How to handle emotional baggage during a pandemic
Grief is something that will affect almost everybody at some point in their lives. When a friend or family member passes away, it takes a while to adjust and get back to normal life.
For those who are lucky enough not to have to deal with a death or the stress of a loved one having the virus, COVID-19 has resulted in a sudden change of circumstances for a great number of people around the world. Students can no longer socialize with their friends. Those who can work from home are now isolated from their colleagues and have had to adapt to new forms of communication with little-to-no preparation. Others have lost jobs, are working overtime or are on the front lines providing healthcare services to COVID-19 patients.
Our world has been shaken.
It’s important to understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has an emotional impact on everyone, and the emotional impact can feel similar to grief. Here are some ways you can cope.
Let yourself be sad
Right now this pandemic is feeling unreal, and you may try to convince yourself that there is a way to reverse the situation. Let yourself be sad. Losing physical connection with family, friends and neighbors can feel like losing a loved one. It can help to have a close family member or friend around to comfort you and help you through. Keep in mind, we are all going through this together, so it’s important not to lock yourself away. Instead find a technological or creative way to spend time with the ones you love while practicing social distancing.
Find an outlet for your frustrations
Feelings of frustration and anger are natural during these times of constant uncertainty. It’s important to put aside some time for some mindfulness, physical activity or meditation to try to get your thoughts together. It can be a very confusing time as you try to make sense of everything, and you can expect your emotions to cycle. There are a variety of free apps to get you started.
Rediscover your hobbies or learn something new
As the weeks in isolation continue, your emotions will probably be settling down, and while you may still feel immense sadness about the loss of physical interaction, you can find time for activities you’ve not had time for. Finding or rediscovering your hobbies is a great way to help yourself. This can take much willpower, but by pushing yourself through, you are ensuring that you’ll be mentally balanced when life returns to normal. Need some ideas? LinkedIn Learning is free to use for all UNI students, faculty and staff. Login with your CatID and click on the LinkedIn logo.
Remember, there is nothing abnormal or wrong about the feelings and emotions that you will go through during this pandemic. It is the way that your body deals with change, and it is healthy to experience the emotional ups and downs. #YouGotThis
Learn more on the grief process at work from UNI's Center for Business Growth and Innovation: