This past weekend, I facilitated a workshop called Thriving During COVD-19. I created a space where participants were allowed to have an open and honest conversation about their fears, concerns, and anxieties related to the pandemic.
The conversation was needed. We all had pent up emotions that needed to be released. We were all walking a thin line between wanting to emotionally vomit and keeping a brave face for their family and friends. COVID-19 is the one common issue we are facing. Individually, we are still managing daily stressors and illnesses that are not related to pandemic.
My goal was to help my participants get through this without destroying themselves and others around them. Or should I say, you will make it through without losing your sense of self and ruining all of your relationships? I shared my struggles along with strategies on how to survive sheltering in place with a toxic person, maintaining your mental health, and self-compassion.
My top two takeaways are:
(1) We are all in this together; however, everyone’s boat looks different. Meaning: We are all in this STORM, but we all are being affected differently and our toolbox looks different.
(2) People need space to vent and be heard. They view themselves as a burden and are not reaching out to their resources?
At the end of my workshop, I sprawled across my bed, feeling exhausted. I processed the highs, the lows, and the next steps for my webinar. I couldn’t shake the feeling of discomfort knowing that some people are not seeking help from their circle because they view themselves as a burden. I began problem solving. How can I fix this? Oh! I can facilitate a Dumping Session. Ideas flooded my mind. I can start a weekly group, and each person will be allowed 5 to 8 minutes to vent. It would be a space where people can dump, be heard, and release. Everyone would listen and you can solicit feedback, if you want it.
I grabbed a pen and paper from my nightstand and frantically wrote down my thoughts. Then stopped mid sentence. By nature, I am a fixer. If I encounter a problem, I am determined to come up with a solution. Because of how I am wired, I have to be careful not to jump in and fix everything. I have learned I don’t always have to BE the answer. I can empower individuals to BE the answers to their own problems.
With that being said, here you go! I am going to give you the tools to have your Dumping Conversation. These are not hard core rules. Make it your own. You know what you and your friends need.
(1) Be selective in who you invite. Invite individuals who are good listeners, innovative and rule-breakers, intrinsically motivated, or have a sense of humor or gratitude. Also, keep your group small and intimate. Five or less.
(2) Set a time limit. How long are you going to allow people to vent? Initially, I thought 5-8 minutes. In retrospect, 8 minutes is a long time to vent. This is not meant to last all day. My recommendation? No longer than five minutes. And yes, that is a hard stop. Using a timer is recommended.
(3) Establish guidelines and norms. For example, not sharing information with outside parties. Privacy is an important aspect of vulnerability and trust.
(4) Allow people to decline your invitation. As stated above, we are going through the pandemic together; however, our boat looks different. People may not be in a place mentally to participate and that is OKAY. Don’t internalize their decline. It’s not about you. It’s about them recognizing where they are.
Like I said, make this your own. Add and take away what you need. Keep me updated! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know how things go. Should you have any questions, feel free to email me and I will answer them on my Instagram page.