Dear Wild Emotions,
I’d like to remind you (Wild Emotions) that you are not the boss. I am putting you (Wild Emotions) back in your place and want to encourage others to keep faith and hope. We can seek support as needed, and find creative ways to connect. Loneliness was widespread far before this virus struck the world. While working as a phone crisis counselor over a year at a crisis call line/suicide prevention line, I heard so many heartbreaking stories. It is so easy to have tunnel vision, get stuck in our heads and in our own situation. But I am writing this letter to you (Wild Emotions) to let you know that I trust in people and the good of so many hearts. We will get through this through uniting, supporting, and sharing our experience.
Helpful Hints for slowing down the emotional ride:
- Being in the Moment…This is so necessary to get through times of uncertainty. Let’s keep learning to roll with the punches and not look too far ahead. So much has changed, while much stays the same. Soak in the sun above, pay attention to the squirrels as they scurry and birds as they nest and chirp. Taking 5-20 minutes here and there will have a major positive impact on you, but it won’t impact the chore or task that “feels” so important. Don’t get caught up in the “I have to.” If you took 5 minutes at the end of each 2 hours, that would only be 20 minutes in an 8 hour work day. You won’t know til you try it, but even 1-2 minutes of deep breathing will do wonders. Find what works for you; I strongly encourage you to find those moments. They can be key to keeping you sane, decreasing the rise of stress, and even protecting your health. Some stress may be inevitable now, but you can learn to tame it, manage it, and decrease it’s negative impact on you.
- Being grateful… Look around, find at least 5 things at the beginning and end of each day to appreciate. Practice shifting your mindset so you can teach your brain not to get rooted in fear and discomfort. The power of perspective is real, pay attention to where you focus. You can see current reality without allowing it to be quicksand in your brain, holding you prisoner and suffocating and destroying. If this happens, get support. You don’t have to be stuck. You do not have to be emotionally alone.
- Validate… Strong emotions are normal right now. They run the course of anger, helplessness, fear, worry/anxiety, sadness/depression, grief, and so much more. Validate that it is okay to feel these emotions. You are human. You feel. You hurt. Fact- the more you fight your emotions, the stronger they latch on. Once you label the emotion, validate it – you take away the power and can work toward decreasing the strong emotions.
- Don’t judge yourself… Pay attention to how you talk to yourself. Be compassionate and kind with yourself. Of course, you are having some emotional disturbance. There is suffering and maybe it is you who is suffering. Find someone who can be with you and hear you without judging. You are scared; it is normal to fear the unknown. Where will you put your faith? Where will you find comfort? Would you talk to a friend the way you speak or think to yourself?
- Be Reasonable… There is “no one right” response to this Covid 19 situation exists. There are lots of ways that increase panic and fear for ourselves and others. Be cautious not to feed the frenzy. Look outside the box. You are not alone. Find one thing you can do that helps reduce the feelings of being powerless. Check facts- is steps you are taking to have temporary comfort going to create pain for the future?
- Social Distancing does not mean Emotional Distancing… I am encouraged by the stories I hear from people attending dance parties via Zoom, movie nights with friends remotely, bible studies, church, game night, and the list goes on. If you have any friends that you know who suffer from depression, take time to call, check on them. They might say they are fine, keep calling so they know someone cares and will listen.
- Be curious… This is new for all of us. Be less critical. Be more compassionate. Recognize that people respond because they are probably having strong feelings or even numb and not feeling much of anything because it is overwhelming. Invite open conversation about which needs are not met. Be self-aware, explore your own responses. This can be an opportunity to learn more about your blind spots and parts of self that still need tending.We’ve got this! This is our time to heal, recover, and look outside the tunnel.