By Celeste Jacobs-Richards
It is common and normal for people to want to change, move away from or stop difficult emotions such as anger, fear, anxiety and the like. In order to look after oneself it is important to allow the feeling rather than fight or suppress it. We often use defense mechanisms to avoid feeling, this results in us not processing or working through difficult emotions. We need to learn to sit with the feelings, label them and understand where it comes from. Emotions communicate to self and others; emotions influence behavior and gives us signals to what is important and has numerous benefits to our overall functioning. It is beneficial to be able to accept our emotions as useful and be able to regulate our feelings. We do not have to make decisions made purely on emotion, or react to our emotions. We need to learn to contain and make wise decisions, while not disregarding our emotions.
How to manage these emotions: –
- Writing your thoughts, feelings, experiences and dreams down. It helps to self-reflect and organize your thoughts and makes sense of your feelings.
- Keeping a gratitude journal (write down 5 things daily you are grateful for). This helps to keep you focus on the positive and in an attitude of thanksgiving.
Social Support / Friends
- Having social support allows for a safe space to share your feelings and thoughts and gain perspective. Sharing with your social support/ friends some of the good and bad feelings is essential. Ensure you share with trustworthy individuals.
- Many may have heard the saying, “a problem shared is a problem halved”. We do not need to carry our burdens, fears, struggles etc. on our own. It is important to have social support.
- Adding humor to any situation lightens the load and the mood. E.g.: being with a friend who makes you laugh, watching a comedy etc.
During times, such as these, when we are not able to engage socially in person and need to socially distance and isolate, we do still have other means of connecting with people. Through numerous social media platforms and a number of electronic meeting rooms, we are still able to interact and connect with friends and loved ones. We are a people part of a body and it is essential to our well-being that we interact and maintain social connections.
In order to keep well and healthy in times like these, keep your physical distance and isolate but maintain your social connections and relations!
Do you need to laugh more? Share more? Spend more time connecting with friends? Make healthy choices now to improve your overall self-care.
Read the full series of posts on COVID-19 (and anytime!) Self-Care:
Celeste is a private professional clinical psychologist. She holds a Masters in Clinical Psychology from Rhodes University. Celeste joined our faculty in July 2014. She teaches Theories of Counselling and Trauma Counselling. Since 2014 she has been volunteering as a psychotherapist at Elusitsweni (Challenge Ministries Swaziland), a residential home for women with life-controlling habits. She is married and active in her home congregation.