Every time I see an ad or an article or some industry quip about ways to keep busy during the “winter slump” my eyes bug out of my head and I catch my breath. What “winter slump?!” The holiday season has traditionally been the busiest season for me throughout my career.
And so it is that, once again, I have an excuse for being behind on getting my blog posts turned in in a timely manner. At least, that’s what I tell myself. Like everyone else, this time of year is busy. For me, it’s busy with work, family, and holidays. People are sick all around me and I’m working that mind-over-matter factor for all it’s worth — no time for getting sick! — and I am holding more stressed-out, sad, worried hands than usual.
Not just the usual “up against a deadline” stress, or “me and my boyfriend broke up,” or “I don’t want to go to my in-laws for the holidays” stress. I have some very dear clients who are beyond their normal stress levels. They are distracted and unresponsive to my chatter, they are way too cooperative with where I need their hands, and when I look up at them they are far away and obviously fighting tears.
I’m used to clients, especially my regulars, opening up to me. Sharing their little triumphs and tragedies with me along the path of our lives together. I’ve been privy to clandestine romances, impending divorces, I’ve been the first to know about pregnancies, sympathized through lost pregnancies, I’ve worried about test results with them, I’ve rejoiced in new puppies, grandchildren, and first homes. And I’ve bought a lot of cookie dough to raise money for T-ball teams and band uniforms.
I’m pretty emotionally invested in these people who are so much more to me than dollar signs.
I don’t know the right thing to do or say when they get quiet. Quiet is bad. Quiet is serious.
I want to hold them all and promise them it’s going to be OK. It’ll get better. At least their nails will look good. [hopeful smiley face]
In the end, I’m just the nail-lady. I’m neither equipped nor qualified to offer professional counseling. All I can do is hold their hands and make sure their nails look good while their world is falling apart.