get the things that they need in their day to day living in in different ways. Right? So if you can't go to a gym, how do you get your workouts in in a way that's still fun and that's enjoyable if you can't connect with friends doing a coffee date through zoom. So we've 00:05:20 Speaker 1: we've had to come up with creative ways for people to cope 00:05:24 Speaker 1: with 00:05:25 Speaker 1: all of the challenges that the pandemic has has caused. So, I think in a lot of ways it's really made us just better therapists, because we've had to take what we know works and find really unique and creative ways to apply it. 00:05:41 Speaker 2: So what have you been telling your clients right now? You know, we're just entering the start of a new year. People are burned out from the pandemic. That also burned out probably from the holidays. What are you telling people these these first weeks back? 00:05:55 Speaker 1: But what I've been telling this week in particular, I find that this sort of, 00:05:59 Speaker 1: there's a theme in the conversation and a lot of it is investing in yourself 00:06:04 Speaker 1: and investing in yourself in a way that's new. 00:06:07 Speaker 1: A lot of my clients were trying to do things that they did pre pandemic or that they did early on in the pandemic, 00:06:14 Speaker 1: or when things were more open during the pandemic. So they were trying to do activities that they had done before, and they had a lot of expectations on those activities because they expected them to be the way that they were before. And what I said to them is, you know, that's part of the problem now that the pandemics here, 00:06:32 Speaker 1: we can't do it in the same way. So if you're expecting the same pick me up from an activity, you're not going to get it because you can't do it in the same way, 00:06:40 Speaker 2: what would be an example? 00:06:41 Speaker 1: So for example, You know, one of my clients was saying to me that one of the things that she loved to do was knit, but part of her knitting was that she would go and find really fancy artisanal buttons and she would use those in her knitting 00:06:55 Speaker 1: and then she would, 00:06:56 Speaker 1: you know, she'd be taking them to people and wrapping them up in a special way and delivering them to people and that it wasn't just the knitting, but it was the whole process of being creative and doing something really special for somebody that she loved doing. 00:07:10 Speaker 1: And she was saying that she just, she can't get going with the knitting, she just doesn't feel inspired, even trying to decide who to give it to. She's hesitant to give anything to anybody. And what I had said to her is maybe it's time to try an activity that she'd never tried before. We sort of hummed and hot and throughout and brainstormed a bunch of things. 00:07:28 Speaker 1: And she said, you know, Jenna, I've always wanted to try stained glass 00:07:32 Speaker 1: and she realized that she could go online and order some kids and that was what she was going to give a try. She was gonna give stained glass and some models a try. And so she was choosing an activity that she had never done before, so that it had no expectations attached to it, 00:07:47 Speaker 2: it's interesting that you say that is that we've all really had to change our expectations, We've almost had to not have any expectations about anything, which is a bit of a hard place to be because we, you know, as humans, that's part of the excitement of life, is looking forward to things, right? 00:08:00 Speaker 1: Absolutely. So going into things now and trying to find new things to do that you've never tried before is really important. If you're used to doing high intensity workouts in the gym 00:08:12 Speaker 1: and you're trying to do a high intensity workout at home, it's not going to feel the same. 00:08:17 Speaker 1: So maybe this is the time where you say, okay, I'm not going to try a high intensity workout, maybe I'm gonna try some circuit training or maybe I'm gonna try some yoga or maybe I'm gonna try some tai chi maybe I'm gonna try a workout that's completely different than what I used to do in the gym. So I'm not bringing all of those expectations 00:08:33 Speaker 1: to the home workout with me and then being disappointed when it doesn't feel the same. 00:08:38 Speaker 2: And have you noticed that I've been hearing from friends that, you know, the things that they were doing the first lockdown don't are not 00:08:45 Speaker 1: as appealing to 00:08:46 Speaker 2: them this time around, Like doing a lot of