Coffee date catch up – Casual jobs and pandemic brain

In 2020 I started my Coffee date catch up posts as a way to connect a bit with my readers and to reflect on my own thoughts and experiences from the last little while. I don’t actually follow the numbers of people that read these posts, but they have served as a nice check in for myself, so I am continuing to write them.

Last time I wrote a post, I had given my notice to my new job that I wanted to be moved to a casual employee and got some kick back. I advocated for myself and told my story and then was allowed to move to this space. Since I have moved into a casual position, I have been able to step away from taking more new clients and been able to pay full attention to my current clients. From the MOMENT I gave in my notice, I already felt way more like myself. I had time to breathe, to think about other things besides what I was going to encounter going into my clients’ homes and how I was going to deal with my supervisor this day. I had time to walk without being on constant phone calls, and for the first time ever I learned a part of a dance…. not because I was getting paid for it, but just because I wanted to for JOY!

Here are my take aways from the last little while

  • When a job takes over all your energy, you know it is not the one for you. I loved each and every one of the clients that I got to know over the three months that I worked with this company full time, but the job was demanding too much from me for what it was. We were not re-inventing the wheel, we were often repeating the same assessment and interventions over and over … which meant unlike my pediatric job, I shouldn’t have been needing to take up so much time to plan for and follow up with clients. But the support from the company just wasn’t there, and my clinical lead discouraged me from seeking help from my colleagues as she “didn’t trust they had the right answers” RED FLAG THERE. I am someone that LOVES asking questions and collaborating to find the answers for my clients. I spend hours at my weekend job talking to my coworkers who are social workers, ECEs, funding representatives for autism services etc, bouncing off ideas about how we can best help our clients (who all live very different lives in very different areas of the city). But these collaborative chats are ones that help me become a better therapist every single day. And not being supported in this way, or encouraged to be supported in this way from my company made this job so exhausting that I never had the energy to paint, dance, sing, walk for leisure or workout. Although there were benefits and guaranteed work, my energy was always guaranteed to be anxious or low…. NOT worth it.
  • I started (and had to pause) nature therapy programming. Things have been going so well with nature programming – we finished week 3 last week, which included lots of social and emotional growth with the older kids, and exploration of nature, as well as fine motor skill development with the younger ones through drawing, painting with nature items and cutting and pasting. My heart soared in this role, watching the kids bond with each other and grow together! Unfortunately we had to put programming on pause this week because of new Ontario lockdowns for COVID (but I am hoping to pivot and start offering some sort of virtual therapy for kids which involves nature in some way). My take away so far from this nature program is that often times parents worry that their children are behind, lacking in something, or unable to learn new things, and nature provides the perfect natural context to experiment with new things and prove otherwise. One of my highlights was with one of my older kiddos who went from stating he absolutely hated nature and it was super boring in week one, to trusting myself and the other children and getting dirty while exploring. He even last session told me that time went by so fast, maybe he actually likes nature! I’ve been feeling extra proud of myself lately for moving so quickly into new roles, and for creating such fun and inclusive programming for kids.
  • Although nature group is stopping for now, the alternative school that I teach at is starting a social skills and movement group for 6 of their children that need the most assistance, and I will be leading that starting this week! This group will be an interesting one to lead because I don’t really know the kids yet and I think they are at a wider age range than my nature group kids, but there hasn’t yet been a challenge that I can’t rise to so I’m excited for what is yet to come!
  • I am remembering what the warmth of the back patio brought to me last year during the pandemic, and now that we are once again in a major COVID lockdown in Ontario, I am going to need to remember that MAJORLY. We have two cats who love being outside but aren’t able to manage themselves, so we got the little fiesty one a harness. He is STILL trouble with his harness on, so he must be supervised at all times, but it gives me a nice excuse to take my work outside sometimes 🙂 It’s really the little things that get me by these days! Aside from being outdoors with my cats, I’m also remembering the magic of walking which I have left behind recently due to major low moods and anxiety, as well as dancing and working out! Today I taught a dance class and did a bit of a workout while watching tv and my mood was much better! I think I’m going to start doing mid day dance breaks as well as the other dance classes I’ll be teaching more regularly (here was one of the tik tok dances we learned in my dance class today)
@kristinarenee74

#ontariolockdown number 1034729 ft. police have powers to pull people over 🤦🏻‍♀️ just trying to get onto #dancetiktok for mental health #fyp

♬ original sound – weaviljasonn

What kind of things have you been feeling lately? What things are making you MAD these days? Share in the comments below, letting out some of your emotions can be quite cathartic even if it’s just on a random blog post xo

Until next time , stay well and stay sassy

Published by maiiflowerr

Pronouns She/Her. I'm a millennial just trying to make a difference in the world, and create space for people to accept themselves and live their best lives. My fiancee, Sydney, and I are mothers to our two goofy cats, and the queens of creative adventures. I am an Occupational therapist, a dancer and a yoga instructor with a passion for supporting people and creating community.

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