From stress, to loneliness, guilt and hopelessness, you’re probably feeling a million different emotions thanks to the coronavirus. But psychologist Tara Hurster explains why it’s actually healthy you’re experiencing these feelings.
It goes without saying that 2020 has tested our mental health. On top of heightened anxiety, people are experiencing re-entry syndrome, struggling with insomnia and sleep apnoea and some are even experiencing ‘emotional inflammation’ without realising it.
But the truth is, it’s A-OK to have these overwhelming emotions and thoughts. In fact, more people than you think can probably relate – and most of your worries are probably 100 per cent valid.
“Our brain likes to feel in control and right now we are so far out of a controlled situation,” psychologist and founder of The Tara Clinic Tara Hurster, tells Body+Soul.
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If anything, it’s healthy to feel a little more stressed and anxious than usual.
“Consistency and met expectations are the key to feeling calm so in the middle of a pandemic we are surrounded by so many unanswerable questions that it’s like we short circuit. So basically, it’s absolutely expected. And to be honest, I’d be concerned if someone wasn’t feeling a bit turbulent right now.”
We asked Tara to share what feelings and worries are coming up the most in her sessions right now, so you don’t feel like you’re alone.
9 totally normal feelings everyone’s having right now
1. “Do I actually want to go back to things the way they were?”/ “Are the same things still important to me?”
This can include work schedules, jobs and overall lifestyle.
2. “How do I meet new people or connect with people now?”
This is leaving people feeling isolated and frustrated.
3. “How do I manage not having contact with friends and family who are interstate when the borders are closed?’
This is leaving people feeling low, isolated and stressed.
4. “How do I plan for the future when things are so uncertain and changing all the time?”
This is leaving people feeling hopeless and helpless to find a positive, or something to look forward to such as a holiday.
5. “I’m angry with how things are being managed to control the coronavirus outbreak.”
People are experiencing feelings of anger with how things have been managed by the decision makers (such as government representatives) and also with people in the community who aren’t keeping to social distancing.
6. “I’ve been drinking more or earlier than I usually would, and I don’t know why?!”
7. “I’m arguing more with my partner/others than usual… why am I so grumpy?”
If you’re feeling on edge and threatened. exercising will really help to reduce these feelings and help to settle out your brain chemistry.
8. “I’m struggling to sleep.”
Exercise will really help to run out those nerves and you’ll be counting sheep in no time.
9. “I’m struggling to get out of bed.”
When we’re feeling down or run down, our body begs for rest. However, if there is an underlying depression then this might be a sign of a slip. Focusing on self care and scheduling positive activities will likely assist you to increase your mood.
Tara’s tip on dealing with these feelings
“The best way to manage feelings of uncertainty is to truly work out and focus on what is in your control. Set yourself small and achievable goals that are enjoyable and productive. That way you get to make little steps in the direction you want to go.”