zoom calls, they're they're burned out from the zoom calls with friends that 00:08:53 Speaker 1: there, do you feel 00:08:55 Speaker 2: like people are having to just change the kinds of things that they're doing this time around because maybe they're not working as well. 00:09:02 Speaker 1: And I think that's exactly it. I think, you know, when we do the same things over and over again as human beings, you know, as much as we're creatures of habit, to a certain extent, 00:09:11 Speaker 1: we do get bored, 00:09:12 Speaker 1: right? And with a lot of us working virtually or working, um, you know, remotely or from home, you do, you get tired of staring, staring at a screen each day and as much as being able to sit down with a friend and having a zoom call and a cup of tea over zoom is nice. 00:09:28 Speaker 1: You're so sick of looking at your computer. It's just a reminder of how not normal things are. 00:09:33 Speaker 1: So yeah, I'm definitely encouraging clients a lot where you can go and go and have your cup of tea do it socially distanced. You know, I came out a couple of weeks ago and my neighbors, they never fail to amaze me. They crack me up on a regular basis. And my neighbors would typically get together at somebody's house and they would, 00:09:53 Speaker 1: you know, chitchat and have tea and you know, a lot of them are retired and I came out the other day and the sun was shining and my neighbors were all at the end of their driveway, having a conversation across the street and that's the sort of thing that I'm seeing people doing a little bit more and encouraging people to do a little bit more. There are safe ways, but we've got to be creative about it. 00:10:12 Speaker 1: And when you're sick of zoom, let's look for something else. 00:10:15 Speaker 2: So you mentioned 00:10:16 Speaker 1: before virtual 00:10:17 Speaker 2: counseling, you know, so many councilors are moving towards virtual sessions. Some of them are even saying that they're probably going to be doing this for the rest of their careers. What has that been like for you? 00:10:29 Speaker 1: Virtual sessions are great in that if somebody can't get into your office, it just 00:10:34 Speaker 1: it allows more access to therapy generally. And I think that that's really important because so many places, remote communities where you just don't have the access to mental health support. So I really like doing the virtual therapy. I have clients now from sort of all over the province that I work in. Its 00:10:54 Speaker 1: opened it up for a brighter variety of people, which is great. But it can be challenging, you know, as a therapist, I don't mind doing video sessions because I can still see somebody, but I can't see all of them. So it does get a little bit tricky. Somebody's sitting in my office and they start tapping my foot. I know right away something's going on and I can 00:11:12 Speaker 1: sort of adjust or or address it or choose not to address it. But at least I can notice it 00:11:17 Speaker 1: if I'm only seeing somebody from their chest up. 00:11:20 Speaker 1: You know, I may not be able to see when they're fidgeting with their hands or their wringing their fingers or their tapping their foot. 00:11:26 Speaker 1: And it's sometimes you miss some of those subtle body language cues that we get as a therapist, that really sort of helped direct the way that we do therapy by phone. It's even harder because now you're entirely listening to the intonation and what people are saying. You're trying to be respectful of the pauses and give people time to think, but you can't always see what's going on. 00:11:47 Speaker 1: So I try only to do phone sessions with clients that I have gotten to know fairly well. I'm not comfortable myself personally doing phone sessions with clients, I don't know, video sessions are a little bit easier. I get to know them through a video session. And then if we need to switch to phone sessions, we do. 00:12:03 Speaker 2: How have you been able to compensate for that? Not being able to see people from below the waist, the chest, 00:12:09 Speaker 1: you know what I ask a lot of questions. I check in a lot. So if I can see there's a shift in their face or I'm looking for very subtle cues in their face or tension in their neck and shoulders. And you do see it all of a sudden people are wearing their shoulders as earrings as you're talking to them. You know, I'll say, you know, what's going on within you right now. So I'll ask a lot of questions and check in 00:12:27 Speaker 1: And generally when you ask people to sort of reflect on what's going on in their body, they're able to say to you, you know, Janet I'm 00:12:33 Speaker 1: I've been tapping my foot here for the last five minutes or I'm jittery or I'm ringing my fingers or I have a piece of paper in my hand that I've twisted into a straw. 