In 2007 I worked at a sawmill and the union gave us direction to strike.
We had no idea how long we’d be out (although we were fortunate to receive strike pay). The first month went by, then two, then three, until eventually, we were out for over 17 months. None of us saw that coming!
These are surely unprecedented times.
In my 44 years of life and my nine years of practice, I have never seen anything like this.
The Covid-19 virus has become a global pandemic and none of us are sure when the end is in sight. There are good news stories coming through of how some are battling through and getting back to health, and then other stories of life lost on a large scale in some areas.
Hitting closer to home is how many of us (if not all) are having to close our practice with no opening date in sight, only estimates. None of us know when this is going to end and with that comes the uncertainty of what the future holds, not only for our health and our families but also for our businesses.
So, in the meantime, what can we do?
We all know how beneficial exercise is, not only for the body but also for the mind.
For us introverts being isolated is kind of fun, we get to stay at home in quiet places, read a book and recharge, but at some point, it’s probably going to become a struggle.
However, for our more extroverted friends, this can be a very stressful time as they don’t get the fulfillment they need from social interaction, which can definitely take a toll on mental health.
Exercise is one of the most beneficial things we can do for mental health, so if you’re starting to feel down think about doing some exercise at home. If you do a search on youtube it’s pretty easy to find some different bodyweight, yoga, or other programs that might help you with your mental health, but also keep you fit and healthy so when your clinic opens you can return to work and help those patients that have been desperately missing your treatments.
Here are a few articles with some suggestions for stay at home exercise:
Do Yoga With Me* – doyogawithme.com
I haven’t tried any of these, nor am I giving them an endorsement, but there are at least a few different things you could try from home to get some regular exercise, just see which ones (if any) work for you.
If you don’t like these options, see if you can connect with some friends to do some sort of exercise together via skype, zoom, facetime, or messenger so you not only get some exercise but some of that valued social interaction as well.
*these free offerings are temporary during the coronavirus pandemic
2. Learn Something New
We are going to have a lot of time on our hands during the coming weeks/months…who knows how long.
So why not take the time to learn something new?
Over on theMTDC Facebook page, we have been trying to do some Facebook lives to look at some new research and had a discussion last night about how a few of us changed our narratives on some old massage therapy myths when were faced with research that told us otherwise. We are going to try and do this as often as we can during this pandemic so that we can at least learn something and share some ideas with our colleagues while having some social interaction and helping each other out.
Here are some other free offerings you could use:
- Sandiego Pain Summit Videos* free until April 15 – Rajam Roose
- Runchatlive.com* enter coupon code BELIVE at checkout. – Matt Phillips
- Conedinstitute.com* there are several free course listings on this page for massage therapists.
- Audible.com* has made audiobooks for kids free while schools are closed.
Again, I haven’t used any of these freebies (yet) but if you know of any others please share them with us so we can get the word out to as many of our therapist friends as possible to help with this downtime.
*these free offerings are temporary during the coronavirus pandemic
3. Connect With Other Therapists In Your Community.
Now more than ever we need to support each other.
Believe it or not, this is a golden opportunity to connect with other providers in your community. Try sending other therapists, or clinics an email and see if there is a way for you to connect online while we’re closed down.
Maybe talk about whatever you focus your practice on and find out what they focus on. Perhaps then a referral system can develop once we’re back up and running again.
Or maybe you can discuss marketing strategy, confusing conditions, patients who you’re not sure how to help, or just talk about how hard things are right now being business owners.
This might even be a way to discuss how your government is handling things in your area, how it affects you and your practice, along with understanding how your business can take advantage of government assistance at this time.
Our businesses are quite different than most, so the more we can help each other with this, the better off we will all be.
The point is to connect with other healthcare professionals in your area and see if there’s a way you can help each other, we all need that right now.
4. Start A Blog
If you’re not already blogging to support and market your business, now is a great time to start.
Perhaps you’ve considered it in the past but never really had the time to do it…well…now’s your time!
While blogging can sound difficult, it doesn’t have to be. We’ve written tips about creating amazing blog posts before, which you can read here. The great thing is that you can do it for free! WordPress and Wix are both options that provide free websites for you to start blogging with if your business doesn’t already have a website to blog from.
One of the great things about having a blog in our industry is that it positions you as the expert in your community. As long as you are putting out some quality content regarding your treatment and what you do, it gives you an opportunity to reach new patients and build more trust in your current ones by showing them you care enough to write about and research a topic to educate them. It can be invaluable!
5. Communicate With Your Patients
Arguably this could have been ranked as the #1 thing to do, but I thought self-care was more important.
As much as we need each other right now, your patients may need you even more.
Everyone is freaked out and they are looking for good information from trusted resources. You are that resource!
So, don’t be that annoying therapist that is emailing them a few times a week, but once a week or every two weeks just check-in and see how they’re doing is a good way to remind them you’re still there and you care about their welfare.
Look for trusted websites with trusted information you can share with them.
Especially if you know they are elderly, or immune-compromised and this pandemic could be a big issue for them. Be that trusted healthcare professional that cares enough to send the odd email just as a check-up to see how things are going. If you know they had something big coming up, check-in and see how it went, or send condolences if you know a big event got canceled, be personable ab0ut it, you know your patients and what matters to them.
Most of the time our patients see us more than they do their doctors and our relationship with them is far different. Be that trusted healthcare professional. I hate to say this is a “marketing tactic” (and I’m definitely not a marketer), but you want to be front of mind with your patients once it’s safe for them to come and see you again, so it’s important to stay front of mind and honestly how hard is it to send a couple of emails here and there for the people who support your business? It will be well worth the time investment.
If you know your patients have businesses in town, do what you can to support them as well. Order take out from their restaurant, get groceries delivered from their store, or use their delivery service company, just try to support the ones who support you.
This is a weird time and we’re all in this together, so the more we can do to help our families, our colleagues, our careers, and our patients, the better! While we don’t know how long this is going to last, we should use the time as wisely as we can. Like I spoke of at the start, when we were out on strike for 17 months there was a lot of wasted time, sitting and waiting. If I had known we were going to be out that long, I wish I had used the time in a more productive fashion. It wasn’t until month 15 that I actually registered for and took a course. There is so much I could have gotten done in that time, but we just didn’t know when it was going to end. I don’t plan on taking this time as lightly and I want to be as productive for my business as possible. I hope you do that same too. If there’s anything we can do to help and support you at this time, don’t hesitate to reach out, we’ll see what we can do to help. You’re not alone, we’re all in this together.