For many people this has been a really tough year. With lockdowns, time apart from family, anxiety and uncertainty taking over our daily life.
I specialise in helping people heal disordered eating but also have clients who are coaches doing therapeutic work.
It feels very scary and vulnerable to share what I know is going to be such a personal post here and I feel quite vulnerable doing so. I wanted to share in case it is helpful for others to read.
I think that lots of people think that being a coach means having ‘fixed your shit’, being happy and dare I say ‘high vibe’ all the time.
The reality is that all of us, even coaches, are always learning, always healing, always growing.
And whilst we have hopefully done a shit tonne of work to get to where we are, we aren’t perfect. We are still humans having an imperfect human experience.
And I really do believe that our commitment to continuing our own healing and our own growth is vital to being a good coach and therapist.
But, having said that, we are very lucky to have a much better toolbox of tools than the general public.
So, when lockdown originally hit, after a fantastic holiday skiing in the Alps, I genuinely had very few concerns about how we would cope. Thinking it would take a few weeks and it would all sort itself out.
Well, as we all know, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
In the first few weeks of the pandemic, my mum and dad had COVID. My dad ended up going into hospital with sepsis and pneumonia and we weren’t sure whether he would come out.
With him being in and out of consciousness, I waited each day for a call from my mum having spoken to the nurses to say he had made it through the night.
All the while I was showing up for my clients, doing weekly workshops/masterclasses and coping with the new lockdown in a studio flat.
Yoga classes, meeting friends and family went out of the window. My partner and I also moved home to Devon which left me more isolated. The only social interaction that I had was being online with clients, people on social media or catching up with family on FaceTime.
And with each month that has gone by, as it has for most of us, got more and more draining.
Before the pandemic I had between five and seven intensive one-to-one coaching clients at any one time.
As a coach the effect of COVID on the mental health of all of us is really evident. I now have 15 clients and a growing waiting list!
I came into coaching after having suffered my own battles and wanting to help others doing the same. Knowing that there is so much pain out in this world right now hurts me on the deepest of levels.
A part of me does feel guilty about not being able to serve everyone who has reached out for my help. But, I also know that I am already seeing more clients than I would do in an ideal world without the same access to things to help top up my cup and keep myself well. Even with the tools in my toolbox it isn’t enough.
A part of me feels horrendous that my free weekly workshops have gone out of the window because I just don’t have the capacity or energy to do them.
And then imposter syndrome kicks in. I think to myself, ‘who am I to coach people when I am not loving life right now?’
But I know that I am not alone and I know that above any other labels or roles I have in this life, I am human.
I am not sharing this because I want sympathy or think coaches have been harder hit than others, because I really don’t want people to walk away from this blog thinking either of those things.
But hopefully coaches reading this will feel less broken or alone for not having ‘coped as well as they think they should have’ and give themselves a break! We weren’t trained for a pandemic. No one was.
For non-coaches, I hope you will realise from reading this that if people with so many more tools than the average person are struggling then you should give yourself a break too.
I also ask that if you are working with a therapist or coach at the moment then remember they are also human and not pandemic trained. They might take longer to reply because their cup is empty. They might be setting firmer boundaries to protect their energy. They might not feel as ‘high vibe’ because they are just as bloody knackered as the rest of us.
This ‘new normal’ is something we are all learning to cope with together and I do hope it will all be over soon!