00:12:42 Speaker 1: So I check in a lot and usually people are pretty good about telling me where they're at. 00:12:47 Speaker 1: Do you have any 00:12:48 Speaker 2: advice to give to someone on maybe how they can get the most out of a virtual session? 00:12:53 Speaker 1: You know, I think, you know, on the client's end, what I've been encouraging my clients to do is that 00:13:00 Speaker 1: as you're doing a virtual session because we don't have the same access to your body language. If there's something going on within you, let your therapist know. So if you notice that your heart rates just come up or that you just felt that pit in the drop of your stomach or sorry, that pit feeling in your stomach drop 00:13:18 Speaker 1: or you notice that you're jittery or you notice that you're clenching, 00:13:22 Speaker 1: let your let your therapist. No. You know, be aware of your own body language because 00:13:28 Speaker 1: often times that body language is helping you to express what's going on inside your head 00:13:34 Speaker 1: where words aren't available, Your body language helps with that expression. So 00:13:39 Speaker 2: many people have been seeking mental health support, which is maybe one of the 00:13:44 Speaker 2: good things about this pandemic is we're certainly speaking more about mental health, it's become less of a stigma for people, but more and more people are trying to find counselors and really having a hard time. There's wait lists. 00:13:54 Speaker 2: People just can't get appointments. What can what can they be doing to support? Can we all be doing to support our mental health while waiting to see a professional? 00:14:03 Speaker 1: That's a great question Marianne, because you're right. You know, even here we try very hard to get people in quickly, but you know, sometimes people have to wait a couple of weeks or even a month to see a counselor depending on who they need to see. You know, I always encourage people to do self care 00:14:18 Speaker 1: and when I'm talking about self care, there's some basic self care things that we know help improve mental health all around. 00:14:25 Speaker 1: And those basic things are things like getting good sleep, make sure that you're getting into bed at a decent time. You know, you're not watching screens within an hour of sleep, you're taking time to unwind as you get into bed. You know, get into bed and do a little bit of light reading or, you know, listen to a great podcast before you go to sleep, it's a great way to sort of 00:14:44 Speaker 1: get your body to calm down before you go to bed. 00:14:47 Speaker 1: The next one is eating. Be aware of what you're eating, make sure there's lots of, you know, healthy fruits and vegetables, good solid protein if you're eating well, that just helps to support your mental health. That much more 00:14:59 Speaker 1: exercise is phenomenal 00:15:02 Speaker 1: And it doesn't have to be, you know, really intense, I'm gonna sweat it out really hard for an hour. It can be as simple as sort of a 20 minute of a brisk walk where you get your heart rate up, 00:15:14 Speaker 1: you can talk comfortably while you're doing it. That type of exercise at that pace will actually help to decrease the stress hormone in your system and it when that stress hormone is decreased, it helps you to think better and process better and plan better. 00:15:31 Speaker 1: And the last one is just take the time to laugh. You know, when, when our mental health is suffering. The first thing we stopped doing is we stop socializing, we stop laughing with friends and we basically shut ourselves off from a lot of things that are enjoyable and we forget that enjoyment is an important part of us being healthy. 00:15:51 Speaker 1: So if you can take a little bit of time and you know, watch a comedian that you really enjoy or laugh with a friend, watch cute animal videos that make you chuckle can be just about anything but make a point of laughing, if you can do those four things on a regular basis, 00:16:08 Speaker 1: you'll probably find that at very least you're able to sort of maintain your mental health at a level and it doesn't get any worse. Prior to seeing somebody 00:16:16 Speaker 2: can you offer some advice 00:16:17 Speaker 1: for people who are listening, who are 00:16:19 Speaker 2: trying to find a counselor who they should be seeing and whether they should be getting on multiple wait lists. What do you what do you recommend people do if they're looking for somebody, how do you find the right 00:16:31 Speaker 2: therapist? 