On the Pandemic roller coaster? One day you’re fine, getting stuff done, maybe even cheerful. The next day, anxious, exhausted, overeating, hitting the wine a little too early.
It seems to be a natural part of our human response to the pandemic, the uncertainty, and the many large and small losses that have come with it. Most everyone I’ve talked to is familiar with the roller coaster—we feel great one day and anxious the next.
But some are taking it a step further. I shouldn’t worry so much. I shouldn’t feel so anxious. I should be more grateful because I have it so much better than others.
I should. I shouldn’t. I should. I shouldn’t.
That’s the sound of self-attack. That’s the scolding inner voice that makes us wrong no matter what. We should feel better, do better, be better.
That voice only makes us feel worse. And, like many of our unhelpful patterns, it’s out in full force now.
The truth is this. We feel the way we feel. None of us wakes up and decides to spoil our days with worry and stress. We don’t choose to worry. We don’t choose stress. We’re coping with unprecedented uncertainty and isolation. We’ve never been through a time like this.
Why wouldn’t we be up and down?
That’s not to say there aren’t ways to feel better—we can question our thinking, we can feel our feelings all the way through, we can reach out for help, talk to a trusted confidant, connect with like-minded friends, go for a walk outdoors if it’s safe. We can meditate, exercise, dance, either alone or in a virtual class. There’s a lot we can do to help with the roller coaster.
But making ourselves wrong for our feelings only makes us feel worse. Often much worse. It’s a habit that many of us have had since childhood. And it can add a thick layer of misery on top of whatever else we’re feeling.
So instead of making yourself wrong for having feelings, how about welcoming them? Let them come whisper their stories to you. Open your heart and mind to hear their gifts. Let them dance inside you until they melt away.
Sounds counter-intuitive, I know, but just try it. You might just be able to slow the roller coaster enough to get off it for a while.
And . . .
Join me for a support call, Inner Self-Care in Uncertain Times, on Zoom, Fridays at 1:00 pm Eastern/10:00 am Pacific.
If you’re are on my email list, you’ve gotten the Zoom link. If you’d like to be added to the list, please send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Come whether you’ve got this, or whether you don’t. Whether you are stable or whether you are freaking out. You can come and participate, or hang out quietly and lurk. Or simply come out of a desire to connect. I’ll do some coaching, you’ll have a safe space to talk about your feelings, and we even manage to laugh.