3:11am…why don’t I just get up and work on something on the to-do list or watch television or scroll through some social media platform or read the pile of books on the nightstand? If I fall asleep now I can still get a few hours in. Arg, it's busy tomorrow and sleep is needed. But I can’t sleep. If you are tired you should be able to sleep, ya right. I also find it ironic that the scheduled post for the day is on Sleep Hygiene where I talked about the benefits of sleep and provided tips for sleeping and here I am unable to sleep.
This dialogue is a common occurrence for me. Mulling over some business issue or problem in the middle of the night. Worrying about something that had occurred the day before. I know not all business owners have this issue, but I have been an insomniac since a child. It is on and off problematic, but I have seemed to manage over the years. And of course it has followed me into adulthood. And followed me into the world of entrepreneurship.
I am exhausted. COVID-19 is exhausting. Everyone has been experiencing the effects of the pandemic in different ways and at different levels of exhaustion. And of course I am grateful for so many things during this current state the world is in and my worries are really a lot of 1st world problems and privileges. I completely get that. But as an example of some increased COVID-craziness for my 1st world problems, I found myself researching disinfectants for two hours today. Instead of charting on the clients for the day or working on the 50 items on the to-do list, I am researching disinfectants and comparing it to our current products. Who would have thought I would be looking at concentration levels of certain cleaners and verifying them on the Health Canada COVID-19 approved site? This was not on the business plan. Just another one of many COVID tasks to add to the growing to do lists.
As I am sure most business owners can agree - this is not really a “new normal” as there is nothing “normal” about how we are operating right now, no matter what industry. There are pressing financial concerns, increased overhead and less revenue coming in. We have had to modify many things to be operational. I am sure unless you are in the disinfectant or hand sanitizer businesses, your income has been affected in some way. Of course, as a healthcare professional we have been trained in the area for infection and disease control as part of our program. Along with other health care practitioner programs, we were examined on hand washing steps and trained on personal protection equipment. So, hygiene is normal, cleaning between clients is normal, mindful of diseases and their contraction is normal, but the COVID-19 pandemic has not been “normal”. There comes so much uncertainty, unknowns, and ever-changing guidelines, which has made this very unfamiliar and ABnormal. And I am sure everyone can agree with that.
So, its 3:11am and I am mulling over disinfectants - how long they need to be on the surface before wiping, do I need to rinse afterwards, what is the WHIMS code on them, is it going to destroy any equipment, is there an odour, is it safe for those sensitive to certain products, etc, etc, etc. Last week it was the use of masks research and this week the use of disinfectants. Is this overkill or is this what is required to protect my clients, staff and business? Who really knows? Even the World Health Organization has ever-changing answers and their experts are uncertain. Go. To. Sleep, Sara.
3:34am. We have had to make appointments run like clockwork at the clinic. We have clients unsure of processes, worrying in their vehicles they have the right day and time. We are wearing masks. We have extra hand washing steps, extra cleaning, extra worry. Are we providing the same quality of service as pre-COVID? Did I treat the client how I would have pre-COVID? Can we treat the same as pre-COVID? Reputation is everything in a newer, little, local business. And we are a service industry providing care to those trusting us with their health care. With all the extra cleaning, intake forms and checklists, can we possibly treat our usual way? Maybe? I, for one, am sure trying.
4:02am. Last time I looked at the clock. So I must have slept a little? Maybe I was dreaming of killing viruses and healing injuries with my new superhero uniform accessories consisting of masks and gloves. And my new weapon of choice must be a COVID-approved disinfectant. Or maybe I was drowning in the disinfectant? Those sleep experts out there would argue you could not have possibly got into any type of REM sleep cycle with dreams when your alarm is going off in a few hours.
As like the majority of business owners, we are certainly trying our best with the information we have. One of my favourite quotes comes from Arthur Ashe - “start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”
My message today is to please be kind and patient, especially to your local small business owners as we are treading in unfamiliar waters, while trying to keep our heads above water. Continue to help us out by throwing in a flotation device instead of pushing our heads under water. Good thing I like swimming.
Just keep swimming…
Clinic Director and Dance Physiotherapist, Sara Lawson has a special interest in artistic athletes and dance medicine. Sara has worked as a Physiotherapist for many years with a variety of high end athletes, performing artists, and in a variety of fields of Physiotherapy. Join her in exploring behind the scenes of performance and dance Physiotherapy as a clinician and business owner. Behind the Curtain is meant to be an informative, raw, and open platform discussing the challenges and rewards of this industry where the show must always go on.