00:16:32 Speaker 1: I think you do get on multiple wait lists. I think you do your homework right. A lot of areas have a lot of areas have registries of the mental health professionals in their area. Right. The one that we have sort of in our area, you can actually go online and you can click, I'm looking for a counselor who is familiar with anxiety and depression, I'm looking for a counselor who works with the L. G. B. T. Q. Community, looking for a counselor who has a background in PTSD. So you can actually click off several different things and they'll say here are all the counselors in your area that meet those criteria. Right. And a lot of areas have some sort of similar registry where you can do that. So I often encourage people, 00:17:15 Speaker 1: you know, search for mental health professionals in your area 00:17:18 Speaker 1: and you'll often find these registries and use these registries. They're fantastic. 00:17:22 Speaker 1: You can also go to the licensing agencies. Oftentimes the licensing agencies for mental health counselors, whether it's mental health professionals, psychologists, registered psychotherapists, 00:17:34 Speaker 1: the licensing agencies often have links to the therapists who are registered with them. 00:17:40 Speaker 1: You again can find the right person for you or at least people who have the credentials you're looking for. 00:17:46 Speaker 1: And then I encourage you to read bios, get online. A lot of therapists have a little blurb about themselves on Youtube, look them up, see if you can find information about them 00:17:56 Speaker 1: and then do get on if you have to get on a waitlist. Get on a couple of different wait lists only because sometimes the first therapist you meet, they might have all the right credentials, but you just don't gel, you just don't feel comfortable for some reason. And it doesn't mean that they're a bad therapist. 00:18:12 Speaker 1: It might just mean that your personalities just don't match very well 00:18:16 Speaker 1: and so you might need somebody else. So I always encourage people, you know, get on a couple of wait list until you find the person that you feel like, yes, this is my therapist. 00:18:25 Speaker 1: So it's 00:18:26 Speaker 2: okay to shop around a little 00:18:27 Speaker 1: absolutely. You know, I have clients who will come into my office where, you know, sometimes you can just tell it's not the right connection and I'll say to them, you know, in a therapist, what are you looking for? And they'll be like, you know, they're looking for something 00:18:40 Speaker 1: that's very different from the style of therapy that I do? And I'll say to them, I'm like, so, how is this feeling to you? And it's an awkward often question for them, because they're afraid to say, well, jan I don't feel this is a good fit, 00:18:53 Speaker 1: but they usually do will say, well, I'm not sure that this is the right fit, 00:18:57 Speaker 1: I have absolutely no problem. And most therapists don't saying, you know what, 00:19:01 Speaker 1: I don't know that this is the right fit for you, but let's find you somebody, who is because I know about 20 therapists who have completely different styles, than me. 00:19:11 Speaker 1: and I probably can connect them very easily with somebody who would be a good fit. 00:19:15 Speaker 1: So, if you do go in for an initial meeting with somebody and it just feels a little off, you know, maybe they're too conversational or maybe they're too directive, maybe they're using a book or a specific approach that you're finding very rigid. You know, let them know that you're looking for something a little bit different 00:19:34 Speaker 1: and ask them if they know somebody who has a different approach because chances are they do, 00:19:38 Speaker 1: and most therapists want to work with somebody who feels the right connection with them, 00:19:43 Speaker 2: call center employees doctors, nurses. You know, you also work with first responders, you know, these are people that are, you know, don't have the luxury of working from home, have really been on the front lines of things these past couple of years, what kinds of emotional challenges 00:19:57 Speaker 2: are you seeing in those clients, 00:19:59 Speaker 1: especially over the 00:20:00 Speaker 2: past few