COVID-19 Unexpected Effects:

Working in the counseling realm during the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing that resulted, I was unsure how my current and new clients were going to present to their newly introduced TeleHealth sessions this week. My naive assumption to this “world pause” and “global crisis” was that the people who were engaged in counseling prior to COVID-19 were going to need extra care and attention to help navigate the anxieties of the new normal. Boy, I was wrong.

I discovered a surprising theme throughout my client sessions this past week. A theme of gratitude for health and space to pause. To pause the busyness of life and take a step back from “all the things”. Don’t get me wrong, everyone had worries about what the next day was going to bring and how the world will move forward; However, the individuals sitting across from me on the computer screen expressed these deep appreciations and self-aware moments that frankly we hadn’t discovered yet in our sessions. Client after client dug deeper into their sessions than before and left this counselor stunned that she didn’t anticipate this unusual effect of COVID-19. How naive of me.

Scaling back the activities, deadlines, and engagements gave these people more space to focus on their wellness. Emotional, mental, and physical wellness that often become ignored as “all the things” take precedent. More time to connect with friends and family (ironically) via a phone call or Zoom (yes I have learned this new platform) made relationships stronger over the past week. The unexpected results were evident with my clients as they simply expressed that they felt less stress. We all know that life will transition back to somewhat of our previous normal but my challenge to these clients was to remember this timeframe and how eliminating “some of the things” opened up space for them to be less stressed and care for themselves more than before. Being a goal-getter is admirable and takes tremendous work, but not at the expense of your own wellness. Take care friends and use this time wisely as the world remains paused and we have time to reflect on our lives.

About Jessica Ulmer, LPC, NCC

Licensed Professional Counselor for Morning Star Counseling, LLC in Lancaster, Pa. Office locations are East Petersburg and Quarryville.
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