Stress, loneliness, sadness, frustration, and fear are all feelings that have come in waves for me during COVID-19. Some related to missing and caring about those close to me, some related to anxiety regarding stability, and some related to jealously that I am not with my loved ones as some other folks are. I also have had feelings related to joy, laughter, and comfort to counter them. That helps me hold that I can be both sad and comforted or both lonely and hopeful. I know my feelings aren’t stagnant so they ebb and flow. 🤷🏾♀️
When I have strong emotions that feed a negative mood I try to own them and what is causing them, accept that they are there and notice when my thinking is keeping me stuck further in sadness than is necessary. Sometimes my thoughts exacerbate my feeling and can cause me to lash out on those closest to me and that is what I try to avoid. However, some days I say to myself, “Kiauhna you are angry today and you don’t have to feel it to this intensity the choice is yours.” Sometimes I choice to stay in that because changing doesn’t seem feasible (whether circumstance or stubbornness) and sometimes I choose to alter it so I can feel some relief.
Sometimes what I need in the moment is a hug (which I can’t get right now because I live alone). Other times I need to watch Netflix all day and just be. Sometimes a phone call helps me to not feel as alone. Other times I need a cinnamon roll or to take a walk outside. Whatever floats my boat that day.
To aid in managing my feelings I am taking note of how I am catering to all areas of my wellness. Here is a glimpse into how I am attempting to do and also some ways that I would like to but maybe haven't had the motivation as of yet.
Financial- attempting to monitor urges for stress or boredom spending. Monitoring my budget and where the money is going.
If you are currently struggling financially seek assistance where you can (e.g. food banks, governmental resources, loved ones, etc), which I know can be just as stressful. Hang in there!
Occupational- keeping personal boundaries around my work time and my personal time since the two are now enmeshed. Reminding myself of the value in what I do.
If you are currently out of work this may be a good time for job searching to leave a company that doesn’t value you, a time for rest because you have overworked to prove your value, and/ or a time to devote to that side hustle or skill you always wanted to engage in.
Emotional- allowing my feelings to show up and dedicating time where I can feel them w/o apology. Voicing my feelings to those closest to me. Writing out my thoughts and feelings to clear space in my mind. Seeking a friend I can vent to.
Mental- accessing gratitude for what I have and acceptance for what I cannot control. Using others as a sounding board and also being a sounding board for them when I am able. Challenging negative self talk or anxiety driven thinking patterns.
Physical- working out and also not judging myself when I am not up to it. Listening to what my body needs in terms of nourishment and not judging myself when I ignore the signs.
Environmental- tidying up where I can. Trying to stick to my chores (hardest one that I often misstep). Connecting with the sun and nature.
If you are not in a safe, autonomous or loving environment feeling like you have control over your environmental wellness can seem (and potentially be) impossible. Seek out ways that you can get a sense of environmental freedom or comfort. E.g. taking a walk, having others who are open to sharing their space if it is more conducive to wellness, having items in that space that provide comfort or calm, using other areas of wellness to enhance peace of mind like spirituality, seeking safety resources like (
Spiritual- Thanking God for what I have and how he shows up for me. Sitting in prayer (also really hard for me to sit and dedicate time to but I’m trying).
Social- calling folks to let them know I am interested in connected and also just checking in. Finding creative ways to social distance while also being in connection.
Intellectual- engaging in webinars. I would like to be reading more but my attention span disagrees with me.
If you aren’t attending to all the areas it is okay. Sometimes we only have capacity for some or the ratio that we can devote to each is off balance. We can do the best we can to be well. No judgment!
All in all, this is a pretty confusing and wild time nationally. Attempt to own whatever feelings come up for you. Our feelings are not our enemy. Our feelings are just messengers telling us, in this case, that the struggle we are enduring is shitty and scary (and everyone is experiencing that to different degrees).
This is a time to care for ourselves and others as best we can. Check in on those in your life and give yourself some grace.
Take some time to reflect on these questions:
How are you catering to various areas of your wellness?
How would you like to be doing it?
What resources or supports (e.g. people, organizations, etc) could help you and how can you realistically access them?
Take note of any challenges to engage in the things you thought of and create a small action step plan.
One way to help create and track the ways your action steps are meeting your goals is to use the SMART goal model: based on specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time specific goals.