Clinical counsellor Tara Souch stretches before her morning run, a practice she took up when the pandemic closed studios and gyms. (Submitted photo)

Clinical counsellor Tara Souch stretches before her morning run, a practice she took up when the pandemic closed studios and gyms. (Submitted photo)

Pacific Rim Hospice Society gifting free wellness “check-ins” to all West Coast residents

“This pandemic has led to a lot of isolation and it’s helpful for anybody just to have a soundboard.”

The Pacific Rim Hospice Society (PRHS) is offering free, 30-minute counselling sessions with Registered Clinical Counsellor Tara Souch to residents of Tofino, Ucluelet and surrounding First Nations communities.

There is no referral needed, the sessions are confidential, and anyone can reach out. Call (250) 725-1240 or book online at: tarasouch.janeapp.com

“One of the most difficult things for people right now is just the unknown, whether that be the unpredictability of their employment or they don’t when they are going to be able to see family members again. I think that the unknowns are understandably uncomfortable for people,” said Souch.

“We are back in this place where we are experiencing new information, wondering what’s going to happen. Just like we were wondering about the shut down now we are wondering about the opening and what that means,” she said.

Generally speaking when it comes to self-care, Souch notes the importance of being mindful of all the realms of wellness: physical, mental, relational, emotional and spiritual health.

For herself, she started taking herself for a short run every morning since the novel coronavirus upended the world.

“It’s the first thing I do. I get up and I go outside and I move,” Souch said.

“Through movement we process so much. Even if it’s the last thing you want to do because you just want to stay inside and hide from the world, if you are able to just get up and move your body, you know get up and go for a walk maybe go for a run maybe throw some rocks, the catharsis that we have through movement is very important for our healing.”

READ: ‘Infecting our dreams’: Pandemic sabotages sleep worldwide

The spiritual element is especially important in times of uncertainty, Souch continues. She recommends creating a personal healing ritual like spending time in nature, meditating each day, or even reading something inspirational.

“I created a practice for myself where each night I lit a candle and just sent love to all the families and people suffering,” Souch explains. “I knew these candles aren’t going to change the world, but for me I feel like it’s something I can connect to that’s bigger than myself.”

During her sessions, Souch explores all these facets of life and discusses with her clients which areas of wellness they may need to nourish or amplify with healthy practices.

“You don’t need to identify as having some sort of problem to reach out,” Souch notes. “If you are someone who loves and cares for someone who is suffering, reach out because it’s really hard to be alone with that. I wouldn’t want that for anyone.”

She said her sessions through the PRHS are meant to be accessible “check-ins” for everybody.

“This pandemic has led to a lot of isolation and it’s helpful for anybody just to have a soundboard,” said Souch.

RESOURCES TO SEEK HELP

Pacific Rim Hospice: (250) 725-1240

Vancouver Island Crisis Line: 1-888-494-3888

KUU-US Crisis Line: 250-723-4050

BC Schizophrenia Society: 250-937-1403 (regional educator)

CALL 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) to get help right away

Government of B.C.: Virtual Mental Health Supports During COVID-19

B.C. Psychological Association: Covid-19 Psychological First Aid (free of charge)

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