Before, when we were racing from work to hobby to home, it was easy to keep ourselves too busy and distracted to live with any true intention.

I wrote about this issue for my therapy clients, but the same interruption has occurred for us therapists and trainers too.

So many people suddenly have a lot more quiet time in life. But quiet time is tortuous for those who are suffering stress, overwhelm, or anxiety.

If we’ve been avoiding building our therapy practice by being too busy to really look at it, then that excuse has probably come to a crashing halt.

This impacts us 2 ways:

1. We may have lost a lot of clients face to face and be reeling from that

2. We may suddenly have the time and space to work on really building our practice

I’ll give some advice further down on what to do if your practice is suddenly reduced, but first I will talk about what I think is the bigger aspect for many therapists.

A large number of therapists I meet contradict themselves by saying they have no clients and then saying they don’t have time to build their practice.

It absolutely can feel like that. I know it can. But if we call ourselves Therapists or Trainers, we need to make time to see clients.

It is so common to have trepidation and bad feeling surrounding a job that we know we have to do, but that we are worried or uncertain about. So much so that we actually hold back from doing it. We use any distraction, any excuse that will stop us facing those fears. Even if we know that it could lead to success, that others have done it. We will put it off for months, sometimes years and justify it to ourselves.

Maybe we’re feeling not good enough, always being our own worst critic, never giving ourselves a break. What if we try it and fail where others succeeded? Those feelings seem louder and stronger in the stillness and quiet that people are now experiencing.

Normally if we feel those things, we can distract ourselves with the routine and the treadmill of life, but that’s changed for most of us right now.

In some months this will end, and we will have the option to get back to the cycle of work and procrastination. In the meantime, many will simply lose themselves in social media, working too much at home, any busy pointless work they can find, or may even descend into alcohol or drugs.

If there is bad feeling right now, I recommend you welcome it.

It’s a herald or messenger of a chance to make life better. Think of something you know to be important, that you have been putting off. Do you get that ‘ugh!’ feeling? Hold on to that – that is the signal that you need to change things up.

Let’s not hide from what needs to change by just keeping too busy to notice it.

It’s not the job that needs to change, or the strategy for coping – it’s the feeling itself.

Removing that bad feeling means that we could all be happier in ourselves, and our cognitive efficiency (out brain’s ability to do well) will increase. That boosts productivity without pressure, allows us to enjoy life, and makes it easier to succeed in what matters to us. Family time, sports and hobbies, and work.

Lots of people have extra free time now, sitting at home not working as much or saving hours of travel each day. Wouldn’t it be great to use some of it to make life better long-term and to grow happiness and to get on top of that positive emotion that drives us into success?

There is opportunity now.

This won’t involve a “Eureka” moment, or fanfare. Small changes are the secret here. It doesn’t have to involve leaving home either.

Online options are all over the place.

Here are 6 options that you can do from home (several of them for free) that can help us become more positive and resourced to face down our fears, build success and improve well-being and happiness as well. Try a few and see which suit you:

1. Yoga – One of the most successful things to boost well-being. (I checked the data and research on this recently and it frequently lifts mood in a single session. More evidence for that than for any other intervention I’ve seen). I do Yoga from YouTube videos. Just the simple beginner’s stuff, and often for only 10 minutes. It makes my days better in many ways.

2. Mindfulness. It cuts stress, reduces anxiety, and improves clarity of thinking. Loads of evidence out there. If focusing on breath is not relaxing, then focus on your feet or hands. There are many options. Again, YouTube is there, free apps, and free online classes.

3. Exercise. Just walking 30 minutes has huge benefits. Improves mood, cuts stress, reduces anxiety, reduces long term risks for arthritis, Alzheimer’s and more too.

4. Personal development courses. There are any number of courses online that can teach skills to improve emotional well-being, increase self-awareness, grow emotional intelligence, enhance motivation etc. There are free, low price, and high price options out there.