months 00:20:00 Speaker 1: in the last few months? I'm seeing a lot, a lot of burnout. The caregiver burnout is just rampant. I'm actually seeing more cases of PTSD, they've had to deal with a lot of very traumatic things. Uh, they've been short staffed 00:20:19 Speaker 1: very often and especially right now with a micron and you know, it's just sort of taxing everybody because so many people are getting it there. Their numbers are so low. Um, I was talking with the first responder this morning who was saying that they went into work and were at less than half the staff they were supposed to have. 00:20:41 Speaker 1: So their workloads are increasing and they're running around and they're doing a lot. And the, the caregiver burnout, the fatigue, the depression and anxiety, um, is really, really high in those populations. And a lot of it just has to do with, 00:20:56 Speaker 1: you know, the work levels increasing and just the general malaise of the society around them too. 00:21:04 Speaker 2: Tell me what you mean by compassion fatigue. How do you know, if you're experiencing that? 00:21:08 Speaker 1: Yeah. You know, when you get to a point when they get to a point often times they'll say to me, you know, Jenna, I'm listening to a story and I know that, 00:21:18 Speaker 1: you know what the person is going through is real and genuine, but I just can't 00:21:23 Speaker 1: empathize with them. I can't sympathize with them. They're talking to me and I just I'm sort of like, so what? 00:21:30 Speaker 1: And they're they're finding themselves not liking themselves often times, right? They don't recognize themselves. They recognize that they're quick tempered or things that would normally not upset them at all are frustrating. 00:21:44 Speaker 1: So there's a lot of symptoms within compassion fatigue, but basically, 00:21:48 Speaker 1: it just means that they're not having the same level of empathy and sympathy that they would 00:21:53 Speaker 1: and they're not liking who they're becoming in their interactions with their clients and patients 00:21:59 Speaker 2: and what are you counseling them to do to manage this? 00:22:03 Speaker 1: But a lot of the time when it comes to compassion fatigue and burnout, the most important thing is that they take that step back and that they start engaging in self care. 00:22:12 Speaker 1: A lot of these people have have really sort of responded and stepped up and said, we're short staffed 00:22:17 Speaker 1: and so they're working extra hours and they've they've let go of all of their self care. They're not reading, they're not exercising, they're not socializing with friends when they go home, it's just too sleep and go back to work. They're not eating properly because they're all gowned and masked up all day long. So I've really encouraged them to take breaks regularly, 00:22:37 Speaker 1: slow down a little bit, even if they're shorter breaks or they're they're doing activities for themselves for less time. So, you know, maybe prior to this, they were exercising for an hour and a day. I'm encouraging them to take, you know, a 10 minute walk three times a day because they can they can get 10 minutes of time to do that easily, where 00:22:58 Speaker 1: an hour or half an hour would be hard for them to pull up to pull out for themselves to set aside. 00:23:04 Speaker 1: I'm encouraging them to take small snacks with them, you know, things that are easy to eat quickly because they're finding that when they're at work and it's really busy, they're not stopping to eat a proper meal. So small, healthy snacks are really helpful. So I'm encouraging them to do a lot of things that are self care related that they can break into really small chunks and make it manageable. 00:23:26 Speaker 1: I'm encouraging them to do what we call two minute meditations and breathing breaks where they just focus on their breath or they visualize a place for 23 minutes, that's common relaxing. So just little breaks in their day 00:23:40 Speaker 1: where they used to do a lot of self care now, they're doing self care in these very short little stints, but it's manageable. 00:23:47 Speaker 2: And and these are things all of us could be doing throughout our days, you know, 00:23:51 Speaker 1: parents who are at 00:23:52 Speaker 2: home dealing with online learning people who are taking care of a spouse who, you know, needs help or another family member. I mean we could all be doing 00:24:01 Speaker 1: this. Yeah. And you know what a lot of my clients are. I have a lot of clients who are teachers. I have a lot of clients who are working for other industries where they're working from home and trying to balance that on learning online learning piece. 