March 2020 was a month that changed all of our lives. For me, that meant home-schooling 4 children, working part time as an independent Occupational Therapist(OT) and part time as an NHS OT…. all from home! Due to me being Asthmatic, I was advised to avoid face-to-face contact for the foreseeable future and as an OT where my work is primarily client facing, this raised a lot of worries about how I would still provide a high-quality service and modify my common ways of working.
- “How will I support clients through the use of resources and information?”
- “How will I balance risks vs risk enablement?”
- “How will I support clients to problem solve?”
- “How will digital solutions help me to work remotely?”
At times, there was also a feeling of guilt. Guilt for not ‘working on the front line’. This took me some time to accept and now I am owning my situation and circumstances. I’m the kind of person who likes to ‘get out there’ and see people in person in their own environment.
Nothing can replace the care and compassion of a smiling face or a reassuring squeeze of the hand.
After some adjustments to my environment and also my mindset (which was a big one), I realised that I still had a vital and hugely valuable part to play. I was and am making a difference to people and rebuilding lives, it’s just a different approach.
Although regulating risk factors is a continuous juggle which requires careful assessment and management, there are some positives to working from home. This includes maximising my time without distractions (yes, it is possible even with the kids around thanks to my husband also working from home!), thinking innovatively about the future of OT and taking this opportunity to improve existing processes and ways of working.
The core of OT is delivering a holistic and personalised approach to both mental and physical health needs; a personalised assessment with a detailed treatment plan, goals set in partnership with the client and formulating a treatment plan around improving function, maintaining certain skill levels or reducing risks.
Since lockdown, I have discovered that this can be achieved virtually and has taught me a lot about what aspects of work could possibly look like beyond COVID-19.
My experience has taught me a lot and my advice to others in a similar position would be…
- Talk to others. You’ll probably find that you’re not alone.
- Don’t beat yourself up by focusing on the negatives.
- Make a list of all the things you ARE offering; you might just surprise yourself.
- It’s hard being a full-time mum, home-schooling and working. If something can give, that’s okay too.
- You don’t need anyone else to validate your worth and efforts.
- It’s a pandemic!!! Whatever you’re doing, it’s okay 😊
Hopefully some of this has resonated with you and you are able to take some of my tips away. We truly are living in unprecedented times (sorry if you’ve heard that word a million times now!), in which we all need to support one another but also look after ourselves.
“You can’t fill someone else’s cup until you’ve filled yours first.”
For more information about how my services may support, feel free to get in touch with me. I am based in Nottingham and am able to offer my services remotely.
Much love, Manisha 😊