5. Self-care. If there is something that really needs to be addressed with assistance, such as anxiety, depression, trauma, etc. there are loads of online therapy options available. Check out which ones have a good track record and see who you can find. Everything will work for somebody but finding which work for many people is my recommendation. I can help find referrals for people if needed. I know a lot of therapists and their specialities 😊

6. Be honest.  A big one. Just checking in on how we feel a few times during the day and being honest about whether this is how we want to feel, is a massive thing. If we can stop denying or ignoring what’s really being felt, we can take control. I know too much about this one having lived over three decades with severe anxiety. It was too easy to ignore how I was feeling and to lie to myself that it was all fine. That act of ignoring the real problems kept me suffering for decades. This is our chance to evaluate life and make changes. It’s tough, fear-filled, and perhaps the most useful thing many of us could ever do. You don’t have to have all the answers at the start, it’s fine to search for them as you go.

When I need to focus, I do something to shift gear inside. I then find it easier to do what needs to be done, and I do it well with the help of that internal emotional shift. (I did 5 minutes of mindfulness before writing this for example).

The pandemic is the biggest pattern interrupt in living memory.

The treadmill is stopped, or at least slowed down. Don’t spend the next weeks wishing for it to speed up again. Whatever happened in the past, whatever holds us back may be the result of the actions of others, but we are the only people who can make change in our own lives. That starts with awareness and a step in the right direction.

Can we take this different time and be honest about why we’re holding back from getting our message out? Is there a feeling we need to change, in order to build success in our business? Take advantage of it and take a step in the right direction.

Build happiness and peace one step at a time, then they allow everything else to become easier.

For those who have an existing practice which is dropping down big time during this situation, I’d recommend the following:

1. If at all possible, take your therapy online. Skype, Zoom, VSee, etc. There are loads of video options. Some are even HIPPA compliant if you need that (US healthcare people might).

2. People are still suffering, and they might have more stress with the pandemic impact too. Most are still being paid and now have a lot more time. We can support them. Don’t assume they are not available, interested, or able to afford it. I have 13 clients already booked in online this week and more will come in. Three weeks ago, I averaged one session every 2 weeks online. This is new for most of us.

3. Talk about the issues you help and feel free to talk about Covid-19 in your posts, videos, and articles. There is real fear and stress out there over it. Is it ethical to ignore that, if you can help? We have to move past the feelings of ‘I don’t want to talk about it in case someone thinks I’m trying to exploit this’. Yeah, some people will be negative, but people need support. Be nice about it. Don’t hard sell or fearmonger. Do inform, offer, and give advice. Make the world a better place and accept that some of that good energy will come back to you in the form of new clients. Silence isn’t a good option when we can help.

4. Focus on client retention first. People you’re already helping still need help, they already know you and are clients. Make it easy for them to continue online or over the phone. Call them, don’t e-mail. People are far more reassured when we speak to them and explain distance therapy options, than when an e-mail or text tries to do so.

5. If needed, give people a price break or deferred payments. Only do this if they ask for it. Most people are still on full pay. Don’t assume anything, but have a plan if needed. Personally, I have people paying a small amount each month and able to continue rather than cut them off. But it’s only 1 or 2 people. Most of my clients are still on full pay even if they are at home. In general it’s always best if they pay something session to session as it prevents a huge bill accumulating and turning into a barrier to them continuing as a client.

6. Use a headset with a microphone for calls. It makes it a much better experience for your client. The whirr of laptop fans can sound like a lawnmower over video calls. A cheap microphone and headset is fine. Mine cost under $20 and outperforms my expensive equipment.

Keep your chin up and put self-care front and centre. Build the feelings that help make it easier to take the steps you want to take. I hope you choose to focus on happiness, now. That’s what will make everything work better.

Please keep sharing your help!

I’m always happy to chat about how life and business can improve, so feel free to get in touch I you like.

Questions, comments, etc all welcome below!

Be safe, be well.

Have a great week,
John

info@TherapyandCoachingSuccess.com
+353 85 13 13 700

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John Prendergast is an award-winning Success Coach and and Psycho-Trauma Anxiety Therapist.

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