Recent Media Interviews
Updated: Jul 9, 2020
*An excerpt from a Solent Mind interview with a link to the National BBC Interview
Can you tell us a bit about how covid-19 has affected you personally and professionally?
I am a qualified hypnotherapist and opened up my own practice in Oxfordshire at the beginning of the year. Then the pandemic hit. This has had a huge impact on my business as I have obviously not been able to see any clients during lockdown. Even now that things are looking a little brighter, clients are still understandably reluctant to take the step to leave their home to visit a therapy room, even though, ironically, the need for a mental health overhaul is required at this time more than ever. However, I have put every precaution in place. Every client is asked to wash their hands before they enter the therapy room, all surfaces are satirised before and after every client, face shields are provided and even the hypnotherapy chair has been moved so that the client and therapist are facing away from each other. Thankfully I have also had the option to adapt and now offer sessions online.
I am also a volunteer part time in a local nursing home which has kept me busy and my husband is still able to work full time so thankfully we haven't been hit financially as badly as we could have been but I really feel for those who have.
How have you adapted? any hurdles you've had to overcome?
The residents in the nursing home hadn't seen their families or loved ones for 10-12 weeks, for some it was even longer. Although this is for the physical health and safety of the residents, their mental health has understandably been a concern but is something that is just as important. It's hard enough for us to not see family and friends but for residents, it's often their daily or weekly highlight and the one thing they really look forward to. It's especially difficult for those with dementia who may not fully understand why their family aren't visiting. It's been very sad to see. The effects of this could certainly be seen in the residents mood, behaviour and even health. You could be mistaken in thinking those with dementia wouldn't be as emotionally affected but it goes to show how amazing our brains are and that they take in so much more information than we are aware of.
The government's advice hasn't always been clear or specific but i understand it can't cover every case scenario and it's obviously hoped that the public will use their common sense. However, when it comes to care homes and these elderly vulnerable people, often with underlying health conditions, it needs to be specific. We haven't really had any government guidelines on how or when we should reintroduce visits. Therefore we made the decision to very slowly and carefully re-introduce visits for the mental health and wellbeing of the residents, but of course at the same time ensuring every health and safety precaution we can.
We continued with video calls which helped as residents could actually see faces. Being able to talk to loved ones or even just seeing their faces can have a profound, positive effect on our wellbeing. After we were tested and thankfully getting 100% negative results within the home - (residents and staff) we introduced drive thru-visits, incorporating all the social distancing rules. Then this week we progressed to carefully organised garden visits. Even with social distancing in place and without any physical contact, just being able to actually see their family in front of them and have a conversation has had such a positive and profound effect on the residents. It has given them the boost they so needed. Of course, the benefit goes both ways. The relatives have been able to get that reassurance they needed to see their loved one is OK and see how they have been coping.
For me personally, it has been difficult to be able to see friends and family, especially my small niece and nephew who don't fully understand why I haven't been to see them. I have also had personal challenges with close friends. one of my best friends hasn't treated the pandemic as a serious threat from the beginning and hasn't really maintained any sort of social distancing or following of regulations and is also very keen to meet up. This is something I have chosen not to risk doing, especially as I work in a home with those who are so vulnerable. it's just not a risk I'm willing to take. But repeatedly having to have those conversations with this friend has been difficult.
How are you looking after yourself? (diet, exercise, routine etc)
Through my hypnotherapy and psychotherapy training, we are taught a lot about coping mechanisms, shifting mindsets and techniques to keep both our body and mind healthy. When I started my training, never did I think my use of this techniques would be personally tested so vigorously. However, I continually them all invaluable. Simple techniques such finding a quiet place and taking 10-15 minutes each day to practise slow focused breathing, has been extremely beneficial. I usely do this as part of self-hypnosis which is actually a very simple technique and helps calm the mind and declutter thoughts. It also helps alleviate any stress or tension, reduce anxiety and find perspective. It's actually something everyone can do at home and I have a free hypnotherapy recording on my website that also includes a simple breathing technique.
Anxiety can creep up on the best of us but realising that anxiety is a fear of what might happen can help us to shift our perspective. What is it we fear might happen? Is there something we can do to ensure it doesn't happen? Are we prepared if it does? Once we have done all we can, worked towards ensuring the safety of us and those around us, we then
need to just take a breath and remember that we can not change what is not in our control. All we can do is our best and know that we are strong enough to cope with what we are faced with.
Rather than thinking, ''I can not cope with X'' or '' Im so scared of Y and Z ...'' we can instead work on our inner monologue and remind ourselves that actually ''I was faced with this challenge and I got through it'' or ''This may have frightened me but I am strong and I will learn and adapt to anything i am faced with''. Even if we don't believe it, our brain listens to what we tell it. Feeding our subconscious with positive affirmations will eventually lead us to believe it. Once we believe it, we will begin to feel it and eventually it will become our truth. However, this works both ways. If we continually tell ourselves that we can't cope or that we are useless, that we aren't strong enough, our brain will listen and that too can become our truth. It's important to think about the positive things we do have in our lives.
Another useful exercise that I find works well if I feel down is to think of 3 things that I am thankful for and three things that day that have made me happy. These can be big or small. From ''I'm thankful for the people who love me'' and ''hearing my nieves voice today made me happy'' to ''I'm thankful that I have food in the fridge and finding that film I wanted to watch on Netflix made me happy.'' Doing this often ensures we don't lose perspective or take for granted all the positive things we have in our life. Our thoughts matter and are one thing we can control.
How do you unwind?
Even if there is washing to do and dinners to cook, I think it's very important that I always take time for myself. Even if it is only 10-20 minutes. I will find a quiet place, breathe, organise my thoughts, maybe listen to music or often in silence, I will just sit and enjoy being still. As simple as it sounds, I find this a huge boost both mentally and also physically. it gives me energy.