(201) Health 2022 Edition | Page 37



Life coach Aleksandra Gasiorowska helps clients heal emotionally on Zoom

When Aleksandra Gasiorowska set up her life coaching business during the early months of COVID , she knew she could relate to clients who ’ d gone through loss , because she ’ d experienced it herself . Gasiorowska had been supporting herself through modeling and bartending , and the shutdown prevented her from earning alivelihood .“ That was taken away from me , and it was ahuge adjustment ,” she says .

But the downtime was also an opportunity .“ Ihad achance toslow down and think about the next step Iwanted to take ,” says Gasiorowska , anative of Poland who lives in Wallington and studied marketing at William Paterson University .
She ’ dalways been the person colleagues sought out when they wanted to share their feelings and get advice . She decided to become alife coach . She received her certification through an online program called Coach Training Alliance .
“ There were lots oflosses during that time — loss ofjobs , loss ofpeople close to you , shifts inpeople ’ s lives ,” she says . She started conducting virtual one-on-one sessions as well as meet-up groups along different themes , including grief . Typically , sessions last anhour ; online attendance varies , but a recent group for clients processing grief attracted five-to-10 members , she says . Other virtual gatherings have included a men ’ s divorce support group , one for loss of any kind and aself-help book group .
“ They like that they have loss in common and can relate to each other ,” she says .“ Their friends and family are tired of hearing about it , and the sessions are where they can go and feel heard , not judged .”
Because her services are online , Gasiorowska can work with clients from around the world . “ I had aman in one meet-up group from Bali ,” a 12-hour time difference away , she says .
Gasiorowska has a consistent message for those who are missing someone or something — a loved one , a job , or a sense of identity : Don ’ t suppress your feelings , and know that it ’ s ok to feel sad . “ Then you readjust and reframe your situation ,” she says .“ What can I do with this ?”
She tells grieving clients that they ’ re not moving on from lost loved ones , but moving with them . “ I say , ‘ Although this person is not physically here anymore , you can still take them with you . They can be in your mind , and you can speak or pray to them ,’” she says .“ I tell them to
“ Although this person is not physically here anymore , you can still take them with you . They can be in your mind , and you can speak or pray to them .”
remember funny things they shared . Humor helps a lot .” Even if a relationship with a parent wasn ’ t close , there will be moments to reflect on that bring them closer in spirit , she says .
Alarge number ofGasiorowska ’ sclients are divorced , having split up during COVID , she says ; many of them were in unhealthy relationships whose problems were made more obvious when they were forced to spend more time under the same roof with their mates . “ COVID made or broke a lot of relationships ,” she says .“ I dig in and help them figure out why they picked this sort of partner .”
After about three months , she says , it ’ s common for her to see a “ huge shift ” in a client ’ s outlook .“ I tell them at the beginning that they have to put in conscious effort , but after a while , you ’ ll look back and say ‘ Look what I ’ ve accomplished ,” she says . ❖
@ 201magazine ( 201 ) HEALTH 2022 EDITION 33