For some it will be a “Thank goodness that year is over.”
For others it will be “How can we recover financially, emotionally and mentally from the year we have just had?”
Overall, few will disagree that the past two years have affected us personally and/or professionally, or at the very least, to someone we know.
Now as Omicron wags its tail at us, the uncertainty just heightens the strain and stressors already felt.
In 2021 the number of people coming across the doorstep of my consulting room, covered both a wider span in age demographic as well as in the purpose for seeking support. It will probably not be a surprise to know that levels of heightened anxiety, worry, fear, and struggle, have topped the list.
These issues impacted the young, especially in their ability to try to focus during periods of disrupted study and their struggles to deal with the limits placed on their social activities and diminished access to peer support groups.
Many couples have felt the growing strain in their relationships with each other. Where previously, misunderstandings have either corrected or healed themselves, there has been evidence of a much greater fallout.
Couples have found themselves spread ‘thin’ in working to balance their lives, and often too, for those who have families, emotionally, mentally and financially in these times of uncertainty. For many there has been a loss of jobs, businesses, or reduced hours.
Shared values long held, have been tested; time given for effective communication has been less; harsh words have stung leaving hurt and unresolved conflict in their wake, as intimacy for many, has felt like it left the building.
People in more senior years, have also realised significant change in how they imagined this stage of their life would play out with anticipated trips, activities, friendships, and outings.
For some, they now feel as if they are a burden to their families and to society in general. Their savings and shares are worth less, and advanced age directives have necessitated change leaving some with feelings of guilt through no fault of their own.
Their normal routines have been curbed, and they are experiencing growing concern of becoming sick. Many feel quite alone, with depression, insomnia, worry, and anxiety, all very high.
This might all sound very grim but as we reflect on what we have faced and the toll it has taken, and now step into the year ahead, it’s important that we do what we can to stay strong and to be aware when we need some help.
Right now, we can all do with a little dose of kindness to factor in the reality of the wear and tear and to take some steps to begin the ‘mending.’ It’s important to not ignore the signals .
Some people ask me, “how long will it take?” Or “how many sessions will we need?” The answer is that it will take less time the earlier we reach out to receive the help we need.
The signals and cracks will have taken time to appear but leaving these unaddressed, only prolongs the pain and increases the scale of the mountain to climb. A counselling and psychotherapeutic environment can definitely provide a way forward.
In confidential surroundings, thoughts and feelings can be voiced and heard. Trust can be rekindled, plans and strategies can form, and significant change can evolve.
All of this in an environment which is safe and one which offers fair and objective support.