00:24:15 Speaker 1: And they're actually doing it even with their kids, they're saying to their kids, okay, let's take a breathing break or let's take a meditation break and they're doing these short little breathing breaks and meditation breaks even with their kids. So they're teaching their Children this too. And I just think that that's so important that we all learn 00:24:32 Speaker 1: to do self care even if it's just in these tiny little segments. 00:24:36 Speaker 1: Are there 00:24:36 Speaker 2: people who are experiencing compassion fatigue that we might not be thinking about when we think about police officers and firefighters and nurses and doctors. Are you seeing this with people that 00:24:45 Speaker 1: in other, you 00:24:46 Speaker 2: know, lines of work that maybe we wouldn't be thinking about? 00:24:49 Speaker 1: Yeah. When we think of frontline workers, unfortunately we don't think of people like 00:24:53 Speaker 1: um people at the Call centers for insurance companies. So many people, you know, at the call centers for insurance companies are 00:25:00 Speaker 1: hearing these horrific stories and claims that are going on or they're being called because you know, somebody has lost two or three members of their family to covid and they're they're distraught and they're calling in to find out about their life insurance and that sort of thing. Or even their health insurance once the loved one passed away. So 00:25:19 Speaker 1: it costs a lot of the people I see who are working at call centers, they're experiencing a lot of the same sort of really traumatic, really difficult calls 00:25:28 Speaker 1: that others are and people don't typically think about them. 00:25:32 Speaker 1: The other group that's really sort of feeling it and that I'm seeing it in our people who are working with those who are, who are struggling with homelessness, 00:25:42 Speaker 1: right. Those working in the shelters, those working in social support agencies, that sort of thing through covid. It's, those industries have been hit very hard 00:25:51 Speaker 1: and those groups have been hit very hard and trying to, you know, deal with the Covid itself and how to keep these people socially distance while still protecting them and providing housing for them, especially through winter months. It's been exceedingly challenging. 00:26:07 Speaker 1: And there have been a lot of deaths within the shelters, a lot of deaths due to covid a lot of deaths due to addiction and substance use. And those, those staff as well I'm seeing are very, very burnt out. 00:26:22 Speaker 1: Um, and the last group that I'm just going to mention briefly are people who are working with Children's age and child protection. 00:26:31 Speaker 1: They're seeing a lot of things as well. People are cooped up and they're stuck at home. There's been an increase in domestic violence that they're reporting there's been an increase in 00:26:42 Speaker 1: just family difficulty. And uh, again, substance abuse within families where kids have been having to be removed more frequently they're reporting than than before because of issues that are going on at home and because of the stresses, you know, when people are losing their jobs and everybody sort of confined together, 00:27:02 Speaker 1: There's a lot of stress in families. So you know, I'm seeing a lot of people that we wouldn't necessarily think of as first responders who definitely our first responders who are also struggling, 00:27:13 Speaker 2: you know, as someone who, who is supporting people every day. How do you take care of your own mental 00:27:19 Speaker 1: health? 00:27:21 Speaker 1: I have a very strict regiment. 00:27:24 Speaker 2: Tell me what that is. I don't 00:27:25 Speaker 1: know if it's a good thing or it's a bad thing. I get up. I tend to get up very early and I usually will go for a run first thing in the morning and that's how I start my day every day. Um, I come in from my run, I get ready for work, I eat breakfast and it's, it's a silly thing, but I usually play a quick game with my kids 00:27:44 Speaker 1: and it's, it's just a silly game that gets us laughing and joking first thing in the morning, but it's just a nice way to start the day off. 00:27:51 Speaker 1: I then leave and I go to work and throughout my day at work, I have a number of little things that I do. I have a breathing break that I do for myself. I have a couple of visualizations, I