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AGS - EMOTIONAL HEALTH IN UNCERTAIN TIMES

EMOTIONAL WELLBEING MATTERS!

What is that pit in my stomach? Why can’t I sleep? I feel very agitated!

During the coronavirus pandemic, stress and fear abound. Fear and anxiety drive us to become self-focused. Yet we must take care of ourselves to stay well. We are all connected and each of us has a responsibility to do our part.

We all are experiencing stress. Stress is a response to a perceived threat and anxiety is a reaction to stress. That feeling in the pit of your stomach, change in sleeping habits, agitation, as well as other emotions; I’m sure you can name some of your own. Children are also responding in their own way. Their symptoms might include excessive crying, irritability, avoidance of activities they once enjoyed, or even something physical like a stomach or headache.

Harvard Business review published an article this month, That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief. The author states well that, “We know this is temporary, but it doesn’t feel that way, and we realize things will be different.... The loss of normalcy; the fear of economic toll; the loss of connection. This is hitting us and we’re grieving. Collectively. We are not used to this kind of collective grief in
the air.”

“Our anxiety about the future is unknown and is also part of our grief, it’s called anticipatory grief. Our minds and hearts are naturally trying to anticipate and prepare for what’s to come,” says Alal Wolfelt, PhD, an expert in grief and loss. Name something you care about or that gives life meaning and, in all likelihood, this attachment is now affected or threatened in some way by the coronavirus.

Grief and fear are normal and necessary because they are tied to love, our most
precious asset and, therefore, need to be nurtured in ourselves and others.

 

 

 

 

SO WHAT DO WE DO WITH THESE FEELINGS?

Read on to learn how to better understand your feelings as well as practice the art of self-care.

UNDERSTANDING OUR EMOTIONS

It is essential to recognize our feelings and learn to manage stress. Once we become aware, we can then learn to adjust and shift our minds to cope with the stress we are facing.

Our bodies are built to respond to stress in one of three ways when we face fear. This is known as the Fight, Flight or Freeze response. We all have experienced this! When reacting to work situations with absolutes or fear-based responses or when yelling at our children; the list goes on and on. We spend a lot of time attempting to interpret emotional expressions of those around us instead of having honest and authentic conversations.

Our ability to understand these expressions is tied to what psychologists call emotional intelligence and these expressions play a major part in our overall body language. Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to monitor one’s own and other’s feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use the information to guide one’s thinking and action. Just as we need to manage our own emotions, we need to express genuine compassion, respect, and care for others.

Popular in many workplace circles is the concept of vulnerability. Brené Brown, in her Ted Talk, The Power of Vulnerability shares in a deep and humorous manner our desire for belonging and that it begins with vulnerability and empathy. No wonder we are grieving as a society – we have lost many of our normal connections.

As we shift our mindset from Social Distancing to Physical Distancing and Social Connecting, we have an opportunity to develop new connections as well as stay connected during this pandemic, though it might require creativity and fortitude.

First, let’s get in touch with our emotions, understand our own responses to stress and learn new ways of responding for our own wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of those around us.

This pandemic may have landed on top of stressors already going on in your life compounding your feelings of loss. Maybe you had just been laid off or are in the midst of a relocation, adding financial stress and loss of connection with your community. Taking steps to care for ourselves is key to gaining some control.


 

THE ART OF SELF-CARE

The concept of self-care is like the oxygen mask – we need to put on our own oxygen mask before we care for others. With self-care, we actively chose to be conscious to our own stress responses and needs, allowing us to respond to them from a place of compassion. We need to find healthy ways to express those emotions living inside of us. Doing this will change our body’s response. We will find ourselves feeling better, building more meaningful connections with others, as well as developing skills of resilience. Easier said than done, you might say?

Let’s break it down to these 5 steps to managing stress and grief associated with the pandemic.



 

1. ACKNOWLEDGE THE REALITY OF THE PANDEMIC AND THE EMOTIONS YOU ARE EXPERIENCING AS WELL AS WHAT YOU NEED – FEELINGS OF FEAR AND UNCERTAINTY ARE NORMAL.


• Talk and express your emotions with a trusted friend. Describe where these emotions reside in your body. Are your muscles achy? Are you having difficulty focusing? It is ok to cry!
• Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a loved one
• When talking with your loved ones, share what you need from them.


 

2. CONNECT WITH OTHERS AND HONOR THE RANGE OF FEELINGS IN YOURSELF AND OTHERS.

• While physically distancing, socially connect! Call you friends, connect via groups chats and text with colleagues.
• Explore ways to nurture yourself. Examine, are there places I can slow down, do less or do more that would help me feel taken care of. If you have children at home, you might feel deprived of solidarity. Give yourself permission to set boundaries for some down time to read a book, listen to music or talk to a trusted friend.
• Schedule a meeting with your bestie for regular check in conversations. Take the first 10 minutes to each share your feelings and how this is impacting you and your loved ones. Take the next 20 minutes for lighter talk. Take turns telling jokes or share fond memories from your past.
• No shaming of self and others.

 

3. RELEASE PENT UP ENERGY – MOVING OUR BODIES HELPS EASE STRESS AND ENGAGE OUR CREATIVITY.

• Set up a music area in your house where you listen and
dance to your favorite songs.
• Go for a brisk walk or bike ride as allowed in your area.
• Practice Yoga or play games that get you moving.

 

4. PRACTICE GRATITUDE FOR THE GOOD IN LIFE – HAVING AND EXPRESSING GRATITUDE CAN FOSTER HOPE AND BALANCE.



• Begin a gratitude journal – even in times of uncertainty, we can focus on gratitude.
• Practice expansive and positive thinking and generosity.
• Set small goals to gain control where you can.

 

5. SEARCH FOR MEANING – IT IS NATURAL TO WONDER WHY THIS IS HAPPENING. STAY MINDFUL AND PRESENT TO FEEL THE JOY, MEANING AND PURPOSE.

• Take time out to reflect by Taking breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting
• Reflect and journal on the “silver linings”. Search for the good in really hard times.

CONTACT US
 

T. +886 2 2552 1391 | E. taiwan@ags-globalsolutions.com

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