Before COVID-19, we lived in a world where no one questioned gathering in groups, hugging our loved ones, congregating, and celebrating. We never questioned the safety of being unmasked with friends and family; we did not have to stand outside of a nursing home window to say hello to our grandparents. In March 2020, the world changed, and we found ourselves deprived of what sustains and nurtures us as human beings – human connection. Even worse, people are grappling with the tragedy of two pandemics, COVID-19 and systemic racism, in isolation.
So for many, especially for marginalized populations, the responsibilities of life continued while a pandemic raged on. The responsibilities remained while what nurtured us and sustained us through those responsibilities in the world before the pandemic were no longer available. So the world became more narrow, isolating, disconnected and lonely. This may leave you feeling overwhelmed with emotion. In a world where we are unable to do many of the activities we love, you may notice that a lot stirs up for you emotionally when you are unable to distract yourself.
What happens when you sit with the feelings?
Can you challenge yourself to be with the feelings?
It can be hard to sit with strong emotional states and so we may work to avoid what we are
feeling. We often use distraction to help us avoid uncomfortable feelings, but we are living in a world where we can not distract with activities or by being around others. While in the short term we may feel more comfortable avoiding our feelings, in the long term it can be helpful to experience and accept the way we are feeling. This helps us to get to know ourselves in a deeper way and helps us better understand our reactions. By noticing and paying attention to our emotions instead of avoiding them, it helps us to know what we need in a particular moment and helps us take better care of ourselves.
2020 was a year of loss and this means we have to allow for ourselves to mourn. We have to
mourn those murdered by the police and life lost to the coronavirus but also have to mourn the loss of jobs, loss of quality of life, loss of economic stability. The losses experienced by so many in 2020 are countless.
Here are a few tips for connecting with your feelings:
Acknowledge and allow for the feeling instead of avoiding it.
Engage your feelings with curiosity and without judgement.
Challenge yourself to accept how you are feeling by not labeling your emotion as positive or
Remind yourself our feelings are not as powerful as we may fear.
Mourn what you lost last year, be gentle and kind with yourself as you work to connect and
allow for your feelings.