have an elderly uncle who I give a call every day and we only chat for 23 minutes a day, but I give him a call 00:28:07 Speaker 1: and he's just a riot. So I get to laugh with him just about every day. 00:28:12 Speaker 1: Um, and then at the end of the day I'm very mindful. You know, when I go home I take some time to unwind, I enjoy crafting and knitting and things like that. So I, right now I'm crocheting. So I, I tend to crochet a little bit 00:28:25 Speaker 1: again when I get home, I'll usually go either for a walk or a run and I'll just do a shorter one at the end of the day. I'm making sure that I'm drinking a ton of water and eating well. 00:28:35 Speaker 1: And I also make a point of trying to connect with my friends at least once a week. 00:28:40 Speaker 1: My friends and I have been doing socially distanced walks. When every time we go into lockdown we'll do a socially distanced walk. Sometimes what we do is we meet at the local track and we'll actually talk to each other on the phone while we walk around the track 00:28:54 Speaker 1: so we can see each other and hear each other, but it's, it's kind of, you know, we, we, we do it together, but we're not together. It's one of those, just just to be safe and sometimes we'll do it, you know, just on a trail or something like that. So there's a number of things that I do for myself, but I'm very aware of, you know, I get that social time in that exercise, 00:29:14 Speaker 1: you know, I'm making sure I'm eating well and drinking a lot of water 00:29:17 Speaker 1: and I try to take laugh breaks throughout my day because for me, laughter I know is a real um rejuvenate er 00:29:25 Speaker 2: you practice what you preach I do, 00:29:27 Speaker 1: I try to because I think, you know, as a therapist, if you're not actually doing it, you don't appreciate how difficult it is to do these things, especially in times like this. 00:29:36 Speaker 1: So if you're doing it, you're aware of, okay, 00:29:39 Speaker 1: now this is a challenge. How do I help my clients with this? And how do I help myself with this? I think it makes it so much easier if you practice what you preach, 00:29:48 Speaker 2: What is making you feel hopeful and optimistic in these in these difficult times. I mean especially when you must be, you are hearing some really tough things on a daily basis from clients. So how do you stay hopeful? 00:30:01 Speaker 1: My clients are just amazing people, they really are. You know, the vast majority of my clients personally, our first responders, I love watching how resilient the human spirit is. 00:30:13 Speaker 1: So when I watch somebody who's really, really struggled when they first come in to see me and I watched them get a little bit better, Maybe they're able to go out in public without being super anxious or they're able to sort of get out with a group of friends and laugh for the first time in six or eight months. 00:30:30 Speaker 1: Those are really uplifting moments for me and I'm 00:30:34 Speaker 1: I feel privileged that I'm able to actually sort of have that window into somebody's life who's getting better and I'm always watching my clients get better and that that in and of itself is very hopeful. I think the other thing that makes me really hopeful and it it sounds silly. Um I'm a parent, I've got five kids, 00:30:53 Speaker 1: I watch my kids 00:30:55 Speaker 1: and I'm watching how resilient they are, 00:30:57 Speaker 2: I'm watching how 00:30:58 Speaker 1: we've gone into another round of lockdown here. My kids are doing home school again, they're not thrilled about it, but you know, they're back online laughing and joking with friends in the evening, going for bike rides and they're their socially distanced bike riding again outside and they're doing the things that they need to do to connect with people and I watch how resilient they are and I just think 00:31:17 Speaker 1: we all can learn a little bit from them, 00:31:20 Speaker 1: but it also makes me hopeful because it reminds me that we all have the capacity to do this 00:31:25 Speaker 2: Janet, thank you so much for speaking to me today. 00:31:28 Speaker 1: Thank you so much for having me Marianne and thank you so much for talking about this topic. I think it's really important and I'm so grateful that people like you are willing to have these conversations and share them with a broader public. Because I think people need to hear about these things for 00:31:44 Speaker 2: more about this episode. Go to life 00:31:46 Speaker 1: speak dot com 00:31:47 Speaker 2: slash podcast.