Lauren Fisher has her work cut out for her.
By day, the psychologist is the co-owner of Del Ray Psych and Wellness, where she and her growing staff have been contending with a three-to-four month waitlist to see new clients.
Last year, she helped mobilize Del Ray’s Wellness District, a collaboration between wellness-related businesses that offered socially distant gong meditations, outdoor yoga and free mental health webinars. She also offered online therapy at a reduced rate.
Now Fisher, who was recently elected to a one-year term as president of the Del Ray Business Association, is working to figure out what 2021 will look like and how she can help the neighborhood’s 150-or-so businesses.
Fisher has lived in Del Ray with her husband, Ben, since 2004. We recently sat down with her to talk about her plans for the year.
ALXnow: Congrats on your recent election.
Fisher: Thanks. I’ve been really touched by the outpouring of support from people who were happy to see me become president. One of my main goals is to do a formal assessment of how businesses are doing.
ALXnow: The impact of the pandemic last year was so sudden, but you’ve taken charge of an organization that has strong community roots. What are you bringing to the table as a psychologist?
Fisher: I’d like to make sure that our business owners have all the resources they need, whether it’s PPP, accounting information, or if they need more customers coming in the door, or even mental health support.
It’s important that we help preserve the community that we serve, because that keeps our businesses alive. Connecting is critical. We need connection and community.
We need to remind each other that we’re still here, that we care about each other and have each other’s backs.
ALXnow: You can feel that energy at a traditional Del Ray community event, like the Halloween Parade or Art on the Avenue, which draw tens of thousands of people. Like many parades and public events, both were canceled this year.
Fisher: People are hungry for connections. Just look at our First Thursday events. We’re apart, but we’re together. I think it means we have to a lot of on-the-fly thinking and observe all CDC and local guidelines to keep everyone safe.
I think we’re all looking forward to the restrictions lifting a little bit on how much we can gather, because that will make a difference. In the wellness community, we’re having conversations about can we do a fit crawl with all the fitness businesses in the area.
But the last thing we’d want to do is encourage any gathering when it’s unsafe. So, I’m hoping that some of that starts to change over the next few months, as more people get vaccinated.
ALXnow: What are you seeing with your patients these days? Any common psychological effects?
Fisher: There’s a whole new wave of anxiety, with people asking, “Are we safe? How long do we wear masks? When can we travel? When can we see loved ones?”
I am lucky and grateful to live in this area, because when I walk up and down the street I see people I know, although there’s folks who haven’t left their houses and apartments for the whole entire year of the pandemic, for the most part.
ALXnow: What’s your pet peeve?
Fisher: A